Hello dear ones!!
First of all, W-O-W.
I can hardly believe the outpouring of kindness, love and acceptance that has come our way due to my last post. This has been and continues to be an audience we just cherish so much.
Our hearts just kept expanding more and more with emotion and gratitude as the weekend and days continued. We’d go on a walk, and then come back to more beautiful comments. LOVED your questions, by the way. It was really meaningful to converse back and forth here on the blog and on Facebook. Thank you for that round table and feeling of community. I listened to Mormon hymns while writing you!
Today, Danny and I have a delightful announcement and we hope you like it!!!
And so today, I am giddy to announce that we’ll be hosting a project for us all for the holiday season!!!
We found a girls’ orphanage here in Cuenca, Ecuador, in the “old town” of Cuenca: Hogar Miguel Leon Orphanage. They house 31 girls, from 1 month old to 18 years of age, many whom have been abandoned or abused. They are raised by the most lovely nuns, like this one, who has raised orphans for 20 years! The orphanage also cares for 65 elderly women (abuelitas) whom would otherwise be homeless.
From now until the end of December, we thought it would be such a gift if we all could help provide them with some of their most urgent needs:
- All 31 girls are badly in need of shoes and some clothes.
- The 65 elderly abuelitas need some sweatsuits as they are too cold here in the Andes.
-A Holiday Dinner for the Girls and Abuelitas on December 12
-Materials and Support To Train the Girls in Reading, Computers, the English Language, Cooking, Sewing, Artisan Crafts (they have no education and need ANY skills for possible income potential)
-Self-Esteem Classes (so very needed!)
-Sex Education (sooo needed here!)
-Books for the Orphanage (until recently there wasn’t even one book on the property for the girls!)
-First Aid Classes
-A Big Meal Every Saturday (once a week they give the girls a meal more nutritious than rice and potatoes, which is their normal diet during the week.)
-A Job Placement Program (for the girls who are turning 18)
-A Halfway House (for the girls who are turning 18)
Two Ways You Can Help:
**1. Do Your Holiday Shopping Through Our Site!!**
Websites can receive a commission if someone buys an item by clicking a link on your site.
We plan to donate 100% of those commissions to the orphanage between now and Dec. 31, 2015!!
All you have to do is make your holiday purchases by clicking these links, below. (These links are coded so they can track purchases back to this site). We’ll receive a commission percentage varying up to 12% of your sale.
So easy, right?! Friends, this feels like free money and I think it could really add up if many joined in! And it could just add an extra spark of joy and purpose as you do your holiday shopping:
|Amazon||American Apparel||Frye Boots||Lego|
|Apple Store||Emerson Fry||Sole Society||Polarn O. Pyret|
|Barnes & Noble||Forever 21||Vans||Toys R Us|
|Bed, Bath & Beyond||Joe Fresh||Health & Beauty||Miscellaneous|
|Booking.com||Need Supply||iHerb.com||Design Within Reach|
|Macy’s||Patagonia||Sephora||Harry & David|
|Zappos||Uniqlo||Vine.com||Sur La Table|
There is a local non-profit called Ecuador Cares that recently got set up to orchestrate all the classes, Saturday meals, training, job placement program, and halfway house for the older girls (these initiatives wouldn’t happen otherwise). It was started by a fellow American expat here who is my neighbor and happens to be one of my all time favorite women I’ve ever met. Her name is Diane Lenz and she has dedicated her retirement to helping orphanages.
You can send a donation directly to Ecuador Cares HERE.
(Leave a note under “Special Instructions” and write ‘A BLOG ABOUT LOVE’ so we can track the donations.)
Diane’s past life: working in NYC in tech on Wall Street as well as raising millions to buy computers for NYC kids in need. She organized a system where Wall Street techs were bussed into schools to train kids (!) She is a REMARKABLE woman. She is most passionate about children, economic empowerment, education, human rights, and poverty alleviation. She has organized (from scratch) a team of volunteers here who are helping to feed, nurture, emotionally care for, and teach life skills to these orphan girls before they turn 18. She’s doing all she can to stop the cycle of poverty and help these girls be qualified for jobs. Before she came on the scene, there was not one single book on the property for the 31 girls!
Diane once told me this: “Helping kids is just what I do and have always done.”
And it wasn’t until much later that I learned this:
Diane was an orphan herself! And due to her circumstances, she got pregnant at a young age.
I have no words. Just a lump in my throat. And a heart that bursts with admiration for this woman.
Send a donation directly to Ecuador Cares HERE.
If you’d like to do a little research, read this detailed article about Diane and Ecuador Cares. And listen to the most heart warming radio interview with Diane where she discusses the needs and the efforts.
NOTE: The only overhead for Ecuador Cares is $100 per month for an accountant! Every other cent goes to the girls as the non-profit Board and volunteers give their time, phones, gas, taxis, and office space for free.
They each have a silverware pouch:
This is where they wash many of the clothes by hand.
Without training and education, their cycle of poverty will continue. The grave reality for them here will be prostitution and selling candy on the streets, which will lead to pregnancies and the next generation of orphans.