The Perlyn Family (Don, Marilyn, Chad, Eric & Amanda)

Daily Point of Light # 1109 May 5, 1998

Don and Marilyn's goal was to not only serve the community, but to help their children create a solid life-style foundation upon which to build caring, useful and successful lives. Their children have done just that, all three have separate programs that help the needy.

Chad Perlyn the oldest at age 24 started the "Doc Adopt" program when he was 14. The program matches children who are in need of medical and dental care with doctors who are willing to donate their time and effort. To date the Doc Adopt program has given care to between 400 and 500 children. The program started in Boca Raton and has expanded through all of Broward County. Chad is currently a third year medical school student at the University of Miami. The Doc Adopt program is now part of the Broward County's Medical Association’s Wee Care Program. Chad's latest volunteer activity is focused on the Miami Chapter of Operation Smile, an international organization dedicated to facial reconstruction of deformed, impoverished children throughout the world.

Eric, the middle child, started Stepp'n Up, a program that gives shoes to children who need them. When Eric was 13 he bought shoes for six needy brothers with his Bar Mitzvah money. To date Stepp'n Up has donated more than 9,000 pairs of shoes in south Florida and has been nationally recognized. Donations come from shoe stores, manufacturers, private individuals and the state and local Podiatric Medical Associations. Retail stores like Pay-Less Shoes and JC Penny have also donated shoes, and the national chain The Limited Too has been the biggest supporter, donating close to 2,000 pairs of shoes. Right now Eric is a sophomore at Duke University in Durham, N.C. For the past two years his Stepp'n Up program has contributed more than 2,000 pairs of shoes to needy children in the Durham area.

Amanda, now 15 and the youngest of the three, started a nonprofit corporation called To Have and To Hug at age eight. Her program provides stuffed animals to abused children who are taken from their homes and brought to a temporary shelter home. When a child arrives scared and confused there is a stuffed animal waiting there through Amanda's efforts. During the past seven years To Have and To Hug has donated more than 2,000 stuffed animals. Amanda is currently a sophomore at Spanish River Community School.

All three of the organization services are provided through the Children's Home Society and several other local charitable organizations. The children's motivation for service is that they want to give back to the community and help others who need it. All of the programs are funded through private donations.

In addition to helping each of their children with their various projects, Don and Marilyn recently co-founded the Miami Chapter of Operation Smile and are currently working on arranging several medical missions to South America.