Sean Belnick: New York
Season 3 | Episode 7 | Aired 08/12/12
24-year-old entrepreneur Sean Belnick moves to Brooklyn, NY to volunteer over the course of a week and find unsung heroes in the days leading up to anniversary of 9/11. Sean is the founder of BizChair.com. At 14, he spent $500 to build an online business selling office chairs from his home. 10 years later, his Atlanta-based company has evolved into BizChair.com, a multi-million dollar e-tail enterprise with such clients as Google, Microsoft, Abercrombie & Fitch, among many others. Now he's embarking on a brand new adventure as a "Secret Millionaire."
Friends of Firefighters
Sean sees a New York firehouse where six fallen members died as a result of 9/11. He then meets Nancy, the woman who started an organization called Friends for Firefighters in the days after the attack to feed the exhausted rescue workers. Since then, the program has evolved to offer therapy and counseling to the entire firefighting community.
Firefighters from all the boroughs are helping to renovate an old firehouse where people can meet. He meets a firefighter named Bill who lost a lot of friends that horrible day. Nancy's organization helped him find a way out of a dark place. A retired fireman named Tony wants the place to look like a firehouse so that his "brothers" will feel comfortable walking through the door.
Sean meets a woman who lost her husband at the World Trade Center. She feels like she never had time to grieve. Now is the time others need therapy. That's tough because all the funding has dried up. Nancy shows Sean the first firehouse where she started her mission. She remembers that the attack site was smoking and smoldering until December. She still has a tough time looking at the skyline without the towers there.
Sean lets the folks behind the organization that he has the utmost respect for everyone there. He was truly moved at how they welcomed him in to their brotherhood. Sean reveals that he's a successful businessman who would like to give them a check for $65,000. Nancy is overwhelmed. She's also going on a well-deserved vacation with the $5,000 Sean wants her to spend on herself and her family.
Children of Promise
Children of Promise is an organization that embraces children of incarcerated parents. It provides tutoring and group counseling for the kids. Founder Sharon Content says there's no agency responsible for these children when their parents go to jail. Sean takes part in a session with some 10 and 11-year-old kids. It's tough to hear their stories. These are young kids who should be out playing. Instead, they're worrying if/when they'll be able to see their parents.
Sean visits with the teen group as they talk about how to deal with the obstacles they've encountered in life. He learns that many of the kids feel as though this organization is a savior. Everyone there shares a common bond. Sharon tries to assure the kids that just because their parents made bad decisions; it doesn't necessarily mean they are bad people.
Sean reveals his true identity to Sharon and her team. He's truly been moved by their passion. That's why he gives them a gift of $60,000. Tears flow as Sharon is speechless. She thanks Sean for this wonderful gift that will help the organization provide services they couldn't perform before. For example, they've wanted to buy a van to take kids to visit their parents. Now they can do just that.