Category Archives: Caring For At-Risk Kids

Dunamis Helps Teen Mother Take Steps Toward Healing

Dunamis-2In Quito, Ecuador, ER partner Dunamis seeks to restore the rights of young women and adolescents victimized by human trafficking. Here volunteer Rebekah Byrnes shares the story of how Dunamis touched the life of one of those young ladies – and how her own life was touched as well.

The first day is always a little awkward. You don’t know quite what to say, or what to do. And the girls aren’t sure about you yet – not sure if you speak Spanish, not sure if they can trust you. So you just watch.

But Paola made my first day at Dunamis just a bit more comfortable. During a jewelry workshop, she invited me to sit and work with her. Right from the start, knowing Paola has been a blessing to me.

Paola, 15 at the time, had dark, shoulder-length hair and a thick accent common to Ecuador’s coastal region. She had a baby, Naty, who was not quite a year old. I noticed she spent a lot of time in the baby room with Naty. She clearly loved her child, but it was also evident that often she would wake the baby up simply because she didn’t want to be a part of an activity the rest of the girls were doing.

Dunamis-3As I observed these frequent “escapes,” I learned more of Paola’s story from the staff members, and her behavior began to make sense. When she was young, her mother had sold her to an old man who lived nearby, and he abused her sexually. Later, she sold Paola to some of the man’s friends as well, and then to a brothel, where the police eventually rescued her.

Paola’s baby was a result of the abuse she suffered. Another consequence was that she became schizophrenic, a disorder characterized by an inability to recognize what is real, reduced social engagement and emotional expression, and auditory hallucinations.

We also discovered another reason she didn’t want to participate in group activities: She didn’t know how to read. She would always disappear during book club times. Our book club teacher, Lena Dietz, bought some children’s books for her one day. When it was suggested that Paola and I read together in private, she jumped up enthusiastically, giggling and happy. She was really excited to have me read to her.

Dunamis-1The first few weeks, I read aloud to her. Then I started working with her on the alphabet. We went through the alphabet and talked about what sounds each letter made, then wrote down some words and how to spell them. She was good at spelling her name, so she would proudly write that in every session. We played some literacy games; between games, I would read to her, making her sound out a few words on each page. By the end of our time together, she had read an entire page of that children’s book on her own.

Unfortunately, due to the way the shelter system in Ecuador works, Dunamis is not always able to keep the girls for extended periods, and the time came for Paola to move on. It was decided that she would go back to live with her mother again, this time under the watchful eye of her aunt.

When the day came for her to leave, I told Paola that God is always with her and she began to cry. I had never seen her cry until then; in fact, showing any sort of emotion was rare, though she smiled or laughed often enough. She shed only a few tears, but I could see real emotion and I believe that she loved Dunamis more than she could express.

Sexual abuse dehumanizes a woman and destroys her sense of worth. In Paola’s case, it even destroyed her sense of reality. But we know that broken people can be healed and made new. I believe Dunamis was exactly where Paola needed to be during that time in her life, and that she was able to see that she truly is loved. We made a difference for her, and she made a difference in my life, too.

Learn more about how Dunamis here, and go to extremeresponse.org/take-action/extreme-women for information on how you can help protect at-risk girls and women like Paola.

Youth Mobilization Reaches Out to Families with Love

Mackie Custodio is the Team Leader for Youth Mobilization, one of ER’s partners in the Philippines. Here he shares how his organization was able to respond to a catastrophe in a way that is impacting lives for the long term.

Living conditions are difficult in the community Youth Mobilization serves in Wawa, Taguig, Philippines.
Living conditions are difficult in the community Youth Mobilization serves in Wawa, Taguig, Philippines.

Our organization is based in a poor community in Wawa, Taguig, about an hour away from Manila. Two years ago, families in this community were victims of a fire that left their homes in ashes, a tragedy that still echoes today.

Ninety percent of the families in the community earn below 50 percent of the minimum wage. Most of them are contract construction workers, domestic workers, pedicab drivers, laundry helpers and dump scavengers. Their top – and only – priority in spending is food for their families. They know that housing and education are important as well, but they simply don’t have the funds to spend on these things.

