Thursday, December 30, 2010

Almost 2011?


It's hard to believe 2011 is just around the corner. We have been blessed throughout the year to see the lives of children changed in ways we could only imagine. The Humble Hearts School was bulldozed at the end of 2009 and the beginning of 2010 held so many challenges. Where would the school reopen? How many children were displaced and unable to return to school? How would the students learn without textbooks, desks, etc? While we knew the school began thriving after the move to the Angel Cottage sight, my trip to Humble Hearts in September, revealed that the school is even better than it was before the demolition. Bulldozing = blessing in disguise? Maybe.

Our Education Director had the joy of traveling to China to visit our foster care program in Huaibei as well as almost all of the Mama's Wish girls. She was also able to purchase yaks for numerous school in the Tibetan Region of China for extremely poor schools and the Tongren School, where most of the Mama's Wish girls attend high school. For some time, we have been hoping to be able to increase the nutritional level of the girls in the Mama's Wish program, but it's been difficult to figure out how to provided them with much needed extra nutrition while they are attending a school of hundreds of kids. Yaks were the perfect solution. Milk is now being provided to everyone in the school and the girls are getting the nutritional support they need.

While the goals met throughout 2010 are numerous, there are still many that are a work in progress. Sponsors are always needed for the foster care program and the nutrition program in Huaibei. Both of these programs are making a huge difference in the health and happiness of the children, but both need a significant influx of funds. Interested in helping one of the Mama's Wish students? We still have a few in need of sponsors. These sponsorships are $130 a year. Wouldn't it be amazing to be able to tell all the girls they have sponsors just in time for the new year?!!

Please join me in celebrating the successes of Angel Covers throughout 2010 and continuing to support our work as we ring in 2011. Your end of the year donation is 100% tax deductible and will change a child's life in ways that he/she can only dream.

Humbled,

Kari




Thursday, December 2, 2010

A Fantastic Day!



Today we learned some wonderful news! As you know, we've been working for the past two months to raise $10,000 for Humble Heart. If we were to raise this money, an anonymous donor would match it by 50% or $5,000. The Gifts From the World Auction was held, holiday cards are being sold, gift cards have been purcahsed, and donations have been pouring in. So far, Angel Covers has raised approximately $5,000!!

However, even more amazing news came today. Jane, with Angel Covers UK, has been working on a grant for Humble Hearts. Beds, textbooks, desks, and an underground water tank were are on the greatly needed list of items for the school. Today, we are thrilled to announce that the grant was awarded for $10,000!!! Now, when the kids return to school in January, they will have so many more of the basic necessities we take for granted.

The school is also in desperate need for additional income generating projects that will sustain the lunch program. A chicken project will soon start and we are hoping to have cows for milk and land to grow corn and beans. With the grant just awarded, funds already raised, and the matching donation, all of these are within reach.

Thank you to Jane and all her hard work on this grant, and to all of you who have contributed to this wonderful goal! You change lives each and every day.

Thrilled and grateful,

Kari





Saturday, November 13, 2010

Gifts From The World Auction



Today our annual Gifts From The World Auction began. More than 90 items from around the world are available for bidding. Items such as beautiful hand-made wine stoppers, blankets, clothing, and even a vacation home just to name a few will help us raise the $10,000 needed for Humble Hearts. While this auction can provide you with wonderful and unique items for yourself or others (are you thinking holiday gifts?), it will also provide daily necessities to the children of Humble Hearts.

Currently there is only one water tank at Humble Hearts. This water tank is way to small for the 140 children living there to have water to drink, as well as using it for cooking, cleaning, and showering. Every single dollar raised from this auction will be matched by 50% and one of the first purchases will be an underground water tank holding 30,000 liters of water. Then additional beds will be purchased so fewer children have to sleep on the floors.

Please, spread the word about this great auction and the enormous difference it will make in the lives of these precious children. Your bid is not only a bid for one of these beautiful items, it's a bid for a better life.
Kari
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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Recycle Halloween for a great cause!


Halloween is a fabulously fun holiday for children. The candy, the parties, the costumes – what a treat! The trick is that not every child is fortunate enough to share in the innocent fun of dress up and make believe. Wish as we might, we can’t take the joy of Halloween to orphaned children, but there is something you can do to help make their lives brighter.

Send us your costume! Angel Covers is hosting a Halloween Costume Drive. So, when you turn your calendar to November please gather your costumes and send them to:
Caroline – Angel Covers, 9420 E. Golf Links Rd., PMB #204, Tucson, AZ 85730.

