Appears as a contributor in the bestseller 'Me to WE'
Winfrey founded and is chair and CEO of a multimedia production company, Harpo Productions, and founder of O, The Oprah Magazine. She is also a spokeswoman and partial owner of many brands, including WW. Her generous philanthropic work reaches local, national, and global platforms
In 2013, Oprah received the Presidential Medal of Freedom
She is a well-known philanthropist and her foundation, the Oprah Winfrey Charitable Foundation, has donated $400 million in grants

Oprah featured in 'WEconomy'

I will never forget the year I was about 12 years old, living with my mother who was single and raising my half-sister, my half-brother, and me in Milwaukee. We were on welfare, and she told us that we would not be receiving Christmas gifts because there was not enough money. I remember at the time that I felt sad and thought, what will my story be? What would I say when the other kids asked what I'd gotten? What will my classmates think when I go back to school and say, We didn't have Christmas because we didn't have any money?

Just when I started to accept that there would not be a Christmas that year, three nuns showed up at our house with gifts for all of us. There was a turkey, a fruit basket, some games, and for me, they brought a doll. I felt such a sense of relief that I had been given something, and that I would no longer have to be embarrassed when I returned to school. I remember feeling that I mattered enough to these nuns--whom I had never met and to this day still do not know their names -and what it meant that they had remembered me. I wasn't forgotten. Somebody had thought enough of me to bring me a gift.

Years later, in the spring of 2002, I stood in the kitchen of my new house and thought about that upcoming Christmas, envisioning how I wanted to decorate the house to make my first Christmas there special and memorable. I then started to think about the best Christmas I ever had, and I instantly recalled the nuns visit and impact they had on my life. I have always encouraged giving, using your life, teaching what vou learn, and extending yourself in the form of service. So, that day in my kitchen, I put that same challenge to myself. What could I do, by using the abundance that I had been blessed with, to make this Christmas more meaningful to someone else? I decided that I wanted to create that same feeling of importance and acknowledgement for as many children as I could possibly reach. I immediately thought of the children of South Africa, whose poverty and suffering I had seen firsthand on my previous visits. The people of South Africa and the strength of their spirit had al ways held a special place in my heart. I simply wanted to create one day in the lives of these children that they could remember as a happy one.

So, I came up with a plan and gathered forty people from my company, Harpo, Inc. to help. Together with my greatest mentor, Nelson Mandela, we created a program that I called Christmas Kindness South Africa 2002. We worked together to identify gifts that would be culturally relevant, from black dolls -which none of these children had ever seen--and soccer balls, which is one of South Africa's favorite sports, to sneakers for every child, because so many of them don't own a pair of shoes. We wanted to help these children forget their troubles and have some fun, even if only for a short while. We created a fantasy land of parties complete with Christmas trees, fairy princesses and jesters, games, and prizes for the orphans, most of whom had never attended a party in their lives. It was at the first one of these parties that I experienced the single greatest moment of my life.

We gathered approximately one hundred and twenty-five children from different orphanages at each party. For every child, we wrapped colorful packages filled with toys, clothes, much-needed books, and school supplies. Each package was labeled with a child's name. We wanted all of them to know they were special, and for a lot of those children, it would be the only gift they had ever received. Before I called out their names and handed them their gifts, I reminded them that they couldn't unwrap their presents until every child had come forward. Much to my surprise, they sat patiently like no other children I had seen before for what must have seemed like an eternity, listening for their cue. Finally, the moment they had been waiting for came as I called out, "One, two, three. Open your presents!"

As the children ripped open their packages, their faces beamed as their jubilant smiles lit up the room. They cheered, sang, and danced in celebration. They hugged their gifts and hugged one another; the joy in the room was palpable, and it wasn't just about toys. It was a feeling – the feeling I knew from that Christmas so long ago when the nuns came to visit…I wasn't forgotten. Somebody thought of me. I matter.

I never knew that level of joy existed until that Christmas I spent with the children of South Africa. Their energy and elation were contagious. I felt it so deeply; it was overwhelming and it completely filled me. I realized in that moment that joy has a texture you can really feel. I saw myself in their eyes, and I carry their joy in my heart. I am grateful to God that I was able to see, touch, hear, and feel that kind of happiness by giving back to those who had so little. That Christmas we were able to bring joy to fifty thousand children, but there were more than a million moments of happiness.

Making other people happy is what brings me happiness. This principle of living has brought me enormous good fortune, long before I knew this is how the universe works. I grew up being taught, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." The real lesson is what you do to others will indeed be done unto you. What you put out comes back; it's the third law of motion. So we're always rewarded in kind according to the depth of our deeds. I speak daily to ten million people all over the world with the purest intention of in some way lifting them up through hope, laughter, inspiration and entertainment. I, in turn, have been exalted by the blessings.

Me to WE
Me to We is a New York Times bestseller that provides a tangible guide to doing good. The book puts forward an approach to life that leads us to recognize what is truly valuable when making decisions, defining our goals and contemplating the legacy we want to leave. It includes contributions by individuals who have followed the Me to We philosophy, including Oprah Winfrey, Queen Noor and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Above all, it creates new ways of measuring happiness, meaning and success in our lives and makes sure these elusive goals are attainable at last.
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