In response to these extreme circumstances, in 2014 we launched a program called Abot Pag-ibig (Reaching Out With Love). This program aims to produce hope-filled children by teaching them strong values, for we know that by forming their values, we can form their future.

Children and adults alike are finding hope through Youth Mobilization’s values formation program.
Children and adults alike are finding hope through Youth Mobilization’s values formation program.

Each week, more than 50 children gather to hear stories and lessons that they can apply in their daily lives – things like how special each of them is, and how they should treat themselves, their families and friends. The program also includes a meal and time for crafts and activities that let the children express themselves.

Thanks to the relationships we have established with these children, we have been able to build good relationships with their families as well. We now facilitate a home group that gives parents the opportunity to hear these same messages of hope, and to share their thoughts on how we can serve the children and the community even more effectively.

Belen Cabacas and her son Paulo
Belen Cabacas and her son Paulo

One such family is Belen Cabacas and her sons, Paulo and JP. The boys not only attend the values formation program every Saturday, they are helpful in setting up the venue and calling the students to come together at the beginning of the class. Meanwhile, Belen has been regularly attending the home group and eagerly receiving the lessons she learns there.

As we look ahead to 2016, our dreams include an educational center and program called Bulilit Life Ministy (Lives of Little Ones Ministry), which will provide basic education to children ages 5-6. We also hope to help students who have been forced by poverty to drop out of school. This program will be called Gabay-Aral (Guide in Their Learning) and will encourage students to continue their studies by sponsoring their material needs, such as backpacks and uniforms.

The YM home group helps build relationships with parents in the community.
The YM home group helps build relationships with parents in the community.

We are thankful for the opportunity to serve this community and build strong relationships with the children and their families. We are confident that, little by little, day by day, we can help bring change among these extreme circumstances.

To learn more about Youth Mobilization, click here and visit their blog at philippinesyouthmobilization.blogspot.com.

South Africa Dream Centre Is No Longer a Dream

DSC_0478By Amy Townsend, ER South Africa

When you visit a squatter settlement in South Africa, you immediately realize how devastatingly unfair the world can be, especially for kids. These communities can stretch on for miles and contain thousands of children — all of them at risk for HIV/AIDS, TB, abuse, malnutrition, poverty and hopelessness.

GLL BoyIt would be easy for ER’s South Africa staff, volunteers and partners to be overwhelmed by the scale of the need. Yet the size of the challenge has instead driven our team to think more creatively and strategically.

Could we give these kids a real chance to break out of the vicious cycle in which they tumble? Could we provide enough nutrition, security and structured early- and after-school learning opportunities to allow them to prosper? Do we dare dream that their lives will be filled with hope and tangible opportunities for a better life?

Yes, Yes, and Yes!

Townsend girls and GLL kidsWe are pleased to announced that our dreams are turning into reality with the launch of the ER South Africa Dream Centre near Cape Town. The Dream Centre will serve alongside God’s Little Lighthouse (GLL), with support from ER partner ATAIM, to provide a safe early and primary learning environment for children at risk for falling behind academically. We want to help children learn to dream big dreams and reach their potential.

“The Dream Centre is a dream come true for ER as well, as for the parents and kids we serve,” said ER President and CEO Jerry Carnill. Although the need is great,  we have the right staff in place and a strong legacy to follow. This will be life changing for everyone involved.”

Currently, kids fall behind as they leave GLL to attend a local public school. Now the Dream Centre will provide a safe after-school tutoring and homework help program to enable these kids to succeed academically. The Dream Centre also will partner with schools and parents to ensure the children remain on course with his or her academic studies and provide opportunities for them to develop their talents.

The Little Things Matter

DSC_0408Take the example of Mbali* a very quiet and shy little girl. The youngest of four children, her parents have struggled recently with the loss of a job and had to move into Masiphumelele. At the beginning of the school year, it was obvious that Mbali needed glasses. During story time, she would squint and eventually lose interest in the story. She could not color in the lines or print her name. Teachers sent several notes home, but there just wasn’t money to have her eyes checked.