We’ll gratefully accept all costumes – for babies, children, teens, and adults. They don’t need to be in perfect condition and don’t worry about the chocolate stains or minor wear, we still want them! Please ask friends, neighbors and co-workers for their costumes too. Costumes will be sold on eBay with proceeds benefitting Angel Covers and the foster care program in Huaibei, China.

Thank you!
Caroline

Monday, October 25, 2010

Meet Emilio


In late 2009, Emilio was only a few months old living in the Huaibei, SWI in China. He was in great pain and in need of surgery for intestinal atresia. Fortunately Emilio was able to have surgery and began putting on weight right away and in July we were able to place him in a loving foster home in Huaibei, Anhui. Emilio is simply thriving! Emilio is walking around his new home holding onto his foster mother’s hand and is able to stand on his own. He’ll be walking on his own soon for sure! He has favorite toys, and does a great job feeding himself table food. His foster mom is completely in love with him and describes Emilio as lovely, active, and even a little naughty. We think that sounds just about perfect for an eleven month old.

By the December 31, Angel Covers would like to raise $3,000 for kids just like Emilio. As I type this, there is another little boy just waiting for a foster home. He too has recovered from life-saving surgery, but funding is not available to provide him with a foster home just yet. As of today, $110 has been raised towards our goal of $3,000. We are thrilled to know that we are on our way to providing a home for even more deserving children like Emilio. Would you please send this email to all your friends and family? A donation of just $10 will quickly add up and make a life-changing difference for Emilio and so many others.

Always grateful for the support of so many,

Kari Fillmore


Monday, October 18, 2010

High School Kids in Need.


Humble Hearts School, in Nairobi, Kenya, for deaf and disadvantaged children, has truly become a beacon of hope for many families in its community. Persevering through the destruction of its original site, the entire school now thrives on the campus of Angel Cottage, on the east side of the city. Originally, Angel Cottage was built to be a home for deaf children in Nairobi that attended Humble Hearts. Some of the children are orphans, some simply needed a safe place to live where they were understood and could easily attend school. It has now become home to nearly all of the students, from nursery through high school. As the arduous task of commuting daily became an obstacle to continuing their education, the students now share triple bunks and floor space for their pallets, just in order to receive the blessing of regular nourishment and instruction.

Our growing concern is for the high school students who come from such excruciating poverty that the pressure to drop out and give up on their dreams is enormous. Limited jobs of any kind make it difficult for families to provide even one meal a day, let alone the expenses for their high school age children’s schooling. These teenagers feel great pressure to drop out and either fend for themselves or assist in the support of their families. Even given those tragic choices, the realities they face away from school don’t simply steal their dreams, they haunt their safety and future.

The cases of youth being used by drug lords to carry out their filthy tasks, for measly pay, are increasing daily. This danger increases when children stay home from school (to save money) without jobs. They become lured into drug peddling for the income, yet become users themselves and ultimately ruin their lives, in or out of prison.

The environment at Humble Hearts is generously, graciously conducive to their learning and thriving. Especially now that many students board (perhaps a providential blessing in disguise) there is no opportunity for considering or even knowing of the illicit and dangerous drug business activities. Mandated by the Kenyan government, Christian Religious Education encourages the development of strong moral character while their educational home nourishes them physically, academically and emotionally. After four final years of high school studies, students are stronger, brighter and far better equipped to meet the challenges of their future, whether they continue to university or become leaders of change in their communities and their country.

Please consider supporting these students, who need all of the attention, care, and sustenance we can gather. Go to http://angelcovers.org/humblehearts.html to learn how to participate. Check out http://www.causes.com/causes/16135 or http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/pages/Angel-Covers/182221079501 or write to sponsorship@angelcovers.org to put actions to your compassionate reactions and concerns. A simple sponsorship of twenty dollars, each month, is all that is required to begin to encourage and empower them with the boldness to dream of a better future.

Ida McManis

Humble Hearts Sponsorship Coordinator





Thursday, October 7, 2010

Bringing the joy of a family to orphans in China.


Angel Covers believes every child deserves a safe, loving home in which to learn and grown. The recent establishment of our foster care program not only provides children a loving home, but provides personal care most needed following surgery. In a partnership with Love Without Boundaries, children in the Huaibei, Anhui orphanage in China are given life-changing surgery and the first priority to a loving foster family once surgery is complete. Foster families provide individualized attention to these beautiful children following a very stressful time in their short lives. Personal care quickly meets the needs of these medically fragile children.

