Greetings from my Thanksgiving table to yours. I hope this note finds you warm and surrounded by those who bring you joy.
<< Looking back
This time of year is the season for reflection; for looking back on the past year to reflect on the experiences that have led to growth and progress. Here at EC, we have so much to be thankful for. We are grateful for the children whose lives we have been able to touch – and whose hearts have stolen ours. We are thankful for our many incredible supporters and donors who believe in EC’s mission to help the children of the world.
Looking forward >>
As we look back on this year, we also look forward to the coming year.
As we near the end of 2022, we are hoping to raise $35,000 through our Annual Appeal, which will allow EC to continue to grow and impact the lives of children in Kenya and India in 2023. It is through the donations of supporters that EC is able to do what we do. This holiday season, please consider giving to our Annual Appeal. Because of compassionate contributors just like you, we have already raised over one-third of the funds. Can you help us reach our goal?
If you have the means to do so, please consider donating to our cause. We accept donations via PayPal, credit card, and personal checks. For more information, please check out the donation page on our website. Additionally, EC is now able to accept donations via Venmo!
P.S. We’re excited to announce that after a three-year hiatus, EC’s Executive Director, Ruth Young, and I will be flying to Kenya in January 2023! We plan to meet with EC Kenya’s Board of Directors and several EC sponsored students. Stay tuned for updates on our upcoming trip!
The war in Ukraine has sparked a worldwide call to action. Thousands of people have answered the call.
Andrii Morohov is one of those people.
Armed with the lifelong mantra that children must always come first, Kharkiv-native Andrii founded the NGO Blagovist 2013 (meaning Good News in English) in 2013 to aid and support orphans as well as children from low-income families in and around the city of Kharkiv. Now, Andrii has focused his nonprofit’s efforts on helping children who have been impacted by the chaos of war. From children hiding in subway stations from bombs to young families who have had to leave everything behind and flee, Blagovist 2013 has been providing humanitarian aid and essentials to as many people as they can, including everything from diapers, clothing, and basic food items to sketchbooks, pencils and paint for children.
As Everyone’s Child continues to fundraise for Ukraine, we have been in awe of the work Andrii’s NGO has done and continues to do for the children of Ukraine. It is for this reason that we have selected his NGO as the beneficiary for all of the funds raised through EC’sCaring for the Children of Ukraine fundraiser.
With these funds, Blagovist 2013 will be able to support the following communities: 1) the children and families of the recently liberated Vilkhivsky community who have spent months living under occupation in basements; and 2) a large group of internally displaced people with young children who now live in the Valkovsky community in the Kharkiv region.
If you’ve had a chance to read EC’s September blog, you may remember reading about the “value added moment,” when a student named Gordon said that he wanted to raise funds to help orphans go to school. His enthusiasm was contagious – other students in the room that night said that they also wanted to find a way to raise funds for peers who struggle to pay their school fees. They had all been encouraged by the three girls at Harwood Union High School in Vermont who had raised funds for EC during their summer vacation.
Three ideas, two months, and one student
William Aludo, EC’s Program Coordinator in Kenya, recently held a brainstorming session with these students, asking them to lay out their ideas for raising funds. They came up with what I call a “3,2,1 plan”. Their proposal involved three ideas, two months and one student. Their three ideas were to sell milk and hardboiled eggs, make and sell homemade potato chips (a.k.a. french fries), and open a barber shop. They challenged themselves with spending the next two months raising funds. Their goal is to raise enough money to send one orphaned secondary student to school in 2020.
A lofty goal
This is a lofty goal for students who haven’t yet joined the work force, don’t receive a monthly allowance, or haven’t got a savings account to dip into. But I believe those blocks won’t deter them from reaching their objective. During the first weekend of November they began peeling and cooking potatoes, and by the day’s end had already begin to make sales! In an age where “peer to peer fundraising” is all the rage, these students are putting this concept to work!
During this season of giving and gratitude, my hope is that the passion these students have for helping their peers will encourage others to want to give. If you want to support an orphaned student next year, please click here to make a secure donation. Your gift will help a child go to school, and will also encourage these students who are trying to make a difference!
I believe that one of the best gifts we can leave our children is to teach them the “art of giving”, something that many of our supporters do every time they give.
The Art of Giving
During my years as an early childhood educator I looked for opportunities to teach children how to give. Like many preschool and elementary teachers of today, I tried to instill the concept of “otherness” in them – helping them to see how their actions affected others in their immediate world. I also introduced them to other cultures and places around the globe, letting them know about some of the challenges facing children in developing nations. There were positive impacts when parents and families supported these ideas and discussed them at home.