That’s when ATAIM, GLLH teachers and ER worked together to get her an eye exam. Now Mbali has some wonderful glasses that help her see things more clearly. Her school work improved immediately and she no longer struggles to see. Caring teamwork gave Mabil a chance for a better future.

To get started, the Dream Center will focus on meeting the needs of 15 children from the nearby settlement of Masiphumelele. The kids are mostly older children who attended God’s Little Lighthouse, so they are familiar with ER staff and volunteers. They are primed and ready to learn.

Funding the Dream Centre After-School Program
DSC_0743A new report from researchers at the University of San Francisco reveals that sponsored children are more likely to graduate both secondary school and college, have salaried employment and be leaders in their communities. Sponsorship makes children 27%-40% more likely to complete secondary school and 50%-80% more likely to complete a university education.

This is why The Dream Centre name is so appropriate. You see, poverty causes children to have low self-esteem and aspirations. But a scholarship helps expand children’s views about their own possibilities. With education, we help each child realize he or she is a special gift that can benefit their community, and we encourage them to develop aspirations for their future.

Child sponsorship appears to be the great equalizer in education. In areas where outcomes are worse, such as sub-Saharan Africa, impacts are greater. So we’re pleased to announce the introduction of the Extreme Kids South Africa Scholarship Fund. The fund allows donors to personally impact the future of an at-risk child by providing a scholarship by requiring only small monthly donations.

DSC_1316For just $20 per month, you can provide a scholarship for the children at The Dream Centre or God’s Little Lighthouse. These funds primarily provide school supplies, a safe after-school environment and nutritious snacks. You’ll find complete details on the Scholarship program here, including a helpful FAQ.

Would you consider funding a scholarship for one of these children? Your gift will impact a child for a lifetime, and possibly generations beyond. Click here to donate to the Extreme Kids South Africa Scholarship Fund.

Click here to see a short video of the Dream Centre’s foundation being poured in February 2016.

*Mbali’s name was changed in this article as a matter of privacy.

970299_614864335190262_1175523254_nAmy and Ron Townsend work at God’s Little Lighthouse on loan from Extreme Response. The Townsends and their three daughters, Emily, Hannah and Sarah, recently moved to South Africa to help Extreme Response establish a regional presence. Click here to learn more about Extreme Response’s vision helping people in Africa.

A Big Brother in Any Language

Jason-6By Allen Allnoch

Manila, Philippines is a long way from Fair Oaks, California, and the Tagalog language common to Manila is, well, quite foreign to an American like Jason Chappell.

Jason only recently arrived from Fair Oaks as a new staffer at ER’s Manila Children Home, but he’s already learned one important term.

“The main thing I am to these boys is kuya, which is a term here that means ‘older brother,’ says Jason. “This one thing has been the best thing I could ask for – I have ten younger brothers! As the baby of my family, I would have loved to have a younger brother, and now I have ten.”

Jason-7Jason’s move to Manila grew out of a series of short-term trips through ER. The first was in 2008, when he helped a team from his church, Sunrise Community, serve at ER’s Christmas Celebrations.

Right away he sensed a stirring to return, and he went back again in 2010 and 2012. After that third trip, he set his sights on serving long-term with ER and began raising support funds over the next 2-½ years.

Now he’s living in Manila, working part-time in the Extreme Response Asia Children’s Home and going to language school full-time, which ultimately will help him serve more effectively in the home.

“Without knowing the language, I have found it is almost impossible to tell the kids what they should be doing or not doing,” Jason says

Jason-3Still, some things transcend language. In his first three months, he says, he has served as “a nurse for scratches, a chair and jungle gym for the boys, a tutor in math and a teacher of chess.”

He’s also volunteering with a local ER partner that works with children in poor communities.

“Seeing the staff show love to these children, and being a part of it all, has been another highlight of my first three months here,” he says. “Each time I am able to go see the kids, I am able to speak more in their language, and it means so much to me and them to have that connection.”

Connection … relationship … personal touch … kuya. Those are the kind of things that help ER so effectively serve people in extreme circumstances. Even in a country that’s still largely unfamiliar to him, Jason Chappell is excelling at just that.