Prior to the child entering foster care, the new family is provided a crib, clothing, bottles, and other necessities for the baby. The family must also pass a health screening in order to ensure they are physically capable of caring for another child. Monthly, an Angel Covers’ monitor visits each family to ensure the home is safe, the children are meeting developmental millstones, and their medical condition is improving. Our dedicated monitor will return to the home more frequently if any questions or concerns arise. The monitor also ensures the children are made available for adoption, providing a forever family to kids such as Emillio who received surgery for a bowel obstruction, or Anton who was born with a cleft lip. Both of these children are now thriving in foster care.

Angel Covers has partnered with Facebook to raise $3,000 to fund the three children currently placed in loving foster homes. Costs such as monthly monitoring, health screenings, and start-up costs for beds, bottles and other necessities are on-going expenses necessary to ensure the safety and well-being of these great kids and others who will follow.

Can you please help us provide safe, loving homes for these very deserving children by going to our Facebook page and making a donation? No donation is too small. Every single dollar donated goes directly to the care of these medically fragile children. Please join us in showing Anton, Harrison, and Emillio how much you care.






Sunday, September 26, 2010

Returning home


It was really unfortunate that I wasn't able to blog from Kenya our last 2 days there. So many wonderful things happened. After the school was demolished in December, a lot of looting took place. Textbooks expecially were taken and sold on the black market. Previous to the demolishion, Humble Hearts had enough textbooks for every 2 students to share one set. While that certainly doesn't measure up to US standards, that is a wonderful ratio for Kenya. The children and teachers were thrilled. Sadly, after the demolishion, the ratios change to every 3-6 students sharing one set of text books. Because of a generous donation, we were able to replace enough textbooks that again every 2 students are sharing one set.

Another very generous donation of more than $500 was given while we were in Kenya. This donation in part was used to purchase food for the children of Humble Hearts. Enough flour, beans and rice were purchased to last almost 2 weeks. It's such a wonderful relief to know the staff doesn't have to worry about these items after we left. Both of these donations will be matched by 50% and many more wonderful things will soon be done at the school.

We were fortunate to be able to meet with Muscort, the director of the Dagoretti Youth Centre, during our trip. He is such a kind and gentle man with a huge heart for the children of his school. With very little outside support, the Dagoretti school struggles every day to pay teachers and provide supplies for the students. We were thrilled to be able to give him backpacks, pencils, pens, and money to pay the teachers a little something this month.

My daughter had a birthday party last night and received dozens of silly bands. It's amazing to me how popular these have become so quickly. Millions of dollars are being spent and stores are selling out of them as soon as shipments arrive. As I watched her excitiment in opening these, I couldn't help but think that if each of us simply donated the cost of a package of silly bands to the Humble Hearts school, the same joy would be brought to these children as was brought to my daughter and the amount needed to receive the full matching donation would quickly be raised.

Will you consider donating to Humble Hearts? Even a small amount, such as $5, will completely change a child's life.

We've begun posting pictures on Facebook of this great trip. Please look through them and see the amazing difference your support is making for these children. They may live half-way around the world, but the laugh the same, cry the same, and learn the same as our children. Your support of them is helping them every day to grow and flurish as our own children do.

Grateful beyond words,

Kari














Saturday, September 18, 2010

Saturday, a day of rest?

Saturday in Kenya really is considered a day of rest….well, technically. But as you drive around town and see as many cars as normal on the roads and all the people walking to and from jobs, you wonder when they really do rest. We were fortunate to take the day off from working and spend time at the local market. The market is always and interesting place and each year I find something new. While purchasing wonderful items of our auction and website, I couldn’t help but think about all of our great supporters who will likely see these things online and help the children with their generosity. It’s always amazing to me that a scarf or a gourd bowl can make such a difference in children’s lives.

We were honored today to finally get the chance to meet two young men Angel Covers has been supporting for some time. Charles is 21 years of age, and while I’ve had the joy of knowing him through others in Kenya and via email, we’ve never had the chance to meet until today. Angel Covers supported Charles through secondary school and is now supporting him in his dream to become a mechanical engineer. Charles attends the University of Nairobi and will begin his second of 5 years of study in October. His grades are high and his attitude is nothing but positive. He has big dreams of finishing college and getting his MBA as well. Charles is receiving a full scholarship for his tuition due to his hard work and dedication. Angel Covers is currently helping with costs of books, room and board, and living expenses. We are in desperate need of a sponsor for Charles, so if you’re interested, please contact me right away at kari@angelcovers.org

Julius is 29 years old and finished high school in 1998. Since then he’s been dreaming about being able to attend medical school and open a clinic in his home village of 15,000 people. Currently this clinic has no medical care available and villagers must walk more than 2 hours to the closest doctor. Julius has finished his 3 years of studies and is now almost completed a full year of internship. He loves working with children and is considering spending a week at Humble Hearts in October to help treat children there. Julius has 3 wonderful sponsors who have completely changed his life and the lives of those in his village. His eyes were teary when he talked about his sponsors, gave me individual gifts for them, and tried to thank us for everything given to him. He is a gentle man with a huge heart who feels he will never be able to repay his sponsors for all their support.

