iSoulify Podcast
iSoulify Podcast
May 18, 2021
S2/Ep22: Heidi Johnson, Learn to Shine Your Light Where You Can
Play • 50 min
  • Heidi Johnson
  • Non-Profit Founder and Storyteller
  • Heidi Johnson is a non-profit founder, a story teller, and a believer in all things good. She is the executive director of a non-profit called Task, a youth leadership organization. She also has a blog and podcast called Charity Matters where she tells the stories of other non-profit founders. She wants to build a community full of inspiring people.
  • Dena asks Heidi to take us back to where her story and passion started. 
  • Heidi says that she grew up in a philanthropic family. Her grandmother took care of elderly people, her aunt was a nun. This took a huge part in setting her on her course. A lot of groundwork set her up on this path. 
  • There was a specific moment when she got a phone call in the middle of the night that her parents had been in a car accident. They were in their early 60s and they were hit by a bus. Three passed away and the other had extreme brain damage. Her father survived, but unfortunately her mother was killed instantly. Her father was in a coma for a month following the accident. During this time, the outpouring of love she received was so huge and she felt so grateful for the community around her. This was the moment that turned the path for her, and her calling happened later. 
  • November 2002 was the accident. Her father had died twice, had countless injuries and broken bones, but he pulled through. Almost exactly a year later following this accident, Heidi got a call from an old friend who needed help from Heidi to become a chaplain for CHLA hospital. He also wanted to create a program.
  • Heidi was struggling with young kids and fresh grief. But she ends up taking some of her friends down to CHLA to help out with the chaplain.  
  • Heidi met a woman who was there with her son who had been in a tragic accident. He ended up surviving and went home on Thanksgiving. This experience of serendipity was like a lightbulb for Heidi. She felt activated when she heard this mother explain her child’s story. 
  • She then realized she wanted in on this project. She then changed the culture of this hospital and has permanently changed it. Spiritual care is now part of the medical team with the chaplains. The chaplains do medical rounds with all of the doctors for the families. 
  • Dena asks how she felt when she had this spurt of serendipity?
  • Heidi had a feeling of complete knowingness. She felt called and she knew what it was. She knew it was an undeniable experience. Having gone through loss, it was comforting. She felt a connection to her mother in that moment that was so strong. She also felt like it was an opportunity to make something purposeful from the loss. 
  • Dena asks if Heidi was praying for this moment to happen, or did it just sort of occur?
  • Heidi says it just happened. The year before was just surviving for her. Her grief was debilitating. She was not functional. She just wanted to get through the grief and take care of her children. 
  • Dena wants to emphasize that clarity following grief is not always there. Being open to new passions and new opportunities is the best you can do. To be able to open oneself to exploring possibilities is a gift. 
  • Heidi says that bad things happen all of the time, and not everybody chooses to do something with it. With loss, there is rebirth. 
  • Dena had an epiphany about 6 months after her daughter’s passing. She realized the pain would never go away and she knew she would carry it for the rest of her life. But it’s what you do with that pain. Bad things do happen, but there is an opportunity to make something of it. 
  • Heidi says it’s how do you choose to use that pain? It’s there, and it’s not leaving. So what do you do with it and how do you decide how to convert that energy. 
  • Energy cannot be created or destroyed. 
  • Dena asks when Heidi began to formulate this into a business.
  • Heidi says it was immediate. They discussed with some people at the hospital about expanding the spirituality, but they did not have the budget for it. They were very supportive in working with them though. The idea was to create a new program to be accredited with USC. 
  • They began to fundraise and founded the non-profit. Doctors also began to donate because they knew how important spiritual care was. Heidi knew that from here, there was no stopping this cause. It was called the Spiritual Care Guild. From there, doors happened to open up left and right.
  • Heidi had so many moments where happy coincidences happen. They became incredibly successful in fundraising. She knew that this was the correct path for her because door after door kept opening. 
  • Every time she saw this would happen, she knew it was her mother’s energy. 
  • Dena asks where it went from there and how it grew.
  • Heidi said that they would only hire one chaplain at a time and have 5 student interns. They had two chaplains and 10 students at this point. 
  • Heidi explains that being a chaplain is listening, comforting, understanding, and training on these virtues that are a gift. 
  • The chaplains also bring homemade cookies, tea, and little quotes to listen to people. They also began mediation. It has evolved to become the best program to support people. The hospital has been nothing but supportive. 
  • Dena asks if she has thought about taking this to other hospitals?
  • Heidi says that yes, they have thought about it. 
  • She then had a calling to do a TV show about her work, but then she transitioned into making a blog. She then started the blog called Charity Matters to interview non-profit founders. She found her tribe. 
  • She says that this is the reason that her chaplain group did not spread to other hospitals. 
  • Dena asks how she started to reach out to people in the non-profits.
  • Heidi would reach out to the founders and try to understand why they began their non-profits. What was their driving force?
  • She really wanted to give light to smaller nonprofits to help and highlight them. 
  • “One spirit, one soul, one child at a time” is her nonprofits motto. She did not want her organization to be driven by money. 
  • There are 1.7 million non-profits in the US. Millions of people do amazing work for all kinds of people. 
  • Heidi’s blog is online can be found here:
  • They also launched a podcast on Spotify and Apple. 
  • Her day job is running Tacsc which is a youth leadership organization that is 38 years old. She was brought in by the founder who was going to close Tacsc and she was brought in to remodel the company. At the time, they were serving 300 students. College students train high school students, and high school students train middle school students. They teach students leadership skills. They want them to have a goal and a plan, how to communicate a plan, how to be a lifelong mentor, how people look up to you, and most importantly, they teach you cannot lead unless you serve. True leadership is serving from behind the scenes. She has been there for 7.5 years and is now up to 3,500 students. She loves planting the seed of compassion in a child and teaching them how to serve others. 
  • Heidi believes that we are all here to serve one another. 
  • Colleen says that the common thread through every guest is giving back. This giving back feeds our souls and perpetuates happiness and joy. 
  • Heidi says that it is addictive because she loves to help people so much. She wants to help the helpers. 
  • Dena asks Heidi for her final words. 
  • Heidi says that we are all just shining our light where we can. We all have that light and can activate it. Everybody has a gift to give, however they want to give it to the world. She is here to remind people of that. 
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