ER offers a number of ways to serve, both short-term and long-term, and from home or abroad. Visit extremeresponse.org/take-action/serve-with-us to learn more.

Setting Students on a Path to Success

Path Project 4Jim Hollandsworth is the founder and executive director of The Path Project, an ER partner based in suburban Atlanta that seeks to help at-risk children close the achievement gap, graduate from high school, become productive members of society and “find the right path for their lives” through academic, social and spiritual development. Here Jim shares some encouraging success stories from The Path Project’s work in Atlanta and beyond.

One of our main goals for students who are part of the Path Project is that they would graduate high school with a plan for their future. For six years we’ve been focused on this goal. We’ve seen many of our students improve their grades at school, but we’ve also continued to see students struggle in middle and high school.

Through conversations with local and state education leaders, and families in the communities we serve, we’ve realized that a student’s likelihood of graduating from high school depends on their ability to read in elementary school. In fact, students who are reading on or above grade level by 3rd grade are 400 percent more likely to graduate high school than students who are reading below grade level.

In Georgia, Latino students have a 57 percent graduation rate, the lowest of any demographic in the state. The Mexican students in the communities we serve have an even lower graduation rate because of factors including poverty, drug and alcohol abuse, and parents who didn’t complete high school.

Path Project 1In response to this research, we have partnered with an initiative by Georgia Governor Nathan Deal called “Get Georgia Reading,” the goal of which is to get low-income students in the state reading on or above grade level by 3rd grade. (Pictured at left are my wife, Melinda, Georgia First Lady Sandra Deal, state Board of Education representative Mike Royal and me at the statewide launch of this campaign.)

Last year we launched our own Literacy Program for K-2nd graders in the Gwinnett Estates mobile home park, aimed at increasing their exposure to reading and language every day after school. We began tracking the Kindergarteners who were part of that program last year and who were part of our preschool programs before that. By the end of last school year, 15 of 16 students were reading on or above grade level.

Path Project 2Knowing how important this is to long-term academic success, we are thrilled with these results! Our staff and volunteers have done an amazing job in leading this program at Gwinnett Estates, and now we’re expanding our model to other communities. One of the biggest challenges in Mexican immigrant communities is overcoming high dropout rates. Our goal is to change this trend, one community at a time, in Georgia and beyond.

In fact, we’re even starting to export this model internationally. Working with Ron and Amy Townsend in the ER South Africa office, we’ve been able to share some of these ideas for an after-school literacy program they are launching in January. It’s encouraging to see multiple ER partners work together to help at-risk kids learn to read!

Path Project 3In addition to the Literacy Program’s success, we’re excited about several more initiatives, programs and success stories from our communities:

  • Middle/High Leadership Academy: We’ve launched a pilot program in our largest community for students in grades 6 through 12 to help with academics, career exposure, college awareness, driver’s licenses and other life skills. Thirty students are part of this program.
  • Soccer League: In partnership with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, we are helping kids get professional soccer instruction, and more importantly, character training and relationship building with a coach each week. We’re seeing boys respond to this who have never been part of our programs before!
  • Summer Camps: We helped more than 200 students attend camps this past summer, including FCA Soccer Camp (120 students) and our own Path Project Big Camp (140 students).
  • High School Graduates: This year we’ll see four of our students from the Gwinnett Estates community graduate from high school. This is significant because historically the dropout rate in these communities has been really low. In fact, over the past six years, we know of only four students total from Gwinnett Estates who have graduated high school. We’ve known each of these current seniors since they were in 6th grade, and it’s been a joy to walk with them as they purse this goal of graduation.

To learn more about The Path Project, visit www.path-project.org.

Paul Cripps: Faithful Leader, Lover of People, Life-Changer

Malawi2

By Tim Fausch, ER Communications

There are many ways to measure the value of one’s life on earth, but perhaps the greatest is to consider the lasting impact he or she has on those they encounter.

Aranas | Photography2014-10Paul Cripps, co-founder of ER Canada with his best friend and wife Linda, was someone who had a life-changing impact on the people he touched. Soft-spoken, thoughtful and selfless, Paul was a friend and encourager to people wherever they were in their life journey. And when he met people who were poor, sick, uneducated, abused, abandoned or oppressed, he showed them deep compassion and love.