We were thrilled with Charles and Julius wanted to spend time with us at the Bomas of Kenya, seeing the show and the examples of traditional Kenyan villages. The dances are always beautiful and spending extra time with them was an unexpected bonus. After an exhausting day, it’s always nice to be back in our rooms relaxing, but even better to be able to see first-hand what a difference our work is making in people’s lives. Days don’t get much better than that.

Kari

Friday, September 17, 2010

As I write this, it’s Friday evening in Kenya and almost time for bed. So much has been done in the past 2 days it’s hard to describe it all. Thursday we once again worked all day; much painting was finished, even more pictures were taken, and information was gathered about costs of future projects. The wall, which will protect children from falling from the second floor classrooms to the first floor laundry and bathroom area, has begun being constructed. Stones were delivered and the process of shaping them (by hand) into the correct size began. The beds are taking shape and just seem to be looking for children to sleep in them.

With each passing day, the children are less and less shy and asking more and more to have their picture taken. As we are working, we see little hand waving at us from around the corner, or little giggles as they look and run away. Most of the items we brought have been given to the children also. So many are using new pencils and pens, and unfortunately even a few of the band-aids have already been used. The list of items we brought is very long but included are 149 water bottles, 59 backpacks, folders, hundreds of pencils, pens, colored pencils, and markers, rulers, vitamins (also passed out today) soccer balls, graphing calculators, scientific calculators, loads of first-aid supplies, clothing, glasses, hygiene items and of course toys. This is by no means a complete list of all that was brought, but it gives you a better idea why it can take hours to distribute everything when close to 230 pounds of donations were brought.

Today, there was less work and more fun. While we did work on a new Humble Hearts Database today, and had a session with the teachers about new ideas for teaching math, we also were able to have lots of fun with all of the kids. Angel Covers hired circus performers to come to the school and perform a magic show, acrobatics, and a comedy show for the children. To here almost 140 kids in the same room laughing uncontrollably was completely heart-warming. Most of the children had never seen acts such as these and watching their faces light up could not have been more fun for us. Additionally, we were treated to seventh graders and high school girls performing for us at the end of the day. We were thrilled to also be able to honor the teachers and staff at the school with a pendant that says “Humble Hearts Giving the Deaf a Voice”. The teachers and staff of Humble Hearts work day and night to provide for these children and deserve any small amount of recognition we can give them.

Tomorrow we will take the day off from Humble Hearts and go to the market place to purchase items for this years’ Gift From The World auction, coming in November. We will also have the joy of meeting with Charles, a young man Angel Covers is sending to University, and Julius, a young man attending nursing school and sponsored by three dedicated Angel Covers supporters.

Sadly, loading pictures has not been possible given the internet connection speeds here, but I promise many will be available when we return to the US. Until then, know your support is giving these children a wonderful education and the hope of a brighter future.

Kari

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Thursday Sept. 16 in Kenya

Yesterday was a very busy day at Humble Hearts. After coming to the school, painting and picture taking quickly began. With so many new classrooms there is painting that is needed everywhere. Purple is the school color at Humble Hearts, so the top of the outside tin walls was painted light purple and the bottom was painted a darker purple. Today a very dark purple stripe will be painted down the middle. Even without the strip, the outsides of the classrooms look so much more cheerful! No more can you see shiny metal or rust. Instead, the outside walls are beautiful purple for everyone to see.

Rock, sand, cement, and iron also arrived yesterday. The new concrete wall to protect the children from falling from the second floor to the first floor shower area is very important and construction began today. Construction on the new beds also began today. This will be a huge blessing for so many children sleeping on the cold, hard concrete floor. While they have mattresses, they are simply foam and don’t protect the children well from the hard cold floors.

We also began taking pictures of the sponsored kids yesterday and almost finished today. The children are always so excited to see us and especially to have their pictures taken. Generally, the only time the children of Humble Hearts is when I come so seeing themselves on camera is a special treat.

We were also treated to a special treat last night. Dinner at Beatrice’s mother’s home is always a wonderful experience in Kenyan food. Dinner of chicken stew, chapatti, ugali, mokimo, and beef. Sitting in her living room talking about the differences and similarities in cultures is always a wonderful experience and we are so grateful for her hospitality.

Tonight we have the opportunity to meet with 2 people who want to start a math club as well as start an accounting program at Humble Hearts. It’s exciting to have these conversations and hope that we are able to work out the details for the children.