I saw the effects of this home-school connection before I left teaching in 2015 to become a full-time executive director of Everyone’s Child. Several years ago, Emily and Erica Dow, two sisters who had been my students decided to do a fundraiser for EC in their home. They asked me to come and talk about EC to whoever might show up, then invited their entire family and spent the day baking cookies and cakes for the event. It was a small gathering, maybe 8 – 10 people in all, but their enthusiasm was so infectious that they raised more than anyone had expected them to that evening. More important than the funds raised though was the fact that these girls were involved in learning the art of giving, a concept I knew their parents both strongly supported. Their mom even came to Kenya on an EC School Tour seven years later!
Many of the children I taught have stayed in touch with me over the years, and I’ve even had the privilege of traveling to Kenya with former students. Earlier this week I received a letter with a donation from two brothers who were prior preschool students of mine. The younger one—now a 3rd grader—wrote the letter. I checked with their mom, who told me it was fine to share their note and their photos online, so I’ve attached these below:
(And now for) The Translation
Dear Sr. Routh (sic) Michael and I, (Connor) are donating $57.27 to you and your orfanige (sic). This is some of Michael and mines leftover money that we each bought something with. We wanted to ask you if you had any technoligy (sic) needs. Please write back.
Sincerely, Connor and Michael
Needless to say, I was completely overwhelmed and so proud of them for this unsolicited gift. I was also once more convinced that a child’s heart knows how to give.
The Heart of Giving
A giving heart begins in the home. These boys belong to a family that serves in our military, so they are familiar with the meaning of sacrifice and helping others. I would say it shows, and in spades!
It’s Better to Give
During my childhood, my mom was forever tossing out wise sayings, one of her favorites being “It’s better to give than to receive”. She was right, of course, and for our family of seven that was an important concept to grasp. As a child it took me a while to learn that I always felt more alive when I gave. Today I am so grateful to those who taught me that as the giver, I wind up receiving the greater gift.
I know that those who support EC understand the art of giving, something for which I am deeply grateful. I want to thank each of you for your constant support, and for sharing with those who are following in your footsteps the importance of learning how to give. If you would like to join forces with those who contribute to Everyone’s Child on an annual, monthly or one-time basis, please click here to make a secure donation. I promise you that the benefits you will reap from having a giving heart will far surpass the challenges you face each day.
We have seen some great beginnings for EC in 2019! Our 2018 Annual Appeal more than doubled from last year’s appeal, making us wonder what could be in store for the months ahead. It didn’t take long to find out. Early in January we received a request from Pastor Kishor Senepati, one of our contacts in northern India. He and his wife Mary were asking for help with the children of Orissa, where we provided funds for a well last year.
Although it is in northern India, Orissa is a tropical region, lying just south of the Tropic of Cancer. Temperatures in that region typically range between 80 – 110 degrees F, so even 60 F feels cold. This past month, nighttime temperatures in Orissa have been as low as 40 F, which is much colder than usual. We were told that the children in the village didn’t own any warm clothing, and they were beginning to get sick. Thanks to our generous supporters, in mid January we were able to wire funds for over 200 sweaters for these children. EC also teamed up with Juniper’s Fare Catering of Waterbury, VT to provide funds for a meal. Having something warm to wear is a good reason to celebrate!
A Change of Heart
Witnessing a change of heart is a reason to celebrate also. Two weeks after wiring the funds we discovered that the money had not yet been received in India. This meant that the children still didn’t have their much needed sweaters. Pastor Kishor told me that shop owners don’t usually let their goods out on credit. I believe in the power of prayer, and immediately began to pray for a change in this shopkeeper’s heart. A day later, I received a text telling me that this man had agreed to allow the sweaters to be purchased on credit! Now my prayer is that he and his business will be greatly blessed.
Making Life Easier
In the coming year EC will continue to feed and provide education for orphaned and vulnerable children in Kenya. We are also excited to be branching out into new areas. It is a blessing to make life easier for vulnerable children, no matter where they live.
To our faithful donors, we want to thank you for these great beginnings. Your partnership makes this work possible. If you would like to begin this new year by joining us in our efforts, please click here to make a secure donation today. Or feel free to contact us at email@example.com. We’d love to hear from you!
