Philanthropist talks about personal experience, calls students to selflessness

Shelene Bryan speaks with students Saturday night. Meredith Aldis | Broadcast Reporter

By Thomas Moran | Staff Writer

Philanthropist and bestselling author of “Love, Skip, Jump” Shelene Bryan met with a group of students Saturday night in the Stacy Riddle Forum to talk about her spiritual journey and to challenge attendees to be more proactive and intentional in their own faith .

Bryan’s daughter-in-law, Los Angeles, Calif., junior Grace Bryan, organized the event, titled “Ridiculous Faith.” A variety of Greek and non-Greek students attended, Grace Bryan said.

“It was pretty intimate, which I think was nice,” Grace Bryan said. “She doesn’t have that a lot. Like, normally she’s speaking to a couple thousand people.”

Shelene Bryan, who has been featured on notable media platforms like TED, highlighted the moment that altered the trajectory of her life from successful Hollywood producer to philanthropist.

After an off-color comment from a friend regarding the legitimacy of world hunger relief organizations, Shelene Bryan flew across the Atlantic to a small village in East Africa to meet the two children her family sponsored through Compassion International. Struck by the low cost necessary to improve the lives of the two children, Shelene Bryan founded Skip1, a world hunger relief organization with a unique business model.

“Skip one thing and feed a child,” Grace Bryan said. “You skip buying a coffee or getting your nails done or whatever, and then you donate the money that you would have spent on that item.”

The charitable organization focuses on building facilities both domestically and in developing nations.

“We take 100 percent of all public donations for the acquisition and distribution of food projects here in America and around the world,” Shelene Bryan said. “We are able to build kitchens and orphanages and schools in third-world countries and put in wells so kids can have lunch every day now.”

Since its creation in 2009, Skip1 has grown tremendously and continues to impact countries all over the world, including Uganda, Rwanda, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Peru, India, the Philippines and many other countries.

Shelene Bryan emphasized the importance of students prioritizing the important things in life, such as spiritual growth and relationship with God, rather than earthly things.

“At the end of the day, there is only one thing you all need to get right,” Shelene Bryan said. “It’s not your degree or your doctorate or who’s going to hire you after you get all those pieces of paper, but if you really know God and are known by God.”

Shelene Bryan encouraged attendees to abandon their own goals and instead focus on God’s vision for their lives.

Ashburn, Va., sophomore Jennifer Throne attended the event and found the message to be moving and impactful.

“Actually hearing her speak really moved me,” Throne said. “I really loved it just because it kind of reminded me of why I’m here and what a Christian is in a world full of secular things … I thought she was super honest and personable.”

Grace Bryan hopes to organize more events with Shelene Bryan for Baylor students in the future.