NYACK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A person needs courage to follow the road not taken. Rockland County native Mark Svensson and his wife Ismini are taking that chance.
“Ismini and I are both, you know, really so passionate about giving back and helping others,” he told WCBS 880 reporter Sean Adams.
After growing up in Rockland, he went to Georgetown University, graduated last year, and stayed in Washington, D.C.
He and his wife held a charity drive for a local Salvation Army center in Maryland.
“We decided to make it bigger,” Ismini said.
So, the young couple quit their jobs and hopped on a train to California. For the next year, they plan to perform charitable works in all 50 states.
“It sounds almost crazy, especially, you know, given the other circumstances going on in our, you know, personal life,” Mark said. “Ismini is also pregnant right now, going on six months.”
They’re arranging for the baby to be born in California, but then it’s back on the road.
“We feel blessed when people, you know, tells us their stories,” Ismini said.
“The support coming in really is giving us extra inspiration to really reach every state and accomplish this,” Mark said.
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So, how will they pull it off – new baby, no jobs, and a 50-state altruistic adventure?
“Well, we actually have decided to use the money that we were planning on spending on our wedding,” Ismini said. “We didn’t have a fancy wedding. It was just the two of us. We wanted to save every penny for this cause.”
Mark’s father, Dr. Kenneth Svensson, a physician in Nyack, has given his blessing to the endeavor.
“He’s always wanted to make a difference in the world and that’s really.., been his position and his stand all along, even locally here and when he went off to Georgetown,” Dr. Svensson said. “I was very proud of him, you know, all along. I always have been and with this I’m extremely proud that that’s how he wants to donate his life to helping others and I really believe that’s his calling.”
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference,” wrote Robert Frost.
“What’s going to be more meaningful this year, you know?” Mark said. “It was more a decision about what’s going to help others and that’s why we decided we need to focus on something greater than ourselves.”