Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Happy Birthday, Lloyd!

Sorry for the absence from posting over the last week.  My life has been busy, per the usual.  More posts coming soon. In the meantime, say hello to Lloyd!  He is the beautiful son of my friend, Colleen.  He was born early this morning, looking great and healthy, much to his parents' relief.  Colleen has been through a lot in the past couple of years, and she deserves this happiness.  Congratulations to her and her family, and I wish nothing but the best for them in the years to come!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Well Project Update

In reference to this post, I'd like to give an update on the funding of the water well in honor of my friend Tiffany's nephew, Lucas.  We had previously worked on raising money towards this project earlier this year, but hit a plateau about halfway to the goal.  Just a week ago, Tiffany and I started spreading the word again, in hopes of getting over the final hurdle.  I am so proud to say that THE WELL HAS BEEN FUNDED!  My amazing friends and family answered our plea, once again, and the result will be clean drinking water for people in need.  I want to extend my deepest gratitude to the people who donated to this special cause.  Some of them don't even know Tiffany, but they contributed because they know she is important to me, and they know this pursuit is noble.  Every single person that donated played a part in making this happen, and we couldn't have done it without any of you.  The joy I'm experiencing right now is hard to contain.  I eagerly anticipate the day I can post pictures of the well built in Lucas's name!   

I just want to especially thank a couple of my girlfriends who truly epitomized the concept of paying it forward with their donations.  You two ladies know who you are, and I'm in awe of your generosity.  I know that Holden Uganda holds a special place in your heart because of recent events, and your willingness to help others does not go unnoticed.  Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

If you wish to honor another child that left us too soon, by providing clean drinking water to those in need, you can still donate to another fund or to the administration fund.

Ever since I first heard the following quote, I've tried to live by it.  I think it's quite fitting here:

"The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit."  - Nelson Henderson             

Thursday, June 2, 2011

A Beautiful Tribute

Earlier in the year I wrote this post about my friends and family answering the call when I asked for help raising money for a worthy cause.  I just realized that I did not give an update on what the money was used for, so I want to take the opportunity to do that now.

Loved ones of Jess and Jared Doss were devastated to learn of the passing of their sweet daughter, Kaitlyn, last December.  Everyone felt helpless and struggled with finding ways to comfort them in their time of unimaginable loss. A couple of their friends came up with the idea to raise money to fund a well in Uganda in Kaitlyn's memory, through the Holden Uganda Foundation. What a beautiful tribute it is to provide health and hope to others, in the name of someone who left us too soon.  Through the help of a lot of generous people, this goal was achieved, and the well was funded!

 "In Loving Memory of Kaitlyn Olivia Doss"

Health and Hope

I am so grateful to my family and friends (who didn't even know Kaitlyn) for helping to make this happen.  It's an awesome legacy in her name, and it will help people every day.  With that said, I have a new plea.  After my friend, Tiffany, graciously accepted my request for help with funding Kaitlyn's well, she decided to embark on a mission to fund a well in the name of her nephew, Lucas, who died before he was able to take his first breath in this world.  If you have a few extra dollars to spare, please consider donating to Holden Uganda in the name of Lucas Paul Stewart.  Go here, click the Donate button, and make sure to select Lucas's name under the Fund.  It costs between $2,000 - $2,400 to build a well, and Tiffany is almost halfway to that goal.  

As an added incentive, if you donate and let me know, I will match your donation, up to $500.  C'mon friends and family, we can make this happen!

Academic Year in America

Two years ago, at about this time, Meezy and I decided to host a foreign exchange student for a semester.  We were looking to give someone an opportunity to experience our country, while also granting us the privilege of learning about their culture.  It was an incredible experience, and we made a life-long friend out of our student and her family.  (We visited her family in Germany last year, and she's coming back to the US for another visit later this year).  I know that we'll be a part of each other's lives for many years to come.

Hosting someone in your home for 6 or 12 months is not easy, but it's not daunting either.  There are minor inconveniences associated with it, especially if you've never had a child previously, but the benefits far outweighed them.  We loved introducing Kim to our families, taking her on trips, showing her some American culture, etc, etc.  It was an amazing 6 months, and we have hundreds of fun pictures to help us remember it.  

Some people thought it was odd that two 20 somethings with no children would want to host an exchange student, but it made perfect sense to us.  We had the time, money, space, and desire to devote to the experience, and it couldn't have been more perfect.  Other hosting families we met during the process consisted of families with teenagers, or retired couples.  I think an exchange student can fit into most home situations, because there are various advantages for each.  In other words, it doesn't matter if you're 25 years old or 55 years old.  It doesn't matter if you're single or married.  It doesn't matter if you have kids or not.  As long as you have the desire and willingness to share, you can make a good host!     

If you'd like to learn more about hosting, check out the AIFS website here.  Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.  If you want to take the first step towards hosting, even if it's just to get more information, let me know and I'll refer you. It's never too late or early in the year to get started!  There are always kids looking for host families.