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I know it’s almost April, and that 2017 is marching steadily along. I feel as if I’m just jan2getting started on very important things for our partners this year. So here we go!

First of all, much of my time in 2017 has been spent with my grandchildren in Arizona. They are filled with such joy when they see me and I can’t get enough of that! To make things even better, there’s a new baby in our family in Washington. Holding that little one reminds me again why I have such a heart for the orphans. When I hold her close in my arms, and put my face to hers, my heart floods with love so strong. This new life has a loving mom and dad and two very loving sisters. She has aunts and cousins, another set of grandparents, great grand parents and many great aunts and uncles. What a joyous way to start her life.

But, then I remember. There are so many children who don’t have a large loving family to shower them in this kind of love and it breaks my heart. I know it breaks your heart too and that’s why you have partnered with us to make life better for these dear ones.

I’m so proud of you and blessed that you love the orphans too. Last year, your love was expressed with generous donations. Your love dug a well for children and communities in India who didn’t have water. It’s hard to even understand what that would be like, and

you get that. Your love bought 100 orphans in India a bus so that as a family the kids can go on outings and be brought safely to school and back. Your love and generosity provided windows and concrete work toward finishing the dormitory for 80 orphans in Burundi. And your love sent funds to provide clean water for the 500 students, the orphans and the local villagers through a bored well. Your love repaired a dining hall roof in Cambodia and as we speak, a security wall and buildings are being repaired and painted. Your love provided screens for a girls orphan dormitory in Uganda. Your love allowed a special needs orphans group in Haiti get a bus to transport volunteers who provide medical, physical therapy and other necessary support for the orphans and families. You even loved the kids at Ashirvad in India enough to help them have their own library. There was a lot of love spread around the world for orphans last year because you cared so much!

Some of the work you funded is still in progress. I expect to get photo updates of the security wall in Cambodia and the bus is expected to arrive in Haiti in early May. The bored well company in Burundi will soon begin its work to provide the children at the school much needed fresh water for their sustenance and I will update with photos and stories.

images-duckduckgo-comThis year’s projects include a tractor and greenhouse in Tanzania and finishing raising funds for the dormitory in Burundi.

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Other projects include remodeling the NPH- Guatemala special needs dormitory to make room for physical therapy rooms, a generator and well for a new family home for a special needs orphan in Haiti, an additional dormitory to separate the boys and girls at Serenity Homes for Angel of Mercy in Cameroon. There’s talk of a school for the kids in Ashirvad and other needs along the way.

There are so many ways for you to show your love again as the year goes on. Here’s  link for you if you want to help today!

clicktodonate

Thanks for caring and sharing!

windowinstall16What an amazing year we had in 2016 thanks to you. Best of all, our partners around the world and the children they serve have been blessed beyond measure because or YOU. I am touched so deeply because I feared the project requests in 2016 were almost insurmountable. But today I am overjoyed as many family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, even acquaintances were moved to help the children have safety, shelter and sustainability. In 2016 we exceeded the amount we set out to raise and got a start on other projects for 2017. I realize that we are all in this together-this desire to help orphans in need. That inspires me so much! I am filled with gratitude and motivated for 2017.

Last year donors contributed enough to send more than $80,000 to projects that serve orphans. More than $91,000 came in for projects and will be used as each donor designated. Thank you so much for your love for the orphans.

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How did this happen? YOU DID IT! So many longtime supporters continue to donate and gave more than ever to the needs of our partners as they provide safety, shelter and sustainability for orphans. I am so touched that so many continue to share the vision to help our partners care for the day to day needs of orphans in their care.

You rallied around our partners and helped replace a roof on a dining hall in Cambodia, buy not just one school bus, but two, one for Ashirvad in India and one for MyLifeSpeaks in Haiti. Both these bus projects mean the world to the kids. In Ashirvad, Raja and Sudha drive the bus with 100+ kids around as a family. They go to the beach, to school and on field trips as one very large family! In Haiti, volunteers, the life-blood of MylifeSpeaks, will use the bus to visit homes, take special needs orphans to medical appointments, training and more. The Ashirvad Children Home’s library is being finished off with tile on the floor and tables and chairs so kids can study and read in a comfortable quiet place. Soon we’ll be hearing about water in Burundi being accessible to the students, staff and surrounding community… and one day the orphans in the dormitory will be filled with laughing children. We have watched the windows and doors get installed on the dormitory and now we’re watching as the concrete is being poured for interior floors and walls. Step by step that dormitory will be completed. Just watch!

