The radically generous, Stapleton’s eldest son Joshua is raising money for college and would appreciate any donation you can give. The Stapletons are passionate about missionary work their entire lives, dedicating their time and resources to the Lily of the Valley Orphanage located in Kwa-Zulu-Natal, South Africa. This place and this family are both very close to our hearts and we would appreciate any support you can give. Joshua hopes to learn and develop skills that will give him the tools to give back to his own community after school. However, this dream will only become a reality through our support and there is no more deserving family in my mind than the Stapletons.
Please donate through Joshua’s GoFundMe or if you’d like to donate directly to the university, you may donate on our site as 100% of your donation will be directed to his tuition.
Julia and the Song’s
Click here to support Josh’s University Fund organised by Andrew Garlick
My Story My name is Joshua Stapleton – I am 18 years old and live in South Africa. My parents run an HIV/AIDS orphanage in Kwa-Zulu-Natal called Lily…
Nic Addison, CEO of iKhethelo Children’s Villiage, with three teens visit our CT volunteer team. Pictured: Eberwein family with Puleng, Wonder, and Asanda.
We look forward to hearing her updates on progress made with the Lily of the Valley Orphanage girls.
Mike and Lori are heading to Lily of the Valley Orphanage, S. Africa tomorrow for at least 2 years! Seated in the center of this photo are Mike and Lori Rosenbauer who volunteered for 6 months at Lily Orphanage in 2014 and decided these orphans need consistency and commitment from caretakers and are heading back.
Mike will be Lily’s Manager; he will be responsible for 100+ orphans as well as managing all volunteers. Lori will be teaching preschool and focusing on early childhood development.
Surrounding Mike and Lori are the CT volunteer team to Lily of the Valley Orphanage- past, present and future volunteers. We are planning another volunteer team to Lily this summer!
Columbia Business School volunteers at Lily of the Valley Orphanage. The team presented a financial model and presentation outlining reasons to invest in Lily, focusing on:
1. Positive economic impact
2. Better quality of life for the children
3. A sustainable nonprofit model
This semester these three MBA students (Gina, Eivind, Amy) are pro bono consulting for Lily of the Valley orphanage in South Africa!
Some of the previous volunteers that we have served with at Lily, (Charles, Katey, Phil) joined us to introduce Lily and thank them for committing their time and talents for this semester-long project.
The Tuesday before Thanksgiving 25 Greenwich High School students spent most of their evening delivering donations of Thanksgiving dinner to families in Greenwich and Stamford. The Diddel family organized Baskets from Heaven 22 years ago. This year 265 baskets, each filled with enough food to feed 30, were hand delivered with much joy!
Delighted to introduce Nic Addison, Chairman of Lily of the Valley- S. Africa to Trinity Church, Greenwich this weekend. Nic started his career in Corporate Finance in the US and across the last 20 years has led an effort to break the AIDS orphan cycle in KwaZuluNatal, S. Africa. Pictured below some of this summer's volunteer team to S. Africa. Contact us if you'd be interested in teaching for 6 months or more at Lily Orphanage.
This Summer our team from CT and NYC visited the Makaphutu Orphanage touring the grounds with CEO and visionary, Nic Addison. Nic together with his wife, Melissa has spent 8 years working in KwaZulu-Natal, the HIV/Aids epicenter of the world. He is the chairman of LOV and co-leads a comprehensive initiative aimed at breaking the aids cycle. Makaphutu is a small orphanage of 40 children. Their leadership team and CEO work very closely with the Lily of the Valley Orphanage hoping to bring great change to their communities at large. They are committed to creating loving, sustainable communities. We are excited to welcome Nic to CT/NY this October where he will share updates of his orphanage in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Please see the link below giving you a more complete virtual experience of the amazing work taking place within the village of Makaphutu. For the last three years our family has visited both orphanages in S. Africa and we encourage anyone who may be interested volunteering to please reach out to us!
2013 Summer with Nic Addison touring Makaphutu Orphanage.
Our 2013 Volunteer team has left Lily of the Valley Orphanage in South Africa. The next team of volunteers is there now. Photos of our time there can be accessed through the following link… Enjoy! https://www.dropbox.com/sh/b14nhtj19n2xpe4/EiogNS0VFI
The Lilly orphans who were selected by families here in America are always thrilled with the notes and care packages which we are able to hand deliver with volunteers who head back to Lily Orphanage every year. Witnessing the impact of your gifts to the Lily children is so encouraging and makes the Life Changers program so special.