Consider these words from Paul, shared on an ER video:

“I have had the privilege of spending time in all three of our regions and have witnessed first hand many stories of changed lives. There is nothing more impactful than spending time in a squatter village, or picking up a street kid in need of a hug.”

ER CEO Jerry Carnill shared Paul’s willingness to battle through obstacles in order to serve others:

Paul & Linda“Paul  set an example for all of us on many levels. He loved his wife, kids and grandkids with all of his heart, yet he also set aside personal comforts to help people in extreme situations. During the past several months Paul served others in extreme heat, with very little sleep while living with physical pain due to sickness. His legacy will live on through the lives of people across the globe.”

Paul did much more than show compassion. He and Linda turned their concern for others into a life mission. They focused everything they had on helping people in very tangible ways.

Russ Cline, ER’s Chief Advancement Officer, recently profiled Paul and Linda’s strategic use of their time and resources in the Leader Mundial eNewsletter:

_DSC1771“But the biggest thing they have leveraged has been their lives. Not only do they serve the staff, partners and ER family around the world, but they have invested their lives in relationship. They have visited, they have served, they have helped set vision, they have coached, they have explored, they have listened, they have come alongside so many of us (I speak for many) and just helped us to do better.”  Read Russ’ blog here.

 

DSC_0169Paul impacted people around the world, including many ER partners who are on the front lines working to help people living in distress. Pierre Rioux,  Director of ATAIM, an ER partner that serves indigent people in South Africa, shared this:

“Paul’s approach to life was a huge example to me. He always put others first, in spite of how he felt physically. He never wanted people to know he was suffering. Paul was a true leader that I plan to imitate. I hope I can be half the leader he was.”

IMG_1308ER’s Asia Region Director, Joshua Benavidez, shared this regarding Paul:

“A big guy with a big heart. Thank you Paul for everything you have done for us and the people whom we love so much, especially the kids. You will be greatly missed. You will always be in our hearts.”

Paul and ER Canada were big supporters of the programs in Haiti run by ER partners Lemuel and House of Hope. This Facebook post by the folks at Lemuel captured Paul and Linda’s impact in Haiti:

“Paul Cripps was known and loved by all of us. He had a genuinely compassionate, servant’s heart and we are grateful for all the ways in which he touched our lives and served Lemuel through ER Canada.”

Aranas | Photography2014-10Paul and Linda led volunteer teams to help at-risk people around the globe, introducing hundreds to the concept of serving others cross-culturally. Paul was tireless in his dedication, working long hours at their auto dealership only to come home and work just as hard for ER Canada.

Led by his strong faith, Paul strived to bring hope to the hopeless. Those who knew him would say, “Well done faithful servant, well done.”

Author’s note. It’s rare when you meet people you immediately love and trust. That’s what took place when my wife Deb and I first met Paul and Linda. We saw their character, compassion, selflessness, generosity and willingness to sacrifice and we were inspired. We wanted to be more like them…and still do. Thank you Paul and Linda for living lives that are authentic, and for helping show the way.

The notice below was published by the Jason Smith Funeral Chapel and provides details on Paul’s family and life.