Tomorrow will also be a full day as we hire circus performers for the children, get to enjoy their performances from the national competition, and buy food for the school. Updates will come again soon. In the meantime, thank you all for your continued support!!!

Kari

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Day 1 1/2

Yes, that’s a strange title, but since I tried to post a blog about yesterday earlier and it didn’t work and we are now most of the way through day 2, it seemed appropriate.

Yesterday we started off our time here by going to the old sight of Humble Hearts. It was incredibly sad to see where Humble Hearts once stood and know that so many families lost so much. There are now much fewer businesses and home in the area and countless lives have been effected for, what seems like, no reason at all. The pipeline (the apparent cause of the bulldozing) has never been put in and some families have rebuilt.

On the other hand, seeing the new Angel Cottage completed was truly uplifting. I had tears in my eyes when I saw the beautiful walls full of names of so many who cared so greatly about this project. To see the children running through the buildings knowing they are safe from cars, the train, or other dangers was heart-warming. Hearing that the high school children are now able to study after dark because they have electricity gives us all hope that they will be able to break the cycle of poverty they were born into.

Moving Humble Hearts to the Angel Cottage sight was a difficult decision but I know it was the right one. Sadly, the population of the school has dropped as too many children aren’t able to make the 25 min. drive to the new location. Fortunately though, because Angel Cottage is so large, many of the children have moved into the new home and are continuing to attend school. Each of the 38 deaf children have his/her own bed, while some of the hearing children are either sleeping 2 per bed or are sleeping on the floor. Sadly, most of the textbooks were lost in the demolition, so rather than 2 children sharing one set of textbooks, there are now 3-6 children sharing one set. While the school has come very far in the last 9 months, there is still a long way to go.

Just before leaving for Kenya, I announced that we were once again honored with a matching donation opportunity for Humble Hearts. We need to raise $10,000, which will then be matched by 50% with $5,000. As I was preparing to leave, we received a wonderful donation of $500 for Humble Hearts, which because of the match, has now turned in to $750. With this $750 we have already started making 4 new 3 bunk beds and building a wall on the second floor of the dorms so the children don’t fall into the girls’ shower area.

Please consider making a donation to these great kids! Just go to www.angelcovers.org/donation.html and know that your donation will automatically increase by 50%. Unfortunately I’m having a difficult time posting pictures, but I will keep trying. The kids are so beautiful and so is the school. Your support throughout the years has changed their lives. You have given them hope of a better future.
So very grateful in Kenya!

Kari

Friday, September 10, 2010

Just 2 more days

In just 2 short days, I'll be boarding a plane for the long trip to Kenya. This is my 5th trip, so the excitement of traveling to Africa and the concerns about being in a 3rd world country have worn off. But, the excitement of seeing the children of Humble Hearts never goes away. There have been major changes in the school in the past year; Angel Cottage was completed, Humble Hearts was tragically bull-dozed, and the entire school was moved to the sight of Angel Cottage. While I've seen hundreds of pictures, seeing all the changes in person will not only be exciting, but I'm sure will also show me the continued positive spirit of all of the teachers and students at this wonderful school.

Once again this year, we have been given an amazing opportunity. An anonymous donor has once again agreed to match any and all donations for Humble Hearts and Angel Cottage by 50% up to $10,000 in donations. This exciting news came just days after I learned that a new home was opened for the children who now live too far from Humble Hearts to travel each day. Sadly I also learned that these children are sleeping on the hard concrete floor of this home. Funds weren't available to purchase items needed for the house, but the children wanted to attend school so badly, they agreed to live with nothing in order to go to school.

While I'm in Kenya, I'll be posting many blogs and pictures describing our work. As you read these descriptions and see the pictures, please remember this matching donation opportunity. Please remember that children are sleeping on concrete in their clothes, without blankets or pillows. Please remember to order your holiday cards made by these hard-working children, because profits from these cards will also be matched.

It has been an honor to be so deeply involved in the Humble Hearts School for the past 6 years. The changes we have seen in the lives of the children have been extraordinary. Thank you for your help showing these children their potential.

Continuously Grateful,

Kari

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Mama's Wish - Back To School

As I sent my kids off to their first day of school this morning, I couldn't help thinking of all our Mama's Wish students who are also returning to school. For each of these girls the simple act of going to school is truly a dream come true and would not be possible without the generous support from their sponsors. I am so proud of all of our Mama's Wish students and how far they have come. But my thoughts also turn to all the girls in the very remote, impoverished villages of QingHai province that may never get this opportunity, and how different their futures will be.