So, what’s next?

This year, the first quarter of 2017, we’re creating three small campaigns. One campaign will finish the dormitory in Burundi. We’ll need about $11,500. The next two projects are the tractor for $8,000 and a green house for $4,000 in Tanzania. images-duckduckgo-comThe campaigns, the Ty Tractor Campaign and Dylan Green House Project, will serve the JBFC Girls home in Tanzania. Agriculture is so important for sustainability in developing countries, and JBFC benefits greatly with their agricultural projects. Late last year, Ty and Dylan Irish, sons of Jeffrey Irish in Idaho, donated funds to the tractor and the Green House projects on our site.I feel compelled to get that tractor (8,000) and greenhouse ($4,000)  funded as soon as possible! You can help!

We’ll be reaching out to the rest of our partners shortly to learn of their needs in the coming year. We know one or more of their projects will tug on your heartstrings and we look forward to working with you to make life better for orphans all around the world.

Look out 2017… here we come!

 

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!

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Selfless, happy CDI board of directors and wives.

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

The concessions store in Guatemala.

The concessions store in Guatemala.

20150223_112415A 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.

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Built with proceeds from Safe Haven Holiday Boutique.

The Gulu Girl Fence.

The Gulu Girl Fence.

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.

300 Pounds of Love!

300 Pounds of Love!

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.

eating placeFrom Fridley MN to Ashirvad in India.

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!

New Things for 2015... A website and Logo.. Watch for it!

New Things for 2015…
A website and Logo..
Watch for it!

Happy Holidays!

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!

giveIf you so desire, and if you can, you can still donate online by clicking here. We appreciate any thoughtful gift!

 

Thank you and I wish you and yours all the best in 2015.

Jan

Your gifts of love help provide safe shelter for orphans.

Your gifts of love help provide safe shelter for orphans.

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.

The girls in Rwanda in the T Shirts donors sent along.

The girls in Rwanda in the T Shirts donors sent along.

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.

Send in a $50 or more donation online clicktodonate

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!

mittens   WP_20141103_007 WP_20141101_012

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

piechart2014I find it so  amazing that it’s been almost 7 years since I started raising awareness and funds for building projects to better serve orphans.

Because of donors and volunteers, we’ve funded more than one project a year in our quest to one day touch to 200 Orphanages. So, I guess to accomplish our goal, I’ll have to live a long time… or quadruple my efforts! But, as legacies go, this work is supposed to outlast me. My desire to build something that lasts on behalf of orphans remains strong. Little by little, step by step we’re touching the lives of orphans in need.

So, here I am, seven years later and because donors, supporters and volunteers are catching the vision we’ve raised funds to build  family style orphan homes, security walls, dig clean water wells,  outdoor kitchens, even a concession store for vocational training for disabled orphans and livestock buildings. We’ve touched orphans at various organizations in Rwanda, Cameroon, Tanzania, Uganda, India, Haiti and Guatemala.

Truth be told, I didn’t know what to expect when I started this work. I just knew I needed to quit talking about doing something for orphans and actually DO SOMETHING ALREADY!  I yearned to put feet to my faith, and make a direct impact in the lives of orphans and this is the result. It isn’t saving the world, it wasn’t intended to. As we say, we can’t do it all, but we can all do something.

We’ve touched the lives of orphans… and the work goes on.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA 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.

finishedlookangelofmercySo 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. IMG_3338The 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. IMG_0544All 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.

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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, Social Media Manager

Diana Ricketson, Social Media Manager

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

Dorie Lincoln, Web Designer

recent picture

Albert Hurt, Social Media Specialist

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!
Give Now

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.

 

 

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