Beverly Adams is a longtime North Texan, but she grew up the daughter of an Air Force man has lived all over the world. She lived in places such as Okinawa and many different U.S. states. No matter where her family lived, her parents emphasized the importance of helping people who were less fortunate.
"One of the things that my dad taught me early on is that there are no differences among people," says Adams, who lives in Las Colinas and frequently visits her father, who lives in Fort Worth. "That was his philosophy -- that all of our hearts beat the same. Doesn't matter what culture, race, religion, anything."
Adams' parents met in Canton, Miss., a small town about a half-hour north of Jackson. Her mother shared her father's views, and Adams got to see this in action when she was a little girl living in Okinawa in the '60s.
"My mom would put food out for Japanese people who were going through our trash can," Adams says. "They were drinking pickle juice and stuff like that. So she just started wrapping up extra food from our dinners and putting it out there fresh so that the people would have something to eat. I kind of observed her doing that, and I was like, 'Why are you doing that, Mom?' 'Because people are hungry and I need to do what I can to help them'."
These lessons stuck with Adams, who practices -- and urges other people to practice -- Everyday Philanthropy. As Adams sees it, this can be as simple as holding a door open for someone or as modestly generous as buying somebody's cup of coffee at Starbucks.
On Wednesday night, Adams will get the opportunity to spread her message further with the premiere of http://beverlyadamsentertainment.com/project.php?id=1">The Changers, which will air at 8 and 9 p.m. on cable/satellite's GMC (Gospel Music Channel). The series, which unlike most reality TV emphasizes the positive over fights and foolishness, will feature a "helper" nominated by family, friends or co-workers, who is chosen to assist someone in need. In the premiere, for instance, a surfer and adrenaline junkie named Scott Mortensen is picked to plan a wedding for a hairstylist named Jessica. The twist: Jessica is terminally ill with stage 4 breast cancer. Jason Castro, the former American Idol finalist from Rockwall, makes an appearance in the episode and sings a couple of songs. Here's an extended preview, with more on Adams below.
Adams, who since 1998 has been married to Dr. John Adams, a medical oncologist at the Arlington Cancer Center, has been very active in charity events in North Texas. She had the idea for The Changers a few years ago and had been working to get it on the air since 2009. But she was convinced that the show would make it on the air.
"I've always been super-ambitious," she says. "My parents were like, 'We don't know what we're going to do with you, because you have these really big thoughts.' And I wanted to do something really, really big to change the world. They were like, 'Try just to be normal.' But that's who I am."
After working for some non-profit organizations, Adams began to believe that people would rally to causes such as Big Brothers Big Sisters, Cancer Research Foundation and other organizations if people understood what the charities are doing and how many of them help at-risk children.
Adams had a background in broadcast TV, having worked at stations such as KXAS/Channel 5 and Temple-Waco's KCEN, where she had her first TV job as an account executive and commercial producer. While she was at NBC 5, she was sent to a Women in Radio and Television conference in Washington, D.C., where she met an executive from the Discovery Channel.
"She said something that totally changed my life," Adams says. "She said, 'Your job is what you trade in the days of your life for. Therefore, your job has to have significance and meaning to you.' " Adams says she loved her job at NBC 5, but this comment led her to do something more humanitarian and get back to her roots.
She began doing volunteer work, but some of her ideas were too big for the nonprofits she worked for. She was still trying to find what she needed to do when she and her husband took a vacation to London, where they visited all the historic cathedrals, lighting candles and asking God to give her something to do.
"I kept dreaming about this one gentleman named Phil Hurley, who was my boss at the ABC station in Tyler-Longview," she says. "He was a man of honesty and integrity. I hadn't even talked to him in quite a few years and here I was dreaming about him in London. And five nights later, I realized that I should put my TV background and my philanthropy together. I started at that moment thinking about how I could get it done."
That was in 2005. By 2009, she had produced a pilot for The Changers. Selling it, however, proved to be tough.
"I had so many challenges," she says. "So many people being negative. So many people telling me that it was impossible and htat it would never happen. But I just kept believing in myself and believing in the project and believing in the greater good."
Adams' tenacity eventually paid off. She got an endorsement and an award from the Parents Television Council, which introduced her to Marc Berman, who now runs the TV Media Insights website. Berman wrote about the pilot and otherwise gave it support, which helped lead to the GMC pickup.
At this stage, The Changers is a special that has yet to be picked up as a series, but Adams says that she and the producers have future stories written out, and that 15 charities are cross-promoting the show -- and that she'd like to feature them in future shows. She already has a plan to feature Big Brothers Big Sisters.
"GMC loves the show," Adams says. "But it's all about ratings. But I can tell you, if they don't go to series, it will go on the air somewhere big. Parents Television Council took me to a Smuckers shareholders meeting. I've already met with Procter & Gamble, and they love it. They're the ones who make the decisions -- the advertisers. So I'll go back to the advertisers. We will get our show going."
To find out if your cable or satellite system carries GMC, go here.