In the summer of 2009, Nate St. Pierre was on the brink of turning 30 and says he started to search for a way to "give back."
"I literally wanted to change the world and still, that is literally what I want to do," says St. Pierre.
St. Pierre came up with a simple idea. He would start to change the world with a concept called "It Starts With Us" that required him, and others, to spend a mere five to 15 minutes of time and absolutely no money. He started a Web site, itstartswith.us, and invited friends to join him on weekly "missions" that would change peoples’ lives.
The first week, St. Pierre had the e-mail addresses of 18 people who were interested in contributing to his mission. The first mission was about networking and it simply asked that at some point during the week they introduce people to other people that might benefit from being connected to each other.
Subsequent missions revolved around individuals who were struggling. St. Pierre read random blogs or heard about someone going through a rough time, and he assigned the group the mission to post something positive at the end of their blog.
The concept evolved, and St. Pierre branched off the It Starts With Us concept into another organization, called Love Bombs.
Today, dropalovebomb.com has 6,000 group members in 80 countries. Everyone who signs on agrees to spend five minutes a week helping someone. Anyone in the group can recommend a friend, family member or community member in need of support, and then St. Pierre reviews the suggested person and then sends an email to the group, asking them to "love bomb" them with messages of support.
For example, last month, St. Pierre heard about a woman named Annie who just found out mid-pregnancy that her baby had Downs Syndrome and a hole in his heart. St. Pierre sent out an e-mail, and within minutes, Annie received 256 e-mails of encoragement, love and support.
In August, the group love bombed a man named Jeff who lost his parents in a car accident the night before. Love Bombers left 243 comments on his blog. A week later, the group did the same for a woman named Bria, who was struggling with depression and anxiety.
And the Love Bomb list goes on and on.
"It takes five minutes, you don’t need to leave your desk. You just read a post and leave a response. And it doesn’t have to be an amazing response," he says.
St. Pierre says many of the people who were "love bombed" are now active members in the organization. This is the underlying concept in all of his work: to help people emotionally, but to also empower them to "pay it forward" in the future.
St. Pierre is again expanding the concept. He is starting Love Drop which will also require group members to spend $1 (or more if they want) to actually financially support a person in need.
"Let’s say we hear about a family with four kids, and they don’t have a car but they need to get one of the kids to the hospital every week. This would be a good fit for us right now. We could come up with the money for a decent car quickly," he says.
St. Pierre, who lives on the Milwaukee / Wauwatosa border, is a 32-year-old father of three. He says being a father inspired him to make the world a better place, even though it sounds cliche.
St. Pierre attended the University of Denver to study molecular genetics and organic chemistry and, as a sophomore, worked on the Human Genome Project (HGP), an international science project with the goal of mapping the human genome.
"I dropped out as a sophomore. I had reached my goal -- to be published in a scientific journal -- so I hit that and I quit. I was working all night in a lab, bored and lonely, and I really just wanted to work closer to people," he says.
St. Pierre went to work 20-hour shifts in a fish cannery in Alaska. Then, he returned to Milwaukee, taught himself Web design and worked as a graphic designer for six years. Last month, he left his full-time graphic design job to pursue It Starts With Us, Love Bombs and Love Drops full-time.
Recently, he developed a corporate model that helps businesses communicate with employees and challenge them to give back to their community in a fashion similar to the Love Bomb concept. Currently, he is working with Applebee’s and a few other companies and in late summer traveled to Google headquarters to "chat."
"Basically, my idea is to combine charitable giving with a for-profit business," he says.
Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.
Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.