I don’t know about you, but I’m not quite sure where they came up with the term ‘reality tv’. As far as I know I’ve never ‘dated’ 18+ men at the same time; never lived in a house nor in some remote place competing to stay and vote others out; traveled around the world racing others (although I wouldn’t mind trying that); etc. etc. etc. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed many an evening with friends watching what we refer to as “trash tv”, but it’s something that feels a little dirty once done.

Enter “Secret Millionaire”. Apparently this is the second season, but it’s new to me. A millionaire changes their identity for a week and lives in some of the most depressed areas of the US on welfare, in what you’d call a dump. They have to figure out how to live and eat on about $35 a week. Gone are their fancy clothes, cash, credit cards, cars and everything else they are used to. They have no contact with their families. And we’re really talking about some of the worst areas out there – Skid Row in Los Angeles is one such example. They spend 6 days walking around the neighbourhood getting to know some of the people living there and look for organizations they can volunteer with for a day or two. They explain the tv cameras by saying they are part of a documentary on volunteering. At the end of the week they decide how much they are going to donate to the organizations they volunteered with. We’re talking anything from $30,000 to $250,000 plus. That is not small change, even for a millionaire. And for some of these organizations it means they can survive. Watching how their week transforms them is incredible.

But the beauty of this show is how it highlights others who give their lives to helping those in need. Here are a few examples:

– Limbs for Life – an organization who helps those who have lost a limb (whether they were born that way or suffered an accident) get prosthetic limbs, which can cost $15,000-$20,000 per limb. In the US heath insurance, if people have it, covers 1 limb per lifetime. A child needs a minimum of 1 new limb per year – more is ideal depending on their growth pattern. It’s crazy.

– A transition house for women and their children in Skid Row, LA. These women are they because they are abused at home and need a way out. They turn down 300 requests per month because they are full up.

– An organization who goes out on the streets to find Army Vets and give them clothes, food and help them get back on their feet.

– A guy in LA who in his spare time gets donations of clothing and toiletries and splits them up into packages he can give out in Skid Row.

– An organization in Oklahoma City that works which youth who have nothing and are generally neglected at home and teaches them how to wrestle, feeds them, and tutors them so they can learn how to read. They teach them to be responsible for themselves

– An organization that gives children with a terminal illness the best damn bedroom they could ever want – adding joy and sunshine to a child’s life that is filled with struggle and sickness when they should be able to just run around and have fun.

And so many more.

Talk about a reality check. What’s my biggest worry today? Where do I live? More importantly, what do I do to give back? Not enough, that’s for sure. Time to re-assess.

Watch the show. Secret Millionaire. Get inspired and then do something about it.