The end of the year is here and EC’s annual appeal has been sent out far and wide. So far the response has been tremendous! Our goal is to raise $25,000 by the end of 2018. As of this writing, our supporters have contributed over $14,000 in the space of one month. We are well on our way to meeting our goal!
A Year of Growth
I am amazed when I look back at all that has happened in 2018. This has been an expanding year for Everyone’s Child. With your help we have provided over 500 children with a daily meal in five different locations, given an education to 15 orphaned secondary students, and sponsored a Mentorship Program for orphaned and vulnerable teens. Together we also built Kateri’s Kitchen and dug a well for an impoverished village in northern India.
This year we saw the establishment of the EC Kenya Board of Directors, and welcomed Jedidah Kuria – a graduate of our sponsorship program to our Kenya staff. We received a grant from CBN allowing us to pay teachers at Miruya Primary School in western Kenya. Those of you who follow this monthly blog have seen the photos and read the stories. Hopefully, you’ve felt the hope and love that emanates from each posting.
It takes a lot of effort to build something – whether that “thing” is a physical building, a program, or a relationship. EC’s Board of Directors and I spend a lot of time planning, praying about and discussing the direction for this non-profit. I believe that the same can be said for those of you who support what we do. Your contributions are not something we take lightly, so it is with great heart and much gratitude that I offer my thanks to you in this season. We understand that there are many organizations doing wonderful things for children all over this world, which makes your support that much more meaningful to us.
During this season of giving
I am writing to ask you to please continue working alongside us as we serve the orphans and vulnerable children who are counting on us for their education and their future. If you have not already given, you can learn how to make your contribution by visiting our donate page.
All donations are tax-deductible, used for and appreciated by the children we support. With your help we will continue changing a generation through education.
A friend of mine has been feeding the hungry for more than a decade. Dyan Walker, also called Sr. Kateri as she belongs to a Franciscan lay order, has indirectly and directly been providing meals for hungry children in Kenya for many years.
A couple of weeks ago I asked Sr. Kateri how she happened to get involved with feeding needy children. She said that it all started in 2007 when she attended a church service where a missionary to Kenya was bringing a message about the work he was doing in that country. She was deeply affected by his stories of children in an area called Kampi Ya Moto – a name which translates to “Camp of Fire”. Needless to say, life was challenging in that region. Kampi Ya Moto is located in sub-Saharan Africa where daily temperatures reach high into the 80’s and 90’s and rainfall is scarce during most of the year. She learned that HIV/AIDS had claimed the lives of many adults in that area so most of the children were orphaned. Education was considered a luxury. A primary school was built in 2003, but prior to that there were no schools near their homes. Their excitement at finally being able to learn was beyond measure. However, in spite of their enthusiasm, they were fainting in class due to lack of food.
The Orphan Feeding Program
This missionary was reaching out to the church for help with an Orphan Feeding Program, allowing the children in Kampi Ya Moto to receive a daily meal.
Sr. Kateri was profoundly moved by his stories, so she began to pray for a way to help them. As a recent widow, her budget was limited, but it occurred to her to put aside $10 a week for the orphans. She began to do that, and continued to pray for their situation.
Then in May 2007, Sr. Kateri was gifted with the opportunity to travel to Kenya with a group of missionaries. The trip had a profound impact on her life. She vividly remembers the sights and sounds, the incredible wildlife, and most of all, the children.
In her visit to Kampi Ya Moto she had a chance to serve lunch to the school children, an experience that is still fresh in her heart and mind. She also remembered that “…there was a kitchen there but it was dilapidated and falling apart.” She returned home and began to tell her friends, co-workers, and anyone else who would listen about these children and their needs. Before long, there was an outpouring of donations for the Orphan Feeding Program, and the effort began to take on a life of its own.
Feeding the Hungry
Sr. Kateri’s passion for alleviating the suffering of these orphans in Kenya began to affect people throughout the USA and Canada. Funds continued to pour in, making it possible to address other needs as well. The kitchen she had seen during her trip was in need of repairs, and two other schools in Nakuru were asking for help with feeding orphans in their schools. Fr. Paul Stewart, her pastor of many years, told her: “The money you set aside also inspired others to give, so they were able to repair the kitchen and start the Orphan Feeding Program in two new locations.” Her prayers and continued concern and care for the orphans also led her to join EC’s Board of Directors, a position she held for several years.
Today the kitchen in Kampi Ya Moto is once again in a state of disrepair. Severe drought and extreme heat have taken their toll on this small tin, wattle and daub building. This summer, EC is raising $2,100 in order to build a structure that will withstand the climate and provide nutritional meals to these school children.