Christmas miracle for Lily Orphanage Staff! They were told there wasn't enough money for a Christmas bonus this year. A number of big hearted friends contributed and we are sending $10,875 and encouraging notes to show our love. Merry Christmas to all!
Our family has been working with other volunteers on the business plan and expansion of Valley Fresh, the produce business of Lily of the Valley Orphanage. Our goal is to grow the business in order for Lily of the Valley Orphanage to be self sustaining.
Thrilled to report Phase 2 has begun with construction of another greenhouse as well as open field plantings of seedlings. Nearly 35 staff (including maintenance, Valley Fresh employees, management, volunteers and children teamed up to plant nearly 14, 000 seedllings!
Our kids were delighted to be the first customers of bags made by the young ladies at the orphanage! This sewing program promises to be an opportunity for children to earn income and learn trade skills for the future. Rachelle, pictured in the middle, is a 6 month volunteer from Canada who has used her sewing skills to set up this thriving program for the girls. Thando and Mbali, on the left of the photo, are sisters at the orphanage who were wonderfully encouraged when we purchased their bags. Our girls were thrilled to be part of entrepreneurship at it's finest! To date, the girls have sold several dozen bags.
Our commitment to educating each of the orphans includes life skills education-rather than academics alone,teaching trade skills for future employment and independence.
"Educating a generation of orphans one child at a time."
This summer our family hosted Nkosi, a teenager from Lily Orphanage in South Africa to visit us here in the US, his first travels outside of the orphanage. He and others at Lily Orphanage are a generation of children who are, for the first time, surviving HIV and aging out of the orphanage. They need life skills to lead independent lives. Life Changers is a project to sponsor the education of each of the 120 + Lily of the Valley orphans. The education could be academic for some and trade skills (farming, raising livestock, craft making) for others. Besides a financial contribution to a child, the relationship is so important. Most of these children have little chance of adoption, so the relationship of Life Changers offers a child a commitment to their future through a relationship with a sponsor-sending letters and financial support and providing hope for their future.
A team of volunteers travels back to Lily Orphanage in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa every summer. Our family is planning our return trip again in 2013. We invite you to open up your heart and life to a vulnerable child and you too, might be powerfully impacted.
This year our family volunteered with YoungLife in Santiago, Dominican Republic with underpriveged youth living in inner city slums and a special needs orphanage. These volunteer days were some of the most challenging of our year. We paid for 10 of these children to experience summer camp for the first time-they were thrilled with the rare escape to a quiet and green retreat with other children . Pico Escondido is a summer camp for teens living in urban poverty. It costs $65 to send a disadvantaged teen for 1 week of camp.
January 28, 2012- Dominican Republic- A most challenging day
"Spending the day with severely disabled children in the Dominican Republic was one of the most difficult days for our family. When we arrived at the facility that cares for abandoned and severely disabled children, they clung onto us and begged us to take them out. Most of the children were limited in their mobility, and Ken and Stephen linked shoulders with some of the children in order to walk alongside them. The din of moaning and crying throughout our time in the facility was very upsetting. I brought bags of donated nail polishes since we were told the children spend most of their days in their cots. I thought the bright colors on their fingernails would be a happy diversion for them to look at as well as a tangible way for me to demonstrate care and love to them as we sat together, holding hands and applying the polish. Julia and I carefully untwisted their curled fingers and asked questions though we received no responses due to their inability to communicate. We tried to be cheerful and show affection as we gave them manicures and pedicures. I have to believe that we were able to demonstrate care in our simple act of making contact and spending time with them.
Our team (5 others along with our family) rented a van and we took 4 of these teens out for a pizza lunch and arcade excursion. Ken and Stephen were drenched in sweat from struggling to get them in and out of wheelchairs and the van. These teens were so excited that they got dressed up for the excursion. Our only experience with special needs children are those who have loving families, completely devoted to providing them every opportunity for a fulfilled life. These children, however, are without a family and therefore fully dependent on others. I considered the spectrum of how we value others by superficial qualities and accomplishments and recognized that their life would be incredibly difficult because they are alone. By the end of the day spent getting to know them, I realized what they were able to affect in me: patience, appreciation for their efforts and joy in every one of their accomplishments.
“Success is to be measured not so much by the position that has been reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed” Booker T. Washington"
I was asked to write “How to Volunteer as a Family” article. it has been an illuminating and inspiring year and well worth any perceived sacrifice. We are delighted that we now know a few families who are planning similar trips this summer. Hope my article below details the process to encourage others to consider a trip too.
