Family launches new foundation

by: Sarah Rosario Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. —

Dec. 12, 2012, a Charlotte family picked it to launch the Twelve in Twelve Foundation.

The family visited 12 countries in 12 months doing humanitarian work after J.D. Lewis and his two sons set out to volunteer around the world.

They spent time in homeless shelters, orphanages, hospitals and much more, helping more than 20 organizations any way they could.

Lewis said he decided to make the trip when his son asked if they could help people in other countries.

"It started with a simple idea, and I wanted to teach them the power of a simple idea," said Lewis.

Lewis described the past year as extraordinary. He said their trip was paid for through fundraisers and sponsors.

The went to 12 countries, and all seven continents, in a year. Now on 12/12/12, Lewis told Eyewitness News about his plans to give back to 12 of the organizations he worked with who he feels need it the most. As a former actor and now coach he wrote plays for children to perform.

"It was the highlight of my career to watch 20 kids on a stage in the middle of Rwanda," he said.

His eldest son blogged their trip, while his youngest gave out free Legos to children in need after writing a letter to its.

"Lego shipped crates of Legos to all of our locations for my son to give out. I told him there is power in a handwritten letter," he said.

In Charlotte, Lewis's foundation will raise money through fundraisers to help the organizations he worked with meet their most pressing needs. Lewis says after a year overseas, he wanted to do more.

"When we left it was so devastating. We had fallen so in love with these kids, and I knew from that point on that we were going to do something sustainable," he said.

For Lewis, Dec. 12, 2012 is not a day of superstitions but a day of great meaning and an opportunity to help 12 organizations continue to meet the needs of others.