Upon completion, EC will be dedicating the new kitchen to Sr. Kateri. A plaque honoring her commitment to feed the children will be placed in this building, and in future kitchens also. Her legacy of giving to the least of them will continue to impact children for years to come.
If you are in a position to contribute to Kateri’s Kitchen, pleaseclick here to help us continue with our goal of feeding the hungry. Your gift will make a huge difference for the school children who rely on these meals to get them through the day.
As always, Asante Sana (Thank you very much) for your help!
Providing for needs is constant in life. We have basic needs that deal with our survival as humans: water, food, and shelter. Then there are less-essential needs, such as designer jeans, computers and dirt bikes. What you have been blessed with in life defines your perspective on your own personal sense of needs and provision for those needs.
A relative of mine recently decided to give a recurring donation to Everyone’s Child. I asked where the donation should be directed, and received the most amazing response, copied below:
“My goal was to donate enough to bring water to a school in a year…I went online to learn more and saw the need for water. It was something on my bucket list that has not been fulfilled. Here is my bucket list:
I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat:
I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink:
I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
Naked, and ye clothed me:
I was sick, and ye visited me:
I was in prison, and ye came unto me.”
I was in awe of my relatives’ ability to use Matthew 25:35-40 to identify a selfless list of objectives for life. These objectives were all about providing for needs. I wrote the following reply:
“Yours is a more than worthy bucket list. Thank you for sharing it with me. As to your dream of bringing water to a school in a year’s time, we are always on the lookout for that need. After walking to that muddy river in Kampi Ya Moto, Kenya it has become my personal quest.”
I was thirsty
I went on to say that the EC Board of Directors had just recently decided to provide a hand pump to a ministry in northern India. I mentioned that this ministry is providing for the needs of 85 children, but they have been faced with tremendous persecution, making it very difficult to support these children. They had asked us for help with a hand pump, nutritional care and educational supplies, so our first effort was to provide them with a hand pump and repair their bore well. This pump and repaired well will hopefully prevent the sickness and disease they have all been dealing with from drinking dirty river water.
I ended my email by saying how glad I was to be able to participate in this bucket list, made only more meaningful by the fact that I was proud to be related to this special person.
Providing for Needs
Providing for needs includes the act of caring for and about others. Sometimes that act is a prayer, other times it involves an action or a financial gift. Here at Everyone’s Child we appreciate contributions of all kinds.
Love is the defining expression in my relative’s bucket list. Please click here to give to someone who will greatly appreciate your gift of love.
Frederick Buechner wrote “Purpose is the place where your deep gladness meets the world’s needs.” I couldn’t agree more. To the point where I will probably adopt his saying and add it to my email signature in days to come, because it strikes a chord in the recesses of my heart.
My deep gladness is most evident around this time of year, due in large part to EC’s Annual Appeal. You might be inclined to say that I’m happy to be bringing in the funds that support our programs, specifically the lunch program for the orphans and the sponsorship program for the orphaned secondary students. There is truth to that, but my overarching gladness comes with being able to connect with so many friends and family members whom I rarely see anymore.
Every November I send a letter out to EC supporters, telling them what has happened with the donations they sent throughout the year, and asking them to please consider contributing again so we can continue supporting the 300+ orphans who benefit from the daily school lunch program and the 10 – 15 secondary school students who we sponsor. I also tell donors about my aspirations for the coming year. This past November I shared the exciting news of the two new preschool buildings that our donors built in Lanet. I also wrote about the hope we have of bringing our mentoring program for high school orphaned students into new areas of Kenya with the help of our new Program Coordinator, William Aludo.
The responses have been arriving in my mailbox and via Paypal since the second week of November, usually accompanied by a smiley face, hand-drawn hearts or “xoxo”. Sometimes people have included a short note with their contribution telling me about their lives and families, and almost always they have something encouraging to say to keep us going. This year I wanted to share a few of the responses I have received from people who have a heart for what we are doing for the orphans in Kenya. I’ll use first names (or first letters) to maintain anonymity.
Adam: [My wife] and I would love to support Everyone’s Child! A cause that will always be close to my heart.
Carole: Keep up your wonderful work!
Alison: You can count on me for a donation prior to year-end. Thank you for explaining some of the costs as it gives me a better idea of how much I should donate. I’m so proud of you for spear heading such a great cause.