"Without your help, it wouldn't be possible to attend school. The only options I would have were to do labor at home or be married out. I am most grateful to you for you have changed my destiny. Thank you for your kind heart." ~Nan

For as little as $11 a month ($130 yr) you too can sponsor a Mama's Wish student and give her the opportunity to attend high school. We have many new girls that currently need sponsors and I'd love to match them ASAP so they too will have the chance to attend school. As a sponsor you will receive letters and photos from your student and have the opportunity to write back to her if you'd like.

As you send your kids back to school, please take moment to consider giving one of these bright girls this same precious opportunity.

"Wishing you every day happy!"

Karen MacNair
Mama's Wish Sponsorship Coordinator
karen@angelcovers.org
http://www.angelcovers.org/mamawish.html




Thursday, July 29, 2010

Foster care


When you imagine a child who is recovering from surgery, what do you see? For many people, we envision a child in a clean, safe environment, with one, or maybe two parents who stay no more than an arm’s length away, ready to spring into action at the first sign of discomfort or want. In my “day job” as mom to three young children, I’ve lovingly attended to my kids through a total of five surgeries, the most recent being my seven year-old’s tonsillectomy and ear tube placement two weeks ago. Each time, I’ve stocked our kitchen with tasty post-surgery foods and drinks, made plans for our other children to keep them happily busy at a friend or relative’s house, and had several consultations with the doctors regarding pre- and post-surgery care. I’ve made sure prescriptions are ready to go and follow-up appointments are scheduled. Most importantly, I’ve been here, ready to give one-on-one attention to my child for as long as he/she needs it. It is not always easy—spending these past two weeks of 95+ degree weather helping my son heal has not exactly lived up to our dreams for summer vacation around here. But, there is no way I wouldn’t do all of this, give all of this, for my kids.

In my “night job” as Orphanage Support Coordinator for Angel Covers, I know that the reality for most orphaned children recovering from surgeries is nothing like what my children and yours may have experienced. These sweet little boys and girls are often taken to a hospital for surgery, and then returned to their orphanages to recover. The caregivers are devoted and do their best to care for all of the children they work with, but there isn’t

enough time in a day to give each child the kind of undivided attention that we all wish they could receive. There aren't freezers full of every popsicle flavor invented, stacks of rented videos and doting moms at the ready. No one is counting ounces of fluids taken in, obsessively feeling foreheads for fevers, or spoon-feeding ice chips one at a time in the middle of the night. The recovery process can be much longer, riskier, and lonelier.

But now, for some kids, the vision and reality are coming much closer together thanks to some wonderful foster families. Through a partnership between Angel Covers and Love Without Boundaries, there are three very special and adorable little guys who are thriving and growing under the watchful eyes of their foster families in Huaibei, Anhui Province. All three of these boys received surgeries through Love Without Boundaries, and after a period of recovery, are now enjoying the attention of their foster parents. We introduced you to Anton and Harrison in a recent post and are happy to report that they are settled into their foster home where they are developing well, gaining weight, and showing their individual personalities. Our newest foster child, Emillio, joined his foster family last week and is making a smooth transition into their home.

We would love to see our program grow so that all children receiving surgery will be able to benefit from the care of foster families, but for now, our goal is more modest. We are in need of sponsors to help support Anton, Harrison, and Emillio so that they can continue to reap the benefits of living in a family setting. Sponsorship for each child costs $70/month, and sponsorships can be shared among family members, friends, church or civic groups—anyone willing to help these sweet boys. In return for your support, you’ll receive a monthly update, including pictures, on your child.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Kenya Music Festival

The Humble Hearts children will once again attend the Kenya Music Festival competitions on the 8th of August. Last year, these students were very successful, receiving top honors and gaining a great experience through the trip and competition. Two groups of Humble Hearts kids, one hearing and the other deaf, earned a spot at the national music competition because of their amazing talents of signing, reciting verses, and singing. Ultimately, both groups placed second in the national competition.

For so many reasons, we are confident this is an important annual challenge for these students, academically, socially and emotionally. Each of them, along with their families and community, are learning that deaf people are just as capable as those who can hear. They are learning clear, concise and educated communication while their community is learning of their talents and abilities-despite their challenges.

Their travel budget, including fares, accommodations, and food for twenty-three girls and two teachers, is coming to around $1500. We need to raise these funds over and above the monthly commitments our dedicated sponsors continue to send. Can you help? This may be the perfect opportunity for you to join the Humble Hearts family, though you have not been able to commit to a specific child in the past.

If you are interested in supporting these amazing kids by helping with the costs of travel to the competition, please go to http://www.angelcovers.org/donation.html and putting "music competition" in the memo section of your donation. Any amount is helpful to these children who have been working day and night to perfect their skills and bring a trophy back to Humble Hearts!

