As the executive director of an organization that helps children in Africa, I am always happy to have children in other parts of the world work side by side with us. We’ve been so blessed to count on children of all ages as supporters of the work we do and today, they are on the forefront of my mind.
I look back to the first time we hosted children from New Covenant Christian School – we had 6-year old children riding around on tricycles in the warehouse, eager to be given a bandage or a bag of diapers from people sorting medical supplies and they’d zoom to place their item in the correct box. They were quick and their memories baffled us all, as they were so fast and did such a great job! Now, those children are 6th graders and they return to help us from year to year. We so appreciate their hearts of wanting to help others.
The children who form Operations Day’s Work are a group that touches us deeply. ODW is formed by children from Newton Middle School (VT), Thetford Academy (VT), Springhill Elementary (AR), Archbishop Williams High (MA0, Quincy High (MA), Silver Lake Regional Middle School (MA), and Broad Meadows Middle School (MA). These are kids who have made it their mission to help children around the world. In 2012 ODW’s children raised $15,000 for AFCA’s children, which helped hundreds of children in Zimbabwe, as they received livestock, training, seeds, porridge, and hope. In 2014-2015, these kids did it again with a $10,000 grant! You know what is super neat? The participating schools not only help an international cause, but they also do wonderful acts of service in their own communities! And, not only that, but the kiddos are the ones who get to decide who their partner of the year will be. They research, they ask questions, they study, and they vote. This school year (2016-2017), these kids have selected AFCA again and this time around, they will be helping children in the Democratic Republic of Congo. So very, very exciting for us all!
New Market Middle School is another example of generosity. You can read more about what they have done for children in Zimbabwe here. Carlos and Wendy are joining AFCA’s multiplication center as part of our Kids4Kids project. From here, the goats, once they are pregnant, will be given to trained orphaned families (child or grandparent headed households) who are ready to receive them, with proper housing and food available for the animals. This type of program has proven to be successful in breaking the cycle of poverty and these children are helping another family to move towards a better future.
The children of Lebanon Catholic School are familiar with AFCA, as well. Raising money through Penny Wars meant that children in Africa could eat well and have the medicine they need. This school has donated desks and play areas for children who have been studying under mango trees and that has changed everything for them. Now, with desks and chairs, the children sit straighter, with more dignity and interest in what is put before them. I see a fire in so many of the kids we work with and they know that education is the thing that can change their lives. We love that LCS has partnered with AFCA to make this possible.
We look forward to a visit from the 7th, 8th, and 9th graders from Covenant Christian Academy who will be volunteering at our warehouse in late January, helping us prepare to ship out our next container of medical supplies bound to Uganda. They are ready to roll up their sleeves and get busy and we are thankful for their energy and dedication to help others, even in an unheated warehouse in the middle of winter in PA! We have prepared quite the list of things for them to do – unloading a truck of donated school desks from CCA, stage the supplies for the next container going out, roll bandages, sort medical supplies, create school kits for orphaned children, palettize sewing supplies for a tailoring school AFCA is setting up in Kenya this summer, insert batteries into 55 ear thermometers, etc. They will be busy!
As I type, I realize I could go on and on, as there are other schools that have shown kindness to the children whom we serve, including St. Joseph’s in MA through collection of school supplies and donations, American International School of Abuja (they are part of our Climb Up series of events), Lower Dauphin Middle School (PA) is coming up with solutions to issues we face in Africa and when their projects are complete, you’ll get to read about them here. Oh! It is just so good to remember all these children and their big hearts! Each of them has a special place in my own heart and I am so honored to work with them.