Every year a team of volunteers travels from NYC to Lily Orphanage in South Africa. This time last year, our family arrived at Lily and I recall as a mother, I was deeply moved by the 120 orphans who were born into a seemingly impossible situation and humbled by the selfless individuals who chose to care for these vulnerable children. Our first week at Lily, I asked a boy to leave the dishes he was washing and join the kids who were playing. He was excessively grateful. I remember shedding tears while washing those dishes recalling the hundreds of times we, as parents instinctively care for our kids throughout the day and realizing there are so many children who are completely dependent on the kindness of strangers to help raise them. Certainly our family could devote our attention to these kids this year.
Thankfully, Nkosi travelled well on this first time travelling on an airplane. They are now "family" as we've introduced them to Grandpa and Grandma Song and Korean food. So funny that they were excited to see a chipmunk on our driveway. When we were in South Africa we were excited to see warthogs and rhinos.
Brendan (CEO of Lily Orphanage), his wife, Suzy, and Nkosi, a teen orphan at Lily have begun their long 27+ hour journey from Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa to JFK airport. We've travelled this gruelling itinerary 4 times as a family this year and are thinking of Nkosi who will be seeing an airplane and flying such a long distance for his first flight. He has never travelled much further than Lily Orphanage so this trip to NYC and CT is beyond his imagination. Our family has been getting ready for their arrival to our home with such anticipation- we've been painting rooms, redecorating and trying to make everything special for our friends. We earnestly want Nkosi's first vacation to be wonderful!
Julia writes: 20 years ago mom and dad got engaged at the top of Diamond Head in Hawaii. I know this year especially, they have been reflecting on how their lives have evolved across the last twenty years.
Hawaii is our final destination for this "year of travel". Ken's cousin, Fay's wedding to Sean, a Hawaiian, prompted 50 family members worldwide to celebrate a wedding and enjoy family in Honolulu. This year has been about valuing relationships and we couldn't have imagined a more perfect way to end our year than to spend time enjoying family in gorgeous Hawaii!
20 years ago
Pico Escondido is a summer camp and a rare escape to a quiet and green retreat for a teen living in urban poverty. It costs $65 to send a disadvantaged teen for 1 week of camp. During the week, we worked with Julia Veloz who serves the disadvantaged Santiago teens. Her tireless enthusiasm and goodness is beautiful.
Josefina’s first loan was for $400 and she has now doubled her income. Her 24 year old son was once a World Vision sponsored child and her goal is to earn enough money to purchase a house which costs around $70,000.
Our family met our World Vision sponsored children and their families! Our teenagers chose a child their own age to sponsor when they were 6 and 7 and now, 8 years later, we met them! Our kids were struck with how similar they were to themselves- their interest, hopes, and how our small monthly contribution of $35 made such a difference in their lives.
Stephen's sponsored child, Anderson, lives in a remote area next to the border of Haiti. Stephen was sympathetic to Anderson's schooling situation- Without a birth certificate, he is now unable to attend school so he has been home this year. We learned that many children do not have birth certificates and are therefore not eligible to attend school.
Julia’s sponsored child, Mireny lives in the city, Santa Domingo.
Mireny and her mother are stunning. Throughout our time visiting various needy communities, we noticed that World Vision sponsored children appeared well presented and cared for. I assume that the additional monetary support provides a meaningful difference in those children’s lives.
Our teenagers joined over 30 other teens from our local community this December break to serve underprivileged children and the elderly in Jamaica through maintenance work (pouring a roof and painting a trailer) and providing games, sports and music for a youth camp. Our teenagers were greatly impacted by the love and fellowship of their peers as they served others, together.
Some of you have expressed an interest in identfying local volunteer opportunities. Although our family is is committing this rare block of time to travel to remote areas internationally, there are many impactful local nonprofits that could benefit from additional volunteers. Over 8 Years ago, a group of us CT HBS alumni started Harvard Community Partners CT to provide pro bono consulting to CT nonprofits. I enjoy working with this group of big hearted consultants who donate so much of their time and expertise to support our local nonprofits. Our Community Partners has had the privilege of working with many commendable Connecticut nonprofits which are listed below.
Our family served this summer in South Africa at an orphanage for over 100 children affected by HIV/ AIDS. Each of us was blessed witnessing how God’s love can transform even the most grim of circumstances. The donations and care were so appreciated by these vulnerable children but surprisingly, they seemed most grateful that we came-that people from far away cared enough about them and their plight to work alongside them. We have decided as a family to step out in faith and out of our comfort zone and commit to serve in various overseas nonprofits for the next 12 months. Given the fact that Ken can take time from his credit hedge fund work and our two older kids will only be at home for a few more years, we felt it was an opportune time to serve at organizations that have long term impact.