Thank you for considering these precious kids a cause important enough for your prayers and donations.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Summer is Here!


One week ago my kids had their last day of school. It's so exciting listening to them play together and develop new games. Many other kids around the county are also out of school, while others will be soon. We are thrill to announce that many of you thought of children around the world while planning gifts for teachers. Because of your donations through our gift card program, a child in China will be going to school for a year and two children in Kenya will be able to attend school for a year as well.

For those of you who are struggling with what to get dad for Father's Day, or are still waiting for school to end, please keep our gift cards in mind. Our foster care program in Huaibei is in great need of sponsors. Wouldn't it be so special to give dad a gift of a loving family, just like he gave you? Harrison and Anton are thriving in their foster home and any one-time or monthly donation will help them continue to be loved and cared for by their new family.

The kids at Humble Hearts were all recently blessed with fruit (bananas specifically) during an unusual "fruit day" at the school. Donations of fruit to the kids through gift cards make for very happy children at Humble Hearts. The fruit is Kenya is much sweeter than in the US and for kids who generally have rice and beans to eat, it's a wonderful treat.

So while you're considering teacher's gifts or the perfect Father's Day present, please remember children around the world who don't have the privilege of a loving family or attending school on a regular basis. Your donations have made a huge difference in the lives of children in Kenya and China in the last two weeks, and I know the lives of even more children can be changed for the good.

Kari

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Great people doing great things.

In the last 2 weeks, it's become clear to me yet again how much people want to help children around the world. Yesterday I learned that Rose Whetzel has asked her friends and family on Facebook to donate to Angel Covers in honor of her upcoming birthday. Rose has been unemployed since last year but following Angel Covers and our work. Rather than thinking there is nothing she can do without donating herself, Rose is hoping to raise $170 to our new foster care program in China. If Rose's birthday wish is fulfilled, she will have provided care to the 2 boys in this program for more than a month. All because she asked for this for her birthday.

The First United Church of Arvada in the Denver area sponsors a child, Cynthia, at Humble Hearts. They send her letters and valentines, while teaching the congregation about Cynthia and the struggles she endures just to attend school. This past Sunday, the church held a bake sale in order to raise money for a blackboard or desk to be used at Humble Hearts' new location. They didn't have dreams of raising hundreds of dollars, but want to be able to buy one desk or maybe even a desk and a blackboard for a total cost of approximately $50. Instead, this small church raised nearly $200! Several new desks and blackboards will soon help teachers and students at Humble Hearts all because individuals in this church were willing to bake and buy sweets.

As you may remember, our Orphanage Support Coordinator, Holly Huffman recently ran a half marathon to raise money for our Mama's Wish program. We were thrilled when she was able to raise enough to send 3 girls to high school for a year....not to mention she ran 13.1 miles! Others have expressed and interest in running for Angel Covers. What about you?

Inspired yet? There are so many ways to help children in our programs without spending a dime. Supporters are continuing to use the Amazon.com link on our website and our donations from Amazon in 2010 have already passed our total for 2009. Do you play bunco each month? Maybe rather than prizes for your group, you'd like to donate to a charity each month. The host could pick the charity and tell everyone about it. Maybe your book club or wine club goes out of dinner. How about making dinner one month and asking everyone to donate what they would have spent instead? Now that Mother's Day is officially past, Father's Day is fast approaching. Consider our gift card for dad and help so many needy children while giving him a meaningful gift. Many people donated in honor of their moms and now children will have what they need.

The 2009 Annual Report and Federal 990 form are on our website. Please be sure to read through these to see all the ways kids were helped in 2009 and how we were able to do it with less than 4% in administrative costs. http://www.angelcovers.org/reports.html

Please consider how you can help. We are happy to help you with ideas, including ways to volunteer. More and more people around the world are participating. How about you?

Grateful beyond words,

Kari

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Team Angel Covers Wins Gold Medal!



OK, so all of the medals were gold, but even so, I’m proud to say that I crossed the finish line at the Frederick Half Marathon on Sunday morning! For all of you who support Angel Covers, I’ll offer a brief ‘race report’:





My husband, Dave, and I headed to Frederick, Maryland on Saturday night for an evening of pasta and an early bedtime at our hotel. This was the first night he and I had spent away without kids since the night we arrived in China when we travelled to adopt Marley in December 2008. Amazing what we have to do to get a night away—fly halfway around the world, or run a half marathon!

