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My Mom, myself and siblings in the 60s.

It’s almost Mother’s Day and truth be told, I’ve celebrated my share. This year, two of my daughters and I are taking a few hours to have lunch and browse the shops.

Long gone are the days when my kids bring me crafts from school. Two of my four daughters were born on or around Mother’s Day which made those days extra special. We’ve celebrated Mother’s Days and birthdays for years and now they’re mothers themselves and have their own Mother’s Day celebrations. So for me, Mother’s Day has come full circle.

Still, I celebrate being a Mom, but also honor my Mom, and my Grandmothers all who have passed on. It’s amazing the void I feel with them gone, especially when online florists remind me to buy flowers for them, even after all these years. But, the richness of their love for me remains, and today, instead of buying flowers from a florist, I plant flowers in my garden for them each spring. Having a memorial garden for them has been therapeutic and well, beautiful. I especially like my moonlight gardens where all the flowers are white Shasta Daisies, my Mom’s favorite flower.

And while I dig, water and plant the day away, I consider the work we do for the orphan. Most orphans are abandoned, or neglected, it makes me ever grateful that at least for most of my life I had a mother and grandmothers to love me, and care for me. Doing something for the orphan who is alone in this world helps me remember my Mom, and good fortune I’ve had.

So, the Mother’s Day Campaign for 200 Orphanages Worldwide is underway until June and it’s my hope that many will participate by donating. The campaign’s donations are applied to renovations of a home for 10 children in Kenya. Last year, we raised enough to help complete the renovation of another one of their homes. Now, that home is filled with happy, healthy children thanks to our donors.

This work makes me happy everyday, but especially on Mother’s Day!

If you want to donate or participate in caring for orphans in honor of your Mom, or a special woman in your life, Click The Button below.

Have a Blessed Mother’s Day and Remember the Orphan on her behalf!

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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nicoleandjordannimaSometimes it just takes one person to make a difference. We always say, “We Can’t Do It All, But We Can All Do Something.”

In the case of raising awareness and funds for Ashirvad Children’s Home in India, one person who started the ball rolling is Nicole Hanson, my niece in law. Nicole’s simple act of sharing a Facebook post started the ball rolling that would ultimately touch more than 100 orphans and vulnerable children in Ashirvad Children’s Home in India.

Nicole loves our cause and how we help orphans in need. When she learned that her husband Jordan was participating in our Golf 4 Orphan event a few years ago, she shared the event on her Facebook page. She was especially excited about the event when she learned we were raising funds for an orphan home in India. It touched her deeply.

Nicole’s passion for India’s vulnerable children is personal. She was born in India and as a small child, she was taken into an orphanage and then adopted by her family in Minnesota. She grew up in the U.S. and had the benefits of a strong loving family and  friends. When she met my nephew in high school, they fell in love and were married.

Because Nicole shared our event, her aunt, Kim Anderson, who also loves helping orphans became aware of 200 Orphanages. When Kim read Nicole’s post, she asked about us and the rest is history. Over the past two years, Kim and her husband Dan have built amazing teams and accomplished successful fund raising events with proceeds going to complete a dining hall,  a library, a steam kitchen and this year funds were raised to buy a school bus.

This past week, Kim and Dan hosted Ashirvad Directors and Founders Raja and Sudha Sekhar in their home. It was their first time in the U.S., made possible by a generous donor. The couple was able to meet some of the people in Minnesota who participated in helping them help their children.

 

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Nicole, Jordan and their lovely newborn baby Nima Rae were at the gathering. They were able to hear stories from Raja of how great an impact the fundraisers have made by perfect strangers far away. I was reminded as we shared a meal over stories that night at Kim and Dan’s how something seemingly small and inconsequential to us can make the world of difference to someone in need. By individuals like Nicole, Kim and countless others, doing what they can, we are able to help partners around the world provide orphans with safety, shelter and sustainability.

I can’t help but wonder, as Nicole sees the photos of the kids at Ashirvad flash across the screen, if she doesn’t somehow see herself and say a prayer of thanksgiving. I can see in their faces that she and Jordan are filled with gratitude, even Pure Joy as they enjoy their daughter surrounding her with a loving family and friends as well as loving souls from abroad.

Thank you Nicole for your heart to help the orphans. Thanks you everyone.

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!

fredscrew

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.

 

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.

 

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.

loveattention

 

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!

 

DSC_2314 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 DSC_2326Guatemalan 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!

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