We had an opportunity to interview Debbie a few weeks ago. Her interview was such an inspiration to our readers that they wanted to learn more about her travels and charitable work. We caught with Debbie, to discuss her recent trip to Thailand with her family. Check it out below.
Wife, mother, activist, and actress! Incredible! How do you keep life balanced?
Each aspect of my life is very important to me. I am a wife and mother first. My family will always be number one, but being a wife and mother doesn’t mean I can’t pursue my passions and strive to help others. I work very hard to invest in each area of my life and keep a balance that allows me to nurture and love my family, give back to those who are in need — as God has blessed me abundantly and I feel that He calls us all to give of our time and talents to others — and to grow and pursue my career as an actress. All life has purpose, all life is worthy and I want my life and my actions to be a reflection of that statement.
In your previous interview, you mentioned how you love to travel. Tell us about your most recent journey.
I am obsessed with traveling! And that may be an understatement. I have a whole section on my website dedicated to my travels. My most recent adventure was to northern Thailand. My husband surprised me with a trip to Chiang Mai for my birthday. Thailand was on my bucket list, so I was of course thrilled at my amazing birthday adventure! We ventured all over Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai provinces. Some of the highlights were Doi Inthanon (the highest mountain in Thailand), visiting an elephant sanctuary in Mae Taeng where they rescue elephants who were previously mistreated, and visiting Wat Rong Khun temple in Chiang Rai. The architecture and detail on these temples in Thailand is stunning and the landscape of the country is breath taking! This was my first adventure in Asia and I am so looking forward to planning more trips on this continent. The highlight of my trip was having the opportunity to visit The Light House Children’s Home. I met founder and caretaker of this home, Terra Yito. She is a Southern California native (where I am from) and she founded The Lighthouse in 2009. She has built a beautiful facility for these abandoned, orphaned and/or impoverished children. During my visit, we toured the facility, played games with the kids, sang songs, picked flowers and played with a Polaroid camera I brought. The children loved taking pictures of each other and really relished the opportunity to keep the Polaroids. We met a sweet six year old boy who had three of his fingers blown off because he wasn’t being watched at home and was playing with fireworks. Many of these children have parents who are in jail, parents who were trafficking their children or have no parents at all. The Light House is a safe place where they have the opportunity to go to school, feel loved and safe and pursue dreams that might otherwise have been impossible. The spirit of these children is truly inspiring and up lifting. They are full of life. My husband and I will be supporting Terra in her efforts to care for these children and more. She has hopes of opening another facility. The Light House Children’s Home has made such a radical change in these children’s lives, and it comes full circle as spending time with these children has made a radical change in my life.
Tell us more about your charity work. Is there a cause you’re most passionate about?
I’ve always had a special place in my heart for children. Knowing children grow up hungry, abused and/or without parents rocks me to my very core. Visiting and donating to orphanages is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. While in Cape Town filming ‘The Forgiven’ I had the opportunity to visit The Siyaphambili Orphanage just outside of Cape Town. Many of these children have HIV. I promise you this, these children are the most radiant, appreciative kids on the planet. I was inspired by their beautiful spirits and their overall zest for life. I invite everyone to visit http://siyaphambili.org.za to learn more. I have two young daughters and I have shown them photos of the sweet children my husband and I met at the Orphanage. My girls wanted to help so they donate toys and books to kids in need in our community. We pray as a family daily for the sweet Orphaned children that we met in Cape Town and for the children in need around the world.
I am also very passionate about putting a stop to human trafficking and rehabilitating the victims (some just children) of this horrific crime. Daughters of Cambodia is another organization that is doing great work in the human trafficking space. This organization is changing lives for victims of human trafficking. My brother-in-law spent time in Cambodia working with this organization and I never even knew that this type of horrific sex trafficking was happening. I was introduced to this cruel reality of sex trafficking and I still can’t believe that a human being could ever treat another human being, much less a child in this detestable way. This doesn’t just happen in other countries, it is prevalent here in the US as well and hits very close to home in Los Angeles. I have spent time raising money and donating to the rehabilitation of victims of this horrible time. Daughters of Cambodia empowers girls trapped in sex trafficking to start a new life. They offer job training and employment to these women and girls. They also offer education, social programs, counseling and much more. They are currently expanding to the Philippines and Australia. For more information or to donate you can visit www.daughtersofcambodia.org.
Another company that I am proud to be involved with is Compassion Physical Therapy. Natalie Winblad, one of the organizations founders, has created a place where people with severe physical ailments can come and receive free treatment. They currently have facilities in Kenya and in Mexicali. I am partnering with this organization and am very excited to be included in their next service trip. Compassion PT has a mission to join with existing clinics in underserved parts of the globe and bring much needed physical therapy whilst training and employing local therapists to provide care. These words from Natalie really hit home for me: “There are many forgotten people whose lives could be radically improved with the help of a therapist.” Compassion PT is not only working to rehabilitate people through physical therapy, they are dedicated to sharing God’s love with the world.
How can people get involved?
All of the charities I partner with can be found on my website under the Loving People section. Here is the link: http://www.debbie-sherman.com/wp/loving-people/. I encourage everyone to look further into the charities and organizations that speak to you. If we all do a little something we can make a big difference. Giving of your time and talents, holding fundraisers and events or donating money or goods to these causes are great ways to get involved.
You love to travel. Is there a place you haven’t been that you would like to visit?
This question has many answers. There are so many places that are still on my list! Greece, Sydney, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Saint Tropez, Egypt, and the list goes on and on. Bali and Phuket are probably at the top of my list right now. Having just come back from Chiang Mai, Thailand, I am itching to go back and explore more of South East Asia.
What has been your best travel experience to date and why?
My favorite place in the world is Paris. I love the culture, the food, the weather, the architecture and the language. I have been many times and it never gets old. Every time I visit I find new nooks of Paris to explore and fall in love with all over again. My two girls (Sophia, 5 and Juliet, 2) love Paris as well. Their favorite part of the city is the Eiffel Tower when it sparkles at night and croissants of course. My girls both also speak French so any trips to Paris are great learning opportunities as well.
Do you have a funny moment you can share with us?
While working on The Forgiven in South Africa, I had a scene that shot partially outside. I began the scene outside and then moved inside. I was only in the sun for a few minutes at a time. Well, I got the worst sunburn! My fair skin could not handle the South African rays. I had some crazy tan/burn lines! I was wearing a short sleeved shirt in the shot, so half of my arms were red and the other half were white. My onset makeup artist did a great job covering it up. Everyone on this set was just a dream to work with!
Have you considered making a travel documentary, or blogging about your travels?
I have tons of footage from my travels. I am constantly taking videos and photos that document the variety of places I visit. On my website I have an entire section devoted to travel. There I document the different cities and countries I visit through picture diaries. My next adventure awaits me in Prague. My family and I will be exploring Prague and its surrounding cities this summer.
Complete this sentence, if I had an opportunity to make a difference in the world, it would be ___________.
To spread kindness. This world would be a much different place if we all showed kindness to one another. There would be less hunger, hate, murder and war. If everyone was kind and only capable of kindness there would be more love, more happiness, more hope and more joy. I encourage everyone to look inside of themselves and find kindness everyday. We choose who we are every day. It is a conscious decision. Every morning I ask my girls “what are you going to choose today?” They choose joy. I strive to do the same. Through Christ’s love and grace we are given new mercies every day. I am not going to waste them. I encourage everyone to do the same. Today, may we all make the conscious choice to choose joy and kindness for ourselves and to give to others.
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Featured image: Photography by Flytographer.