MEDFORD, Ore. — This Saturday marks two years since Extreme Makeover: Home Edition rolled into Southern Oregon, changing a local family’s life forever, but the TV show didn’t only impact one family.
The show focused on the McPhail’s family involvement in Sparrow Clubs, which has now inspired new clubs thousands of miles away. When the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition bus rolled into Southern Oregon, it did more than just unveil the new “extreme” house, it unveiled a Pacific Northwest organization to the rest of the country
“I was watching EMHE and the thing that really hit me for a little bit of money it affects so many, and especially affecting kids,” said Mark Thornton.
From Indiana, Mark Thornton was watching this part of the episode as the TV star Ty Pennington, played a role in the Hedrick Middle School’s Sparrow Clubs assembly, it wasn’t the star power Thornton noticed. Instead, it was the kids ready to serve.
“Honestly, it was seeing these kids light up… with the chance to do something,” said Thornton.
That became Thornton’s chance to do something. He contacted Sparrow Clubs USA, eventually launching his own Sparrow Clubs community in the Indianapolis area. The Indianapolis girl, Makyla Livers, became Indiana’s first Sparrow earlier this year. With a new school year, the Indiana chapter has already launched two clubs and plans on starting 10 more.
“It inspired me, again from the ripple effect, if it inspired me and I was able to bring this into Indiana, and now will be inspiring thousands of kids how much better does it get than that”
An impact in Indiana that all started more than 2,000 miles away with a community ready to give.
“There’s a lot of home town pride for me because Southern Oregon…and I hope people in Southern Oregon understand this…what we did as a community for Extreme Home Makeover, and yes it benefited Sparrow Clubs, but then it was a community thing – and what we did as a community – what we did is the reason this is happening in Indiana,” explained Sparrow Clubs’ Oregon Director, Matt Sampson.
Sparrow Clubs’ Oregon Director says the organization is still getting phone calls two years later from people who have seen the local episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.