Friday, November 21, 2014

Charity Run in Germany

                             Charity Run
 Hello, dear friends

On September 16th, the Max-Schmeling-School in Hamburg, Germany, organized a charity run. The weather was sunny and pleasant, ideal for running. We had 35 students from two 4th grade classes from the Elementary School Oejendorfer Damm in Hamburg, Germany join us. About 650 students from our school participated in this charity run. Both students and teachers did a great job of running, everybody thoroughly enjoyed this event! The school record was a combined 33,812 km run in 4.5 hours which translates into 21,009 miles.

Hallo, liebe Freunde,
am Dienstag, dem 16 September, hat die MSS (Max-Schmeling- Stadtteilschule ) einen Charity Lauf gemacht.
Das Wetter war sonnig und angenehm, ideal zum laufen. Wir hatten 2 vierte  Klassen von der Schule Öjendorfer Damm zu Gast. Sie kamen mit 35 Schülern. Von unserer Schule haben ungefähr 650 Schüler teilgenommen.
Die Schüler und einige Lehrer sind wunderbar und mit Freuden gelaufen. Der Schulrekord war 33,812 km in viereinhalb Stunden.

Benjamin, Aleksandra, Rosana, Ayla, Wiktoria, Pascal, Furkan and Denis (Students from grade 7)

Friday, November 14, 2014

Two New Ambassadors

In October 2014, Jake (9) and Luke (7) Smith visited Achungo along with their parents, Nate and Jen.  They had already involved the students at their school, Oak Knoll in Menlo Park.  And they knew they'd have stories to tell on their return, but no one expected this family to take the story of Achungo so far so fast.

I think the first thing they did was get their little brothers interested.  Sammy and Micah came to the first team meeting and seemed just totally enthralled!

Here are the 4-year-olds at the bottom of the picture on the left.  Until that moment I never realized they could sit so still or pay so much attention to anything!!

Next these energetic and enterprising boys held a lemonade stand on a number of occasions to raise money for their trip to visit the children at Achungo.

At the same time, they were mobilizing others.  Jen led her mothers group ("Mothers Together" at Menlo Park Presbyterian) to get new backpacks for the Achungo 8th graders (picture at left) and fill them with school materials and other gifts.  Their aunt Leslye designed some lovely Zazzle T-shirts for each 8th grader.

 And the students in Jake's and Luke's classes wrote letters to the students at Achungo which Jake and Luke took to them during their visit.  They've brought back return letters from Achungo and their classes are thrilled to have begun a pen pal program with these children in Kenya!

In the photo on the left the Achungo students are excited to receive their letters and are working on their return letters.

And in this picture the Achungo 8th graders are receiving the wonderful backpacks!

Yes, the backpacks made it to Kenya.  And on their return, Jake and Luke made sure their fellow students at Oak Knoll knew about it!

The picture to the right is from the door to Luke's classroom with the pictures of the children of Achungo receiving the backpacks.

Jake and Luke not only shared with their classes but gave a presentation over the video news program at their school, sharing the wonderful experience they had with the children of Achungo and how much they all valued the backpacks.

Below are the notes from their talks.  They talk about how the Achungo children seemed to have so little but were the happiest kids they'd ever met.  What a wonderful representation of how the experience of Achungo changes us and impacts our lives!!

Thanks, Jake and Luke!

Video of Jake and Luke at Oak Knoll School, Menlo Park

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Grassroots Neighborhood Fundraising

Returning home one Saturday afternoon I found a basket at our door with $9.50 of cash and a note:
"this is from our lemonade stand and it is for the orphans; from Neekie, Bella, Max, Grace, Fiona and Phillip".
I was floored!

We live in a small neighborhood and I knew these kids were my neighbors.  Apparently Neekie (10) organized this herself--and it was a well-organized enterprise!

Here she is (on the far right) with her friends (from left:  Fiona, Grace, Max and Bella).

Since then they have held other lemonade stands and mailbox washes and even car washes with Phillip biking around the neighborhood to solicit interest.  At the lemonade stand above they had a menu of options that included a slushee (on order, Neekie would run inside and get her mother to make one in the blender) or for about 5 cents you could pet their sweet Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Sky (in the background near the potted plant).

Neekie's mother, Fojan, tells us that she's cleaning out her closet to find clothes to send to the Kenyan orphans and is quite motivated in all this.  Last month she invited us to present to the students at her school, Bowman International School in Palo Alto.  Neekie introduced me to her fellow students!

Neekie was a keynote speaker at our annual Achungo Tea event in December and made sure to drag her friends on-stage with her to be interviewed.  It was truly the highlight of the event.