Stephen described the jump as “thrilling and memorable” and said, “You know it’s safe”. His confidence resonated with me as our family pledges to continue our volunteer work for the next year. We are obeying and taking the steps of faith to go and serve. We know He will be with us so I too, aspire to leap forward with zeal.
If you want happiness for an hour- take a nap. If you want happiness for a day- go fishing. If you want happiness for a month- get married. If you want happiness for a year- inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime-help someone else. Chinese Proverb
Stephen has been coaching some children in CT chess this year. He played competitive chess for years- he was ranked top 20 in the UK when we lived in London. I stopped playing with him once he could beat me blind (he'd play blindfolded, I would call out my moves and he memorized the board). I have been impressed with his patience and success engaging players of all skill levels. He is a wonderful teacher- for chess as well as when he has been helping his youngest sister with schoolwork. This year has afforded us an opportunity to recognize our natural abilities.
While lunch was served, the family’s chicken casually strolled in and out of the house. They had no running water or electricity but the family prepared a lavish meal for 30 volunteers.
Janice, a dentist and volunteer in our team, provided checkups and treatment (including extractions) for every child at Lily and in the local community. Without hesitation, she tirelessly treated patients with highly communicable diseases.
Stephen cautiously approaching a baboon. This interaction had us all laughing!
Walking out to the precipice of the Falls. Truly one of the 7 wonders of the world.
Lynn is chef of the MoMA cafe so we organized a "cooking day " for the older girls. We were impressed by how they all enthusiastically helped chop up and cook the food and also clean up without any prompting.
The young ladies of Lily were so loving. After our cooking session, the girls asked if they could each take a plate of food. Each took their meal outside to share with the other children. There were no leftovers, everything was devoured.
Huffington Post reports Lynn volunteering at Lily
The Waltons have 3 boys and an adopted So. African girl who spanned the ages of our kids. Their model of excellence in delivery of care, business practices and mission is impressive and offers tremendous benefits for Lily and the community.
Brian has landscaping experience and led our team to transform an entrance to Lily. They worked with a few locals and gave their snacks to them after we learned that they usually make-do without lunch and have only 2 meals a day.
Our kids sprang into action and devoted their days completely and joyfully to serving through music, arts and crafts and sports. I found our days exhausting and confess that I oftentimes wanted to retreat under a tree and take a break. I was so grateful that our kids didn’t feel the same- they spent every moment of their days dedicated to the children we served. They played joyfully, listened intently and generously spent their days serving others.
Ken and I have never been more proud of them.
There is 70% unemployment in the area so bags of food are regularly provided for the community. LIly’s reach is beyond their orphanage and into the local community.
Our team offered daily classes for adults and some locals walked over an hour and a half each way. They eagerly sought to gain advice on how to start a business.
The finance team was one of the hardest working groups I've encountered. Phil lead the team through weekly planning session before our arrival to LIly as well as every evening during our time at Lily.
An abundance of beauty product donations allowed us to pamper the women and girls of Lily with multiple days of beauty.
The team shared their gifts of patience and joyfulness as they energetically and enthusiastically kept so many children entertained throughout the days. There were only 3 of them and it was remarkable how they worked tirelessly to engage so many children for so many hours. I confess, I was exhausted just watching them!
We worked alongside a group of generous and talented people who all gave up precious vacation days to help others. We are so impressed with this generation of 20 and 30 year olds who instinctively think global and commit to projects that will make a difference in our world. Meeting these new friends was one of our blessings from this volunteer experience.
Helping Jack organize eyeglasses for the kids.
So grateful to Lia and Jack who provided eye exams and glasses for the children at Lily. We saw one child receive glasses and see clearly for the first time in her life!
Many boys played barefoot and some played with one shoe since they shared a single pair with one another!
Even our littlest one found many ways to show her affection towards the children at Lily.
We felt His provision immediately upon arriving at Lily of the Valley orphanage. A wooden swing slammed into our little one, narrowly missing her eye. Thankfully we had two volunteer optometrists serving with us who were able to care for her and ensure that her vision was intact.
Our first day and the Lily kids couldn’t wait to meet all the new visitors. Our family stayed in one of the homes in the compound so we were very much a part of their daily routines.
Within hours of arriving at Lily, there was a brush fire which our team rushed over and beat back with branches before it reached the compound. This was unlike any trip we had taken.
Over 40 bags filled with medical supplies, clothing, shoes, cosmetics, sports and arts and crafts equipment were brought over by our team. Our family filled around 10 bags with donations from many of our friends- sincere thanks!