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Some think the meaning of life is seeking happiness. Not sure I go along with that, only because the happiest people I know seek to serve others. It’s a mystery to some that selfless people radiate happiness all around them. And who doesn’t love being around happy people!
In this journey, building an organization to make the lives of orphans brighter, I’m touched by the people I meet who selflessly work to make the lives of a child better. These are the happiest people I’ve ever met. And they’re all around me these days. Our partners, their staff, our donors, volunteers and supporters all radiate happiness out of full hearts that selflessly give to others.
From the beginning of this journey, one such person is Fred Cornforth, CEO of CDI in Boise Idaho has provided support, funds and guidance to our work. In our initial meeting Fred told me his dream to one day build 200 Orphanages. Thus, he coined our name! Not long after, Fred helped us make our very first funds disbursement to Haiti after the earthquake, he’s funded projects and administration expenses ever since.
Last weekend, my husband and I were invited to share the orphan work with the CDI board of directors. Each board member shared their own selfless work helping orphans and other organizations with time and talent over the years. Their stories of selflessness and unbridled love for the orphan might just explain their smiles!
I’m filled with gratitude to all those who selflessly give encouragement and support. I love being around happy people.
This is what makes the world go round for me: Liberty Missouri to Guatemala
A few weeks ago, Chris Hoyt, national director, with NPH-Guatemala sent photos of the block building our supporters funded that is almost complete. It isn’t just any block building. This will serve as a small on-site store in the center of the NPH complex that will serve as training for the mentally disabled orphans. The children will learn to sell concessions to visitors and others store under the supervision of staff with the purpose that they will learn a trade to support themselves if needed someday.
This brings me great joy and I couldn’t wait to share. Especially since one or our board members inspired so many others around the country to help raise funds. Cory Scheer ran a marathon a month to call attention to safe shelter for orphans, then he organized a virtual 5k. Word spread, and soon the local grade schools in Liberty Missouri were organizing a 5k.
I am so excited to share with Cory, the basic needs participants and the staff at Lewis and Clark Elementary. We can’t do it all, but we can all do something!
From St. Cloud MN to Gulu Girls Garden Fence in Uganda
Lacy Voight with Halo Foundation sent photos of the Gulu Girls Garden fence in Uganda funded by our Art Haven Holiday Boutique. The idea was to use our lovely second floor office in downtown St. Cloud Minnesota as an Art Gallery called Safe Haven Boutique. Ann Opatz would local ask artists to donate an art piece to help raise funds for a small project. This was the results of our first Safe Haven Holiday Boutique. It’s a small start, but a big beginning for the girls in Uganda.
And then there is the 300 pounds of beauty products worth $50,000 that arrived today. A skin care company, http://www.deluviausa.com , has donated the product and it was delivered today to our program consultant’s garage!
This came about because I use the product and reordered. While doing that, I inquired if they ever donated product to be used at silent auctions or fund raisers. I explained that the Angel of Mercy organization works with women and children affected with HIV/AIDS in Cameroon. I explained they have a beauty boutique from which the products are sold and proceeds used to pay for ongoing operations and staff salaries.
My idea was that we could use the product in silent auctions or Angel of Mercy could take it to Cameroon to sell out of their beauty store to sell the product and use the proceeds to pay for operations of the orphan home.
I was overwhelmed when I heard they were sending 18 boxes of product worth $50,000. Angel of Mercy is more than thrilled. President and director Relindis Moffor is beginning to fill a container with supplies for the orphan home and so, the beauty products will go to Cameroon this fall!
Supporters and participants helped with the Spring Fever 5K and we raised enough to send funds with Relindis on her trip to Cameroon so she can buy the transformer for running electricity to the site. She’s working on raising the remainder of the funds so the kids will be able to move in before Christmas.
The completion of the modern Dining Hall in India is getting underway. We’ve sent the first phase of funds to India that will continue the construction. The anticipated completion date is July. A small group, including Kim and Dan Anderson from the Twin Cities will travel to India to see the project first hand.
I’m excited to see what’s next!
I am taking a few minutes before New Year’s Eve to write a quick note filled with heartfelt gratitude to my favorite people.
If you’re reading this, you’re on my list!
You have meant so much to me in the work I set out to do 7 years ago on behalf of orphans. The vision has taken root because you and I deliberately choose to take one step toward raising funds and awareness to provide safe shelter for orphans. Because of your deliberate generosity and consistent support, we have the honor of providing orphans a safe place to call home. Well, the need is great and as we say, we can’t do it all, but we can all do something.
This work has not been an overnight success…actually, it takes effort every day… it’s an uphill sort of effort. And though we’ve not been a- 7 – year smash hit, by some standards, we have touched the lives of orphans who now have a sense of safety because of us. We move steady and sure… onward! That’s success in my book!
