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20191117_071834.jpgI feel full already. Not only with the anticipation of lots of turkey, but with a sense of joy, as well.

My Thanksgiving table will have 20 guests, family and friends of all ages… from 6 months to 65. Food will be abundant and laughter too. I am looking forward to full holiday and feeling so grateful. I have so much to be thankful for.

200 Orphanages is closing out the month of November and I am full of joy as I reflect on the impact our donors have made. To finish out the year, after funding more than $100,000 in projects in India, Haiti and Tanzania in 2019, we just received a video from Songea Tanzania showing water spraying out from the well donors are providing. We got a great update from our other partner, Mainsprings, Tanzania and many of the projects are on their way. The projects in India are moving forward and we’re following the updates in Mexico, too. So, yes… I am full of joy.

VID-20191127-WA0000 from Jan Marie on Vimeo.

This video represents a milestone: Clean and Accessible water for 400 children, staff and the local community of St. Teresa’s Orphan Foundation in Tanzania. It’s little by little, step by step this creating foundations so children can live full and productive lives. Clean water is part of that, as are the other projects providing safety, shelter and sustainability. This is how it was this year.

20190425_171537Over and over again, as we made you, our supporters, aware of the needs of the orphans… you took action. SO MANY OF YOU SAID YES! We asked for help and volunteers help with letter writing campaigns, silent auctions, fundraisers, donations and more! It’s because, as I suspected, you want to help orphans as much as I do. I am doing my part by finding credible projects and individuals like you are the key to making them happen. We’re together in this business of impacting and changing lives.

Over the year, there were PartiesWithPurpose organized, fundraisers for two clean water wells, and Facebook fundraising campaigns. There was even a lemonade stand set up to raise funds by a little boy in my little town of Duvall Washington who wanted to help orphans.

The best part is many people were able to learn about what we do and the projects that can help needy kids have better lives. These are seeds sown. And now we wait for the harvest!

Our strategies for 2020 will be to dig deeper, reach wider. We’ll march on, sow our seeds, all to make sure the children in good time, will have their basic needs met. Jh

You Make All The Difference In The World.

Happy Thanksgiving, to you and yours.

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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!

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!

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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

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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.

 

 

TaNZANIA CHICKENSYes, that’s a chicken and a very happy girl.

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 001sustainable 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!

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We Can’t Do it all, but we can all do something!

 

handactsharegiveDo you have room in your heart for one more?

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!

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1st Blog for January 2024…. no, that’s not a typo. Even though 2024 sounds light years away, it’s only 10 short years into the future. The goal setter, the visionary, the strategist in me likes to wonder out and just look around a bit.

And, so… in 2024, I’ll be 10 years older. It’s not as horrible as it sounds if I am still healthy and strong. By 2024, 200 Orphanages will be 16 years old, providing safe shelter for more orphans. Setting a course to 2024, my goal is to make the minutes count, all 5,256,000 of them.

To that end, a few weeks ago, I created “My Life in Pie Charts” as a tool to manage my timtimeallocationse and priorities. I have to say the Pie Charts took on a life of their own and my daughter was not impressed. She marveled (out loud) that I had time to create them in the first place. She has four small children, is starting her own business and still finds time to mock me. How does she do it! She’s always been an over achiever. Be that as it may, my life in pie charts is one way I organize and prioritize my time and efforts.

Today, my pie charts are on a white board in front of me as I work. I admit, it adds a bit of stress, like an unrelenting boss, but I always remind myself they are just a guide.  As you can see, when optimizing my personal time, 10% is spent on mental and physical health (I’ll be breaking here in a few to go for a walk). Also, if I follow my Pie Charts, I participate (30%) in our 12+ grandkids’ lives as they travel through teens and into early adulthood.  (Later today, I’mylifeinpiechartsm going to a soccer game featuring a grandson.) I give 30% of my time to the orphan work. (I just prepared this blog, but also sent out an email blast for our Spring Fever 5K this morning and need to make a phone call or two) So, by 2024, my vision is that 200 Orphanages will have more than 20 orphan homes built along with 30 infrastructure projects.  So, I say who has time NOT to have a pie chart?

Granted, I only have a blurry glimpse of 2024, but I know it’s out there and it’s gaining on me! So, I have a plan. In saying that, I fully expect the present to be filled with achievement and celebrations. In 2014, we will have two orphan homes built and are taking on new partners. In my personal life we’ll celebrate life as my parents’ turn 80, my husband and sister turn 60, and my marriage turns 40…. You’d think that the present would be enough to fill my mind, but no, I’m off making pie charts and looking into the future!

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