Creation of Hope


February 2015 Update

General

Feb1

Our vehicle has recently been ‘branded’ as the program name has been placed on the van.  The van is used for driving the children, getting supplies for the orphanage and distributing food and supplies on distribution dates to orphans in the community.  In addition we have ‘rented’ the vehicle out on occasion (along with our driver) and this has been an income source for the orphanage.

Feb2

The trees you see bordering the yard of the Mbooni AIC Secondary School were planted because of a donation by Lisa Farlow – one of our sponsors – who also spent three months volunteering at the school.  They have grown from little saplings to become what Ruth calls ‘Lisa’s Forest’.

Feb3

This is our friend and fellow children’s writer Margriet Ruurs from Salt Spring Island BC along with Ruth.  The picture was taken when Margriet and her friend Rosemary visited the program for a night recently in February.  They brought bags of clothes and supplies for our kids and had a lovely visit at Hope.

For the past 2 years we have been attempting to purchase a piece of land adjacent to our orphanage to use as a play area for the children.  We have the funds available – kindly raised by a school and held in our accounts – but have been unable to complete the purchase.  Land is a very emotional and psychological issue in Kenya.  People have often been on that same piece of land not just for generations but for literally thousands of years so possessing, and sales, become more problematic.

We have been given an ‘offer’ to purchase the land at more than three times what the property is worth.  Sometimes people in the community feel that they can request prices that are far above community standards as they see ‘outside’ money.  We have made a point of not paying above community standards because this can produce a series of escalating prices for other items.  If we pay more for the land than it is worth, other people selling other things to us – food, mattresses, goats – will attempt to charge us more.

While we continue to pursue this, the matter might be resolved potentially in the summer when I’m able to attend and try to negotiate in person.  We will keep you up to date as this issue continues to evolve.

School Donations

February 23, 2015

Dear Eric Walters,

We are Ms. Handa’s Grade 4 class from Carruthers Creek P.S. in Ajax.  We were inspired by your book, My Name is Blessing, so we decided to put kindness into action. 

On February 18th, we held our Kind Kids Care Bake Sale to raise money for your Creation of Hope foundation.  We were hoping to raise $50 to purchase a goat BUT instead we raised $384.95!!!

We would like to donate this money to your foundation.  Perhaps you could purchase a goat, or anything else that is needed, for the orphanages in Kenya.  We look forward to hearing from you.  Thanks for writing such wonderful books that inspire us!

Sincerely,

Ms. Handa’s Grade 4 class (aka – Kind Kids who Care 😉

This donation from Ms. Handa’s class is being used to support the Rolling Hills Residence for 4 days.

Feb4

St. Jean De Brebeuf donated $170.10 to be used for a day of support and to help subsidize the food distribution.

St. Jean De Brebeuf

One of our Kindergarten teachers, conducted a program call “Don’t Count the Day’s Make the Day’s Count”. All the students from grade JK-8 recorded their kind deeds for 20 consecutive days in the month of December.  These were recorded on a calendar provided to each student.  The primary students could use pictures and or words to communicate their kind deed while the older students were given the opportunity to reflect and record their kind deeds. Upon completion of the calendar, the students were encouraged to push their kind deeds even further and donate 10 cents to Creation of Hope for each written kind deed.  This worked out to be a total donation of $2.00 per child. The children were aware of where their money was going and the many children it would help.

Laura Cupello principal

This money was used to provide for one day of support for the Rolling Hills Residence and to supplement the food distribution day

St. Mary Choir School donated $20.00 to be used for 2 blankets

Individual Donations

Susan Woodruff donated money to provide for one day of support for the program.

Greg and Karen Tyrala donated for one day of support.

Connor a student at Black River P.S. donated $50.00

Joanne a teacher at St. Francis C.S. in London made a donation for one day of support

Jacob a student at St. Mary’s Choir School donated for a blanket

Luke, Sarah and Rachel at St. Mary’s gave $5.00 each.

Billy a student at Stoneybrook gave $12.00 to be used for a uniform.

Marian Bakker donated money to be used for  two days of support

Thank you Signs

Feb5

 

Feb6

 

Feb7

 

Feb8

 

Feb9

Days of Support

A $100 donation provides for food for all 55 children, their routine medical care, school supplies, the salaries of the driver, night watchman, tutor, cook, matron and caretaker, the electricity, sanitation and water for the entire building.

Feb10

 

Feb11

 

Feb12

Distribution Days

Every month we distribute food and supplies to the orphans in the community.  While the majority of this is funded by our sponsors there is always a deficiency and this was offset by a donation from St. Jean De Brebeuf.

Feb14

Educational Sponsors

Many programs support a child until they turn 18, graduate high school or leave school.  We feel that in many cases this is like pushing a car half way up the hill.  It simply rolls back down.  We have made a commitment to provide education for each child in our program, regardless of age.  We are hopeful that each orphan will ultimately possess either a university or college degree or a specific trade.

Our children have continued to do exceptionally well and have qualified for more academically challenging high school placements and post-secondary placements.  We now have 55 children – 2 in university and 2 in community college – and 7 awaiting post-secondary placements.  The cost of education has in many cases exceeded the funds donated by sponsors.  We never have expected that sponsors increase their monthly donations to cover these costs.  Instead we have decided that sometimes ‘it takes a village’