And, because of you, we’ve been able to fund more than $50,000 toward Angel of Mercy home in Cameroon. The last remaining effort is to get power to the site. We know there’ll be more incidentals, but for the most part, we’re well on our way to seeing kids living in their home in the next few months. We’ve funded $25,000 toward the Mercy Home, in spite of major obstacles and setbacks, making it ready to be home for 6 orphan girls. We’ve built a concession shed in Guatemala so disabled orphans can learn a trade. A generous donor funded 6 wells in India for one of our partners, two of those for a leper colony. Another underwriter funded a chicken coup in Tanzania and a guard house in Rwanda.
Today, we sent funds to help JBFC remodel their dining all, put windows on all their dorms, and build a shed so 43 orphan girls in their care will have somewhere to put their STUFF! You know girls! We’ve sent funds for the fence around the garden for the Gulu Girls home and funds to help the 6 orphan girls in Kerala India have a safe place to call home.
This year, you get to help us build a modern dining hall for orphans in India and more projects yet to be determined… So, in all the ways our work together touches and changes an orphan’s life, we …YOU… are a smashing success!
Thank you and I wish you and yours all the best in 2015.
Love! In plain English, the best holiday gift is not a noun, but in our world, LOVE is the real thing: a verb.
Love is an action word and it’s why we do what we do, loving God and loving children in deed.
Gifts of love the verb take many forms in our world. These include helping move our mission forward in big or small ways. We’ve had RSVP volunteers stuff envelopes, we’ve had big and small kids in the classroom engage in our cause, some run marathons, create and donate works of art, some mobilize friends and families, some give money, some give services, some participate in our events some sponsor our events… the list goes on and one. All of these gifts are gifts of love to use. Verbs, (action words) not mere nouns.
Those who generously give time and talent are helping us build safety, shelter and sustainability of orphans. We can’t do it all, but we can all do something!
There are so many who want to do something for an orphan and they’ve found us. That’s love in action!~ I love the holidays…don’t you? Happy Holidays to all our friends.
I only wonder what Love will bring in 2015.
Black Friday Deal For YOU!
Today, I have Thanksgiving on my mind. And like many others, I am counting my blessings and planning my Thanksgiving Day Menu. A lot of love and care will go into preparing the Thanksgiving Day meal. We have a tradition, like so many other families, to share what we are thankful for before we say grace and eat. With the sharing, there are tears mixed with loving words. We’ve been blessed with a large family and each one in our family is a treasure.
My heart of gratitude reaches even further since I started the mission to help provide orphans safe shelter and sustainability. I was compelled to start this work because I love my family so much. I can’t imagine a child at any age being left alone in this world. I knew there was something I could do to make their lives better, so this is my something.
And I know many of you have a heart for orphans too, as many of you have friended or followed our work. For all of you who have “liked” our pages and followed our “tweets,” I’m wondering if you can take the next step and participate in our Black Friday Event.
to help us in our work starting Black Friday until Christmas, and we’ll will send you hand crafted felted mittens, a felted bird house or a neck warmer. Let’s try to make sure the orphans have a reason to celebrate Thanksgiving too!
If you’re going to fall, try to fall forward. Then, get up and look around, brush yourself off and start again from there. When I hurled myself off the cliff, endeavoring to beat the odds, start a nonprofit during the Great Recession, my mission was to do what I could to serve orphan needs. There’s been a lot of first, fails and falls… but at least we’re falling forward. I knew the work would be hard, but it’s easy to put “hard” in perspective with orphan care. “Hard” is living each day as an orphan.
So we continue the work. All the successes we claim are because we haven’t given up and because our supporters and volunteers share our passion to help orphans. It’s because of our supporters that a handful of the 150 million orphans in the world have a safe place to call home. The need is great. We can’t do it all, but we can all do something.
Each day, each week, each month and each year we fall forward. We’ve been raising awareness and funds to provide safety, shelter and sustainability for orphans for about 6 years.
We’re on the way to building our second orphan home, we’ve provided security with block walls and fences, and we’ve helped build sustainability with wells, outdoor kitchens and livestock buildings. All of this so orphans can have a safety, shelter and sustainability. And you get the benefit of knowing your funds made a direct impact in the life of an orphan. Your investment has real life returns.
And the smile on that child’s face? It’s because of you.
I have the privilege of working with many talented and generous people. More examples of those practicing deliberate generosity. Today, I’m introducing three dedicated individuals who each decided on their own they want to do something for orphans in need. They found us on volunteermatch.org as they sought out opportunities. Today they are making our mission their own. Each oneusing their talents and skills to help our partners build awareness and funds about building projects that will better serve the orphans in their care. We can’t do it all but we can all do something.
They each took the next step after learning about what we do. They said… how can I help.
Diana Ricketson lives in Atlanta and her mission is to help make life better for orphans from right where she is. She’s engaging her marketing and social networking skills to that end. Her heart and motivation inspires me. She lives for likes, so do us a favor… like our page on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/200Orphans
Dorie Lincoln also took the next step and connected with us when she heard about our mission. She’s developing skills in coding and web design. Well, guess what we needed! Dorie is helping us enhance our image and soon we’ll see the results of her dedication and effort. She too has a heart for orphans and using her skills and talents to make the life of an orphan just a bit brighter. Watch for our new site in the next few months.
