Saturday, April 26, 2008

Coming Soon -- Mother's Day!

Mother's Day is always a little bittersweet for me. I love having a perfect excuse to spend the entire day with my kids. We go for hikes, go out to eat, long as we don't have to think about anything else but having fun as a family. In this busy world of school, work, sports, and so many other activities, it's great to be able to take a day and just hang out together with no other obligations.

But Mother's Day also makes me think of those kids who don't have a mom, or kids whose families just aren't able to give their kids what they need. These are the kids who need to be able to "borrow" our moms for a day. These children need us to allow our moms to give them a home, and education, or food for the day.
This Mother's Day, please consider donating to help another child in honor of your mom. Put your mom's name on a brick at Angel Covers and let those children see how much she cares for kids around the world. Sponsor a child at Humble Hearts, a Tibetan Minority Region school, or at our nutrition program in Huaibei, Anhui to provide kids with the warmth, nutrition, and education you mom provides you. Give a blanket to a child around the world so he/she has something to snuggle with as you did as a child. Any time a donation is made in honor of your mother, a card will be sent telling her of your generosity.

You can also purchase mom cooking aprons, blankets, notecards, or sweatshirts. All of these products support children around the world and let your mom know that you appreciate all she has done.

There's a saying that says imitation is the best form of flattery. Help us imitate a mother's love through your gifts to her. By helping kids around the world this Mother's Day, you will be letting you mom know what a great job she does.

Friday, April 18, 2008

April Break

Just want to share a photo and a bit of news from yesterday at Humble Hearts, where the kids are preparing to go on their April break from school.

Things have been unsettled in the city this week, with threats to stop all transportation in the Eastlands area again today by a gang making demands of the government. As often is the case, it is the people on the edges who suffer, especially since the police were unprepared and slow to respond. The gang shut down businesses and stopped buses and matatus since Monday, making travel to and from town from Eastlands slow--by foot--or not possible at all. Everyone at school and Angel Cottage remained safe through it all.

Buses and matatus were up and running yesterday, and the school had called parents and guardians of the deaf children who live at Angel Cottage to come and pick them up so they could safely travel home in case things got worse today, as rumored they would.

It's one thing to look forward to a school break; quite another to long for a break from constant, unpredictable insecurity.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Food in all forms

In December when Angel Covers was awarded a grant from the Vista Hermosa Foundation to expand the lunch program at Humble Hearts, we were thrilled. Previous to this, only the sponsored children and 40 lucky others were given lunch each day. The remaining 100 children weren't always able to bring lunch to school, and frequently went hungry.

Part of this grant included providing the children with a nutritional supplement. Enough funds were received to give the children extra food once a week. For these children, it was like winning the lottery. Although we tried to get many different supplements to the children, we finally decided to purchase Ensure and give the children a cup a week. Each 8 oz. cup is packed full of vitamins and minerals, not to mention all the extra calories they need to make it through the day.

We are working hard applying for additional grants so the children will be able to have a glass of Ensure each day, and we can mix it with milk instead of water to boost the nutritional and caloric value.

Our tummies feeling full is a normal occurrence. To these children, it's like a present each and every day.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Field Trips

Last week my second graders went on a field trip with their classes to learn more about butterflies, various sea creatures, and insects. They sat in a very nice classroom and got to pick up Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches (yuck), hold a tarantula, and try to coax butterflies into landing on their shirts. Most of the kids had been to this facility before, and although they had a great time, this was the third of four field trips this year and none of the kids found it surprising to be there.

Children at Humble Hearts on the other hand, took a field trip into downtown Nairobi. Completely different from the slums in which they live, these children might as well have traveled to a foreign country. Most of the kids had never been to the "City Centre" or had the opportunity to learn about their country's history. They toured the parliament buildings, took boat rides at the Uhuru gardens, visited the bomb blast area by the American Embassy, and had their faces painted. Everyone was exhausted by the end of the day.

Seeing pictures from this has yet again pointed out to me how easy it is to take something as simple as a field trip for granted. Learning it not only a classroom event. Seeing and touching real monuments, memorials, and ecosystems is a huge part of learning that these children generally don't get to experience. But because of a generous Christmas gift from a sponsor, the children of Humble Hearts were able to go visit real objects they had only heard about in books.

Thanks to those who made this memorable trip a reality for these kids. They will be talking about it for many months.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Toys, Toys, and more Toys

A wonderful donation arrived today. One thousand, five hundred, and seventy-five pounds of baby equipment! Boxes and boxes were stacked on palates, some taller than 8 feet high with rattles, play gyms, bath toys, stools, potties, swings, and so many other brand new necessities for babies.

A huge THANK YOU goes to the Kids II baby company for donating all of these great items. Babies in the Ukraine will have the joy of seeing these toys arrive hopefully this summer. We are planning to send a container shipment to Ukraine, which will include hundreds of baby bouncers, clothing, blankets, and shoes. Volunteers will meet the container and distribute the supplies to orphanages throughout Ukraine.

If you are interested in donating gently used clothing, or shoes we would love to have your donation. Please be sure the items have no holes, and are in very good condition. We will also be holding a "battery drive" so all of these great baby toys make noise for a long time to come, and a "blanket drive" so all of the children are warm next winter.

We'll keep you posted on this great project!