CRIPPS, Paul Kenneth (1959 – 2015) – surrounded by his loving family and promoted to the arms of his Lord & Saviour, at the Norfolk General Hospital on Sunday, September 20th, 2015 in his 57th year.  Cherished husband and best friend of Linda Cripps (nee Armstrong) of Simcoe.  Loving father & grandfather of Nicole La Porte (Aaron) of Waterford, their sons Jacob & Evan;  and David Cripps (Angel) of Simcoe, their son Benjamin.  Beloved son of Ronald Cripps (late Violet) of Simcoe.  Paul will be lovingly remembered by his brother Carl Cripps (Lenny) of Caronport, Saskatchewan, their children Daniel, Samuel & Deborah.  Dearly loved son-in-law of Elsa Armstrong (late Lawrence).  Together Paul & Linda own and operate Aitken Chevrolet Buick GMC.  Always a passion for serving others, Paul served as Chair, Vice Chair & Past Chair of the Norfolk General Hospital Foundation Board, was a member of the Simcoe Gospel Chapel and was the Canadian Founder & Director of Extreme Response Canada, a charity organization committed to changing the lives of people by providing humanitarian aid to those living in extreme, often life-threatening, poverty stricken situations.  Friends are invited to share their memories of Paul with his family at the JASON SMITH FUNERAL CHAPEL, 689 Norfolk St. North Simcoe for visitation on Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015 from 2-4 & 7-9 p.m. and again on Wednesday morning from 10:00 – 10:45 a.m. at the Simcoe Gospel Chapel, Hwy#3 East Simcoe.  Paul’s home going service will be held in the church sanctuary at 11:00 a.m. with Pastor Martin Brown officiating.  Interment:  Oakwood Cemetery, Simcoe.  In lieu of flowers, those wishing to donate in memory of Paul are asked to consider Extreme Response Canada.  Personal online condolences at www.smithfuneralchapel.com (519) 426-0199.

Abandoned 18 Years Ago, How Is Alex Doing Today?

d19d4f2f-1138-4e5a-9861-1346009b386a
Alex and his Dad Any Brooke.

House of Hope Director of Development and ER staff member Jenny Reitz Compère, shared this story in her July newsletter. It tells the journey of Alex, a young boy who came to House of Hope under dire circumstances. Located in the town of LaPointe on Haiti’s north coast, House of Hope serves children who are orphaned, abandoned, abused or neglected. 

By Jenny Reitz Compère

Last month, ER partner House of Hope (HOH) was pleased to have our friends from the Hands of Hope organization in the United Kingdom (UK) visit. They have supported the HOH in many ways over the years, but the link we have with them that means the most to both of us is a young man — their son Alex.

kevAlex was an extremely sick nine-month-old boy, who had recently lost his mom and been abandoned by his dad, when he made his appearance at the HOH. Our friends from England, Andy and Carol Brooke, were visiting when Alex first came on the scene. God spoke to their hearts about this precious life, and soon they were knee deep in adoption plans and regulations. It was a terribly long and exhausting six-year process as they waded through all the legal work to make Alex (or Kev — for those of you who remember him from the late 1990s) a part of their family.

Alex has grown into an incredible young man. He finished his schooling in the United Kingdom and will be starting a three-year degree in Product Design at Swansea University in the fall. Alex’s mom and dad (Andy and Carol) reflected on Alex’s journey to adulthood:

“Alex arrived in the UK two weeks before his fifth birthday, in August 2001. We were the first British couple to adopt from Haiti, which is why it took almost four years to complete the process. Alex is 18 now and waiting for his examination results in preparation for university. He’ll be 19 on September 8.

“He has developed into a fine young man and we are really very proud of him, but we will never forget that he had a great start with you (Jenny) and Linda (Felix, HOH Administrator). It was the best start he could have wished for, we reckon, despite his family circumstances. We believe you should be every bit as proud of him as we are. He is really looking forward to our trip to Haiti.”

Their visit was a great time of catching up and relationship building between Alex and the current kids at HOH.  He made an effort to relearn some of his Creole, and in exchange, he taught our HOH boys to play rugby!

While this story is unique because we don’t often do adoptions out of the HOH, we are thankful it was an option for the Brooke family.  We are sharing it to encourage you and your partnership with us in this special work we do of caring for kids who have no other options. HOH has been changing lives just like Alex’s since 1956 and we couldn’t do it if it wasn’t for the support that you give us in so many ways.  Thank you for your help!

Read more about House of Hope here. Subscribe to Jenny’s blog: http://houseofhopehaiti.blogspot.com/.

Det Det’s Journey: First Step, First Grade

Det Det-1
Det Det is flanked by his mother and Erwin, an elder from his church.

Illiteracy is a big problem in the Philippines, especially among the indigent people and those living in remote areas. John Coffey, director of ER partner IT Tender, shares the story of a teenage boy who is working hard to overcome that deficiency in his own life.

