Kids who don’t have food to eat, can’t learn!

Dear Friends, This is why Light Up Hope has a piece of my heart. Years ago, I was a first-grade teacher in California. I was fresh out of college and was hired to teach in a small school where 90% of my students were the children of migrant farm workers. These parents worked very hard all day for very little money. The school received special funding for supplies and most of the children were enrolled in the free lunch program. For them, a mere human need – food – was a “luxury.” For many of the children, lunch was the only real meal they would receive that day. This was not because they were neglected. Their parents simply could not afford to fill the refrigerator with food. I saw firsthand how hunger can affect a child’s ability to learn. Hunger makes it hard ot focus, hard to retain information, hard to learn. So I started stocking my supply closet with granola bars and fruit. I also started buying school supplies during Back to School sales, to use as “prizes” in the classroom. I loved to see how the kids’ faces would light up when they chose a box of crayons […]

Memoir of my first visit to Nairobi on the eve of our departure

I will be leaving for Kenya on March 1st.  It will be my first visit to Hands with Hope Orphanage since November of 2009 when I first laid eyes on the children.  As I prepare to make a trip back to Nairobi I have been reflecting on the day I first stepped foot across the threshold of the place these 30 children call home. It was a beautiful day in Nairobi, the sun was shining, there was an excitement and nervousness in the air.  We walked down the red dirt roads of Njiru to Hands with Hope.  We were on our way to pray for the children at the orphanage and though this was the moment I had dreamed about since I first landed in Nairobi I was suddenly gripped with dread.  It had already been a long couple days in Nairobi.  Mike and I had come face to face for the first time with what poverty actually looks like.  We danced and sang with the new friends we had made, we worked long hours introducing children and adults to their first lesson on how to use a computer.  I had cried and prayed with local women who told me […]