By Amy Kehm
Their differences brought them together and are now bringing the community together. James “Scottie” Scott and Rachelle Scott had known each other casually when they crossed paths at a basketball game. After chatting about how different they were, they decided that it would be fun to take each other on platonic dates – each planning what they would consider to be a perfect date.
Scottie took Rachelle horseback riding, to dinner and to a comedy show, while Rachelle took Scottie to a Phillies game. Without the expectations of a romantic connection, the two clicked.
“After those unofficial dates, we decided to hang out together as friends going to movies and dinners,” recalls Scottie.
“After several months of hanging out as friends, Scottie invited me to his home to have a cookout with the kids,” explains Rachelle.
“Rachelle just seemed so natural around the kids and with me that I knew she was the one for me,” notes Scottie.
Two years later, they decided to get married, becoming a blended family of 11. Together, they have nine children ranging in age from 5 to 23. They began using the power of family with what they called a “desire to inspire.”
“We wanted to get the kids actively involved, so we began by doing random acts of kindness,” explains Scottie.
They then moved to service projects, such as volunteering with the Special Olympics, Color Run, Ronald McDonald House, Suits to Careers (with a monthly Celebrity Stylist event) and We Feed Philly. As they posted about their outings on Facebook, family and friends showed support. The Scotts called themselves “Team Scott” with a “Desire to Inspire Kindness!“
“We have seen firsthand that kindness inspires kindness,” says Scottie.
After helping to feed the homeless in Philadelphia, Scottie and Rachelle realized that Dauphin County has its own homeless epidemic – with youth who often have limited ability to change their situations.
“Imagine being a kid and dealing with the real-life struggles of an adult while going to school,” says Scottie. “Achieving academic success is difficult for any student, but envision not having the vital resources of food, shelter, clothing and transportation. That is why we have made the commitment to help provide the vital services for these students.”
They cannot do it alone, so they used their family motto to get others involved. In May, Team Scott officially became a nonprofit and a charitable project of The Foundation for Enhancing Communities (TFEC).
Team Scott is working with the Capital Area Coalition on Homelessness and Education and receiving help from Central Penn College’s diversity office to collaborate with local school districts and their homeless students. Team Scott wants to offer “lunch and learn” sessions for homeless youth to help them enhance life skills and job opportunities.
In September, Team Scott is holding its first “Stepping Up While Stepping Out” event to fight youth homelessness. It will feature a reception, speakers, a silent art auction and music.
In addition, a visit to teamscottinspire.com offers you the opportunity to send “Hugs and Kisses” or donate a “High $5 RAK” (random act of kindness gift card). There are also opportunities for monetary and in-kind donations.
The Scotts welcome anyone to join their efforts. They even began a certificate program for students who need volunteer hours for high school or college.
“We open our arms like families should. The door is always open, and all are welcome,” says Rachelle.
“People really do want to help and get involved in the community,” says Scottie. “It only takes one person to start a positive movement, and others will follow.”
Amy Kehm knows the good in people. She is the host and producer of Good Day PA! on abc27.