By John Coffee, Director, IT Tender

Like many teenage boys, Det Det has big hopes and dreams for his future. Perhaps it’s fitting that his unusual name evokes the word “determination,” for this shy 17-year-old is overcoming bigger challenges than most of us can imagine.

When our staff at IT Tender first met him, Det Det had not completed grade

1 and was unable to even write his own name. Instead of attending school, he spent his days searching through trash piles, looking for recyclable and sellable items, and putting the money he earned toward food for his large family.

Det Det has been part of IT Tender’s Night Life youth program since 2013. Night Life allows children living in local squatter communities to visit a drop-in center, bathe and enjoy a hot, healthy meal.

But we recognized that Det Det needed more help, so in August 2014 we helped him get into Honest Hands, a program run by our partners at Action International.

Every week Det Det travelled to a campus just outside Manila to attend studies and one-on-one tutorials, and be part of a family environment alongside seven other students. Each weekend, he would return to his home along the railway to maintain family relationships in his own home, and attend a local church with staff from IT Tender.

Det Det-2
Det Det proudly holds his certificates at the graduation ceremony for Honest Hands’ basic education program.

Despite many struggles, Det Det completed the course. He now knows the alphabet, is able to write, and has even shown an aptitude for memorizing Bible verses. At his graduation from Honest Hands, Det Det received two awards: One for his commitment in the tutorial sessions, and another for his hard work and commitment to helping others throughout the eight-month program – especially for completing his chores so faithfully and without complaining.

Our staff also recognized Det Det’s perseverance and commitment to learning: We recommended him to be part of IT Tender’s Sponsor-A-Child program. We are pleased to report that Det Det already has a sponsor and is enrolled in grade 1 at a local elementary school near his home. And while he is enrolled in grade 1, he will be sitting in a grade 4 class taught by an IT Tender volunteer, Ana, who has a passion for teaching youth who have previously dropped out of school.

IT Tender is immensely proud of this young man, and we know he will continue to press on with his learning, faith and commitment to living a transformed life.

John Coffey oversees IT Tender, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping Manila-area families struggling with deep poverty.  Learn more about IT Tender. The organization focuses heavily on early education, with the goal of giving at-risk kids the opportunity to succeed early in their school years to encourage them to complete their educations.

Belwop Playground Creates Laughter Among Kenyan Orphans

playground finished 2
By Kim Merrefield, Extreme Women Communications Writer

“Veronica has such a mother’s love for the children. The kids had never been on a swing or slide. She longed for them to connect with each other, and for it to be another step in their healing. I knew we had to help.”

Laughter and smiles fill the playground. Children swinging on the swings yelling “higher!” A little boy grips tight to the monkey bar rocking his body back and forth to grab another bar. A young girl giggles as she slides down the giant twisting slide, screaming “wee!”

playground finished 4All of these sights and sounds seem so common for many of us, but for 41 children in the small town of Nyeri, Kenya, this scene was just a dream.

Kelly McClelland, Director of Women’s Advocacy, recently sat down with Belwop Rescue Center founder Veronica Mumbai. Belwop, which cares for abandoned, abused and orphaned kids, has been an Extreme Response partner for many years. After hearing Veronica’s story and feeling compelled to help, Kelly asked, “If you could dream big, what would be one thing you would desire for the children?”

20150611_173830Veronica told Kelly she dreamt of a playground. A playground where laughter could abide and giggles would be endless. A playground where the children could run and skip and hop. A playground where imagination could flourish and dreams could be built.

“Veronica has such a mother’s love for the children. The kids had never been on a swing or slide. She longed for them to connect with each other, and for it to be another step in their healing. I knew we had to help,” Kelly said.

In early 2015, Kelly and the Extreme Women team set out to accomplish this giant task. Through advocating and fundraising, they were able to not only raise the funds for the playground, but also provide Belwop with additional funds to help with the children’s schooling for the year.

A playground company in Kenya was able to complete the project in just a few days. The playground consists of monkey bars, three slides, a pair of swings, and a jungle gym. The kids are looking forward to enjoying more time on it during their summer break in just a couple months.

finished playground 5“The playground we got through this partnership has brought much excitement to our children, as well as the children of the neighborhood,” Veronica said.