Cynthia: I’m planning to give a donation to your passion and am happy to help. I admire you for dedicating yourself to helping these kids. It must seem overwhelming at times but heartwarming to see the successes.
Ellie: Wonderful organization Ruth. I know your heart is with these children. My contribution will go out in the next week.
N: It is especially meaningful to me to help out your organization where I know the money goes directly to the kids!!!
Elizabeth: Keep up the great work for the children.
Catherine: I know it’s not much, but hopefully every bit counts! (Me: It definitely does!!)
Dave: So happy to support these children who can use our help.
Linda: Yes. I will donate now! Thank you, Ruthie!!
Carrie 😉 : Done!
Martha: What great work you do! Amen and thank you! We will continue to support what you do, so count on us!
Some people donated in the memory of a loved one. Here are two such cases:
One of my nieces: Aunt Ruthie, I am so proud to be your niece. The work your organization does is incredible! I opened your letter today and around the holiday season, donating in the name of others to such a wonderful program is a very special gift for everyone involved!
Connie: Heidi was a dynamic, caring person. As her friend you must really feel her loss. Even those who didn’t know her well feel sad and depleted. She is missed but she lives on in love – and in your work for others.
So there it is, an example of why I have such deep gladness in my heart. In the past eight years I have found my purpose in the carving of this work, which has been nothing more than an opportunity to express my faith in God and in the seed that is sown in all of us to serve and care for those less fortunate than ourselves.
We are a little over halfway to our goal of $20,000.00 for this year’s Annual Appeal. The funds we raise help us to continue our orphan lunch program and our secondary school sponsorship program. Currently, it costs $30 per month per student to fund the orphan lunch program which is feeding between 250-300 students a day in three separate locations. The school sponsorship program costs between $250 – $400 per student per year, depending on the grade they are in. Next year we expect to be supporting between 8 – 10 students in Nakuru, and hope to be sponsoring additional students in new areas of Kenya as well. If you would like to donate to Everyone’s Child and help us reach our goal before the end of 2016, please click here.
I pray that you all have a wonderful and blessed holiday season. I look forward to talking and serving with all of you again in 2017.
There are so many reasons to care about what is going on in the world today. Caring is a key to living in a civilized society – it’s the part of us that makes us human. Our society is becoming increasingly self-centered and narcissistic, owing in large part to the ability for all of us to record and share every aspect of our daily lives with the rest of the world, hoping that someone out there will care enough to notice us. The result of this self-absorption is an endless hole of self-dissatisfaction. I see that the only way out of this void is to give. There is a certain freedom that comes from giving, from caring enough to see beyond our own needs to recognize the needs of another.
Current data shows us that nearly half of the children in the world live in poverty, 22,000 children die daily due to lack of basic needs, and at least 15 million children are orphaned due to HIV/AIDS. I find these numbers too overwhelming to even think about, so I tuck them away in my head and go about the day, ensuring that my family is clothed and fed and educated. I am thankful, so thankful to live in a country that is free and full of opportunity, yet I still struggle with the question of how I am able to meet my needs and those of my family, when almost half the world lives on less than $2.50 a day.
In A Testament to Freedom, Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes the following:
“What if, precisely at the moment when we are thanking God for God’s goodness towards us, there is a ring at the door…and we find someone standing there who would also like to thank God for some small gift, but to whom such a gift has been denied and who is starving with starving children and who will go to bed in bitterness? What becomes of our grace in such moments? Will we really feel like saying that God is merciful to us and angry with them, or that the fact that we still have something to eat proves that we have won a special position of favor in God’s sight, that God feeds the favorite children and lets the unworthy go hungry? May the merciful God protect us from the temptation of such gratitude. May God lead us to a true understanding of God’s goodness…If we want to understand God’s goodness in God’s gifts, then we must think of them as a responsibility we bear for our brothers and sisters. Let none say: God has blessed us with money and possessions, and then live as if they and their God were alone in the world. For the time will come when they realize that they have been worshiping the idols of their good fortune and selfishness. Possessions are not God’s blessing and goodness, but the opportunities of service which God entrusts to us.”
Everyone’s Child was formed to address this very idea, that we are all responsible for the children in our world who could do with, as they say in Kenya, a “leg up” just to enjoy something as necessary as a daily meal or as basic as an education. I encourage everyone who feels this inconsistency, this imbalance in life, to do whatever it is within their power to give to someone who needs a leg up, whether it’s a financial donation, a note of gratitude or support, or the gift of your time. You’ll never regret dropping that stone into the pond and watching how far the ripples go.