My Sunday morning wake-up call came at 4:30, although I’d been awake an hour by then, suffering from pre-race jitters. This was my third half marathon, and I have also run one full marathon, but my nerves had served as an internal alarm clock for me. We headed to the fairgrounds at 5:15, long before the sun even thought of peeking its head out. As the first official participant for Team Angel Covers, it was an honor to sport my Team AC t-shirt in the wee hours before the 6:30am start.


By “go” time, I was feeling at ease and ready to handle the task ahead.









The race course was beautiful and the crowd support was awesome. The weather could’ve been a bit more cooperative—the temps at starting time were already over 70 degrees and reached a high of around 85 pretty quickly. But it was slightly overcast, and friendly folks in the neighborhoods hosed us down with sprinklers as we ran. My husband was my sole in-person supporter at the race, but I know that many of you were thinking of me and sending positive thoughts my way as I chugged along the race course. I finished in 2:19:57, which is almost 7 minutes faster than my previous best.



I have a cool medal, some great pictures, and bragging rights for my accomplishment (as well as a few new blisters and two aching knees!). What I am most proud of though, and what clearly has the longest-lasting impact, is the fact that with the support of friends and family, I raised enough funds to put three Mama’s Wish students through another year of high school. You can read about the program here: http://www.angelcovers.org/mamawish.html
I’m already looking at some races for the fall season and would love to talk with anyone who is interested in joining Team Angel Covers for an event in the future. We welcome runners, walkers, cyclists, triathletes—anyone with a goal in mind and a passion for the children around the world who Angel Covers works to support. Contact me at holly@angelcovers.org for more information.

Holly Huffman
Orphanage Support Coordinator
Angel Covers

Monday, May 3, 2010

Mother's Day is fast approaching!

With Mother's Day just around the corner, I wanted to remind everyone of great gift ideas for mom that will also help children around the world. For all you last minute shoppers, please check out our gift cards. Recently a gift card specifically for foster care was added. For those if us who value the love and comfort we received growing up in a family, our foster care gift card will show mom how grateful we are. Any gift cards ordered can be mailed within 24 hours of ordering. What could be more appropriate than providing the same love of a family that our moms gave us?

If you're still planning on internet shopping for your gifts this year, please remember to go to our links to Amazon.com or Igive.com when placing your orders. Both of these links will provide Angel Covers with a percentage of your purchase without costing you any additional fees.

Aprons, blankets, and note cards can still arrive on time for mom. Just place your order by sending an email to order@angelcovers.org and we'll be sure your order goes in the mail right away.

Mother's Day is a great day to show mom how much you care about her and children around the world. Gifts from Angel Covers will also show her how much appreciate all she did for you, by providing the same love and attention to children around the world.

Always thankful,

Kari



Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Introducing Harrison and Anton!

I am so excited to announce that Angel Covers has started foster care in Huaibei, Anhui Province! Harrison and Anton are the first babies to be placed in foster care through this new program. Both of these adorable little guys received cleft lip and palate repairs through Love Without Boundaries. After thriving under the attentive care of the auntie’s at LWB’s Anhui Cleft Healing Home, these boys have been placed together with a wonderful foster family. We are so pleased to have found this family, as the foster mother has experience as a caregiver at the Huaibei SWI, and the couple has a daughter who they adopted who also had a cleft lip.

We are very fortunate to have the help of Love Without Boundaries in setting up this program and we have agreed to a partnership in which any child in need of surgery will have first priority for foster care. LWB will ensure the surgery or other medical care is provided and Angel Covers will work to have the child placed in a foster family when released from the hospital. We will then follow-up with the SWI to be sure the child is registered for adoption with the CCAA.

The greatest need for this program right now is sponsors. The cost to have one child in foster care for a month is $70. The reward is priceless. For many years I was a child protection case worker who worked with children in foster care. Through my work I saw directly how a loving foster family can make an enormous difference in the life of a child. Many families who have children adopted from China have benefited from foster care as well. Babies placed in foster homes receive the undivided attention of their caregivers that aunties in the SWI's don't always have time to give.

We are currently looking for families to sponsor Harrison and Anton who have already been placed in a foster home, as well as other children who will come into the program in the future. We would love to have someone sponsor a child for the full amount, but realize that's not always realistic. If you'd like to support this program but can't help with $70 a month, please commit to whatever amount you can. Every sponsor will receive information about their child monthly, including new pictures.

If you are able to help, please go to http://www.angelcov ers.org/donation .html and put "foster care" in the notes section. You will be contacted by Holly Huffman, our Orphanage Support Coordinator, with information about your sponsored child.

Thank you for all your support!

Kari Fillmore
303-947-5215
www.angelcovers. org
Caring for orphans and destitute children around the world.