Many thanks to all the generous donors for helping Extreme Response make this dream come true! You are making a difference in these children’s lives!

Kim MerrefieldKim Merrefield manages communications for Extreme Response International’s Extreme Women. ER recognizes that women disproportionately bear the burden of poverty throughout the world. Women living in extreme situations are in desperate need of advocates who will share their stories with leaders and influencers. That is why we’ve established ER’s Extreme Women, an advocacy program created by women to help women in need. 

KellyFor additional information on Extreme Women and how you can get involved, please contact Kelly McClelland at a kmcclelland@extremeresponse.org or visit http://www.extremeresponse.org/our-programs/womens-advocacy.

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This year, Extreme Response is working to rescue more kids from hunger, poverty, human trafficking, homelessness and more. Read ER founder Jerry Carnill’s rescue message here.

Help Extreme Response Rescue More Kids in 2015

At the Quito Family Resource Center, kids of Dump workers receive after school tutoring and a meal.
At the Quito Family Resource Center, kids of Dump workers receive after school tutoring and a meal.

Extreme Conditions Require…an Extreme Response

By Jerry Carnill, ER President and CEO

I write this blog feeling immensely inspired and challenged. On one hand, ER is helping more people in more places than at any time in our 17-year history. We’re seeing tremendous success in changing the lives of people living in great poverty. See our Impact Report for a few highlights.

Beaufort west gril team from july 2014 Feeding program
Kids in Africa are especially vulnerable to hunger and poor nutrition. Feeding programs help change their futures.

On the other hand, we’ve encountered more extreme needs this year than we are able to meet. From the fragile families working for pennies in the Quito Dump to street boys in the Manila Children’s Home to victims of the Nepal earthquakes, we’ve stretched ourselves across 10 countries and three continents to provide hope and help.

As we approach the halfway point in 2015, we are facing a budget shortfall of $150,000. We simply don’t have enough funds to help all the people, especially the children, who we set out to help this year. Yet, we are not discouraged because we’ve seen incredible generosity among ER supporters time and again as we’ve made needs known.

Dan McCann, an ER volunteer and supporter, outlined our challenge this way:

“It’s no secret that children bear the brunt of poverty. From abuse to abandonment to hunger to human trafficking, children are just plain vulnerable. I’ve personally witnessed kids in the Quito Dump go from dirty, sick and hungry to clean, healthy and thriving. I’ve seen Filipino street kids who are embraced and loved at the Manila Children’s Home be restored and reunited with their families. 

“I’ve also visited some of the bleakest slums in Africa – where kids are living in deplorable conditions, and Nepal – where girls are being lured into human trafficking. The good news is ER and its partners are giving these kids hope for the future. But there is much more to do, which is why I’m personally invested in ER’s growth.”

Zambiza girl face painted
ER’s Extreme Teams bring nutrition, education, recreation, health and Christmas to kids in poverty.

Dan and I are inviting you to join us in helping ER change the destinies of a generation of children. We can turn their lives from desperate and dire to hopeful and inspired.

Would you consider making a generous donation to ER in the next 30 days to help us meet these needs? With your help, we can rescue many more kids this year.

To help, please visit ER’s secure Website: www.extremeresponse.org/take-action/make-a-donation. Or, you can send a donation to Extreme Response International at P.O. Box 345, Snellville, GA 30078-0345 in the U.S. and Extreme Response Canada at P.O. Box 1013, Simcoe, ON N3Y 5B3. Please designate your donation “Mid-Year Gift”.

During the next 30 days, we’ll post updates on our Facebook page so you can see how these needs are being met. Thank you for caring about at-risk kids and for supporting Extreme Response!

Please contact me to discuss any of our programs, projects or relationships. I would love to share the way we are changing lives and how you can make a difference!

Serving Together,

Jerry

Jerry Carnill, Extreme ResponseJerry Carnill co-founded Extreme Response in 1997 and now serves as President and CEO. Contact Jerry at jcarnill@extremeresponse.org.