Albert Hur engaged with us almost two months ago and is intense about helping our cause through social networking. His goal is to engage our followers and friends and see results through making a greater impact building projects for the orphans. For him, results are in people pressing that GIVE button and following up with a donation!
The best thing is, they all have embraced the vision and are doing what they can to make a difference. They are so much fun to work with I can only say thank you. Each one brings joy to my heart and a smile to my face. Our virtual meetings are delightful and I can only see more orphans having safety, shelter and sustainability as a result.
We can’t do it all… but we can all do something.
Thank you Diana! Dorie! Albert. You rock.
We recently were made aware of a few needs from our partners–a chicken coop in Tanzania and four wells in India. We shared the needs with two friends with generous hearts who decided they would meet the needs.
The gratitude is obvious on the faces of the children. The orphan girls at Janada Batchelor Foundation for Children in Tanzania now have meat to eat more often and can sell their product at the market. Being sustainable is critical and we are happy our supporter made that happen.
The4 clean water wells in India were funded recently and will provide water for orphan homes and the community at large. Imagine having access to clean water for the first time in your life. One person with a heart for clean water made that happen.
We are so touched by the deliberate generosity of our friends.
We are reaching out to our friends and supporters to help build a fence around the Montessori school at NPH-Guatemala. The cost is $1800 and all the funds donated will go directly to the fence. If you’d like to help, donate online from our website. You can make a child smile today!
We Can’t Do it all, but we can all do something!
It’s been about a month since I returned from a 10 day trip to Guatemala and I’ve had time to ponder the experience. One of the best decisions I made was to take the time to visit NPH Guatemala, an orphan home in San Andres, Itzapa. I’ve known about NPH since we started 200 Orphanages as we helped NPH Haiti expand their orphan home after the earthquake in 2009.
This visit was my first to an NPH home and included our Guatemalan daughter and her family. It was also my husband’s first trip to an orphanage. Their hearts were touched beyond words and not only were their emotions moved, they made decisions to take action to do something to help an orphan in some way.
We visited on a Sunday and so the kids were all enjoying a relaxing day of fun and fellowship with volunteers and weekend staff. When we arrived, on-site director Chris Hoyt was out for a run with some of the older kids. We arrived a bit late and so we were met by one of the staff members until Chris and the running entourage returned.
To see NPH on a weekend, when the kids are free to play and enjoy their day was especially moving. They wandered up freely to Chris and the other staff for hugs and loving greetings and were met with hugs and greetings in return. The mutual love was apparent reflecting founder Father Wasson’s original vision that every child in the home is part of a loving family. In this case, a family of 300! But each child is special and is given individualized care and love. I am so touched by this wonderful organization. It is one of the many I am proud to support. It’s heart warming to see the vision of the founders be lived out day by day through staff and volunteers.
So many things about the organization touched me. It is an example of the kind of partners we seek to help. They provide loving care to the orphans from infant to adulthood. The kids are well cared for and sustained by sponsors and receive food, clothing, education and medical care. There is a large garden that the kids help with that provides food day to day for the kids, along with livestock. Children take turns doing their part in the kitchen, cleaning, everything a child would do in a family. Each one has responsibilities and is encouraged to help their siblings. The farm is a large part of their operations, and takes a lot to keep up. Chris mentioned they could use more chickens and cattle, so if you want to help let us know. The kids don’t get meat very often, just once a week. As you can imagine, 300 mouths are a lot to feed!
I was impressed that the life of each child is important and a holistic approach is taken when considering their care. I love this. Children need individual guidance and even more so as they approach adulthood. NPH provides that. Once a child is older, he/she is able to learn a trade in the on-site vocational training, such as welding, baking, sewing and carpentry. Others who qualify for university are sponsored an NPH Guatemala had the largest number of children in their history attend University last year.
The NPH children are raised to be productive members of the family and the larger community. Children in the NPH family are asked to volunteer for a year of service in one of the NPH homes after they leave NPH. Many do, and many are the current leaders of the homes in one capacity or another.
NPH cares for special needs children as well, and there is also a Montessori school. The Montessori school needs a fence that we’d like to fund. If you’d like to adopt this project, let me know! You can underwrite the whole fence, or any part of it. The total cost is $1800. Click here to donate. Write NPH Fence in the comments if you donate online!
We can’t do it all, but we can all do something!
Think about the people in your life and if you have room or want to make room, there are lots of things you can do.You can mentor a child with groups like Big Brothers Big Sisters, you can adopt a child as your own, you can sponsor a child’s education or living expenses, you can help us raise awareness and funds to provide safety, shelter and sustenance for orphans. You can help us help them.
There may be ways to move things around in our lives, in our hearts even and make room for just one more. If we ACT, SHARE OR GIVE, if we all just made room for one more, what a different world this would be! I know many of you have already made room, but if not you can join our Giving Hearts Club! You can help us help them, and participate in building an orphan home, click on the photo and get started!
We can’t do it all, but we can all do something!