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.
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/
Charles, Molly, and Darla, the first few members of our volunteer group, headed out to Lily of the Valley Orphanage this morning! All three volunteers were saddled with 100 lbs each of donations, including school supplies and clothing, that we are bringing to the orphanage. These volunteers will spend the next weeks teaching at the orphanage and making a huge impact in the lives of these children. To stay updated on our trip, follow us on Twitter at @TabghaLove where we will be tweeting live!
Christy (far left) volunteered at Lily of the Valley Orphanage and was so moved by her experience she decided to leave NY as a social worker for the disabled and relocate to S Africa to help raise the 100+ orphans at Lily. She's been on Lily's staff for the last 3 years and our family has witnessed the impact of her commitment to the teenagers at Lily. These are the first generation of kids leaving the orphanage and they need life skills, so Christy used her baking skills to start a bakery and teach them the ins and outs of running a small business.
Aquaponics is a form of sustainable agriculture that consists of a self-contained, closed loop system containing fish, chickens, vegetables, and fruit trees. The fish tanks contain 50 fish each which fertilize the water via their waste. This fertilized water is then pumped through a series of growing beds, planted with vegetables, as well as eco lagoons, planted with food for the fish and poultry. The plants are nourished by the impurities in the water, taking them out before the water returns to the fish tanks. The primary function of the fish is to fertilize water for the vegetables, but they are also harvested as another source of food.
This model is self-contained and highly efficient in both the economic and environmental perspective; we estimate that it will save 65% on our food budget for the 2 households it provides for in the Children's Village, and it uses 90% less water than traditional agricultural methods.
Our son, Stephen was successful in securing a $20K grant for Lily of the Valley Orphanage in S. Africa for 2013. The 2013 investment is being used to install an aquaponics system for food for the orphanage. Aquaponics is a system of simultaneously growing vegetables and farming fish. They are also incorporating a chicken/egg component. This is a pilot project to calculate what percentage of the nutritional requirement of a household can be produced with an investment of $10,000 so that we might add additional modules to the system to provide an even higher level of self sustainability. We are so impressed that Brendan Stapleton, the CEO of Lily is investing in a system which may provide longer term benefits of not only the food but career opportunities for the children of Lily.
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.
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.
Nkosi is doing well. After his visit to CT this summer, Brendan, the CEO, reports that “Nkosi is changed. He is more confident now”. Nkosi wants to become a police officer which requires graduating from high school, getting a driver’s license ($300), and 1 year of police training. In the last few weeks, Nkosi has toured the local police station in South Africa, spoken with police officers and has a goal. It is awesome that Nkosi had the opportunity to visit America and now feels so important since he was recently featured in the Greenwich Time newspaper.
"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.
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.
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
We plan to devote time enjoying our beloved Grandparents this year. We went with Grandma on a guided tour and pilgrimage to Israel with 40 other Americans this Fall. We were amazed by the historical significance of the many sights. We now have a personal appreciation for the challenges that the people face daily in that region and a heartfelt desire for peace. Ken's mom joined us on this trip and the bonding and appreciation of her by our teens was wonderful to witness! Although our tour group was impressed that she taught Benjamin Netanyahu's younger brother, Iddo during his medical training, our kids seemed more impressed with her stamina keeping up with them in the more rigorous trails like Hezekiah's Tunnel. Many in our tour group were grandparents who have children my age and grandchildren our kids' ages. I appreciated their sage perspective and wistful memories of raising teenagers which reminded me that the time our children are home with us is precious.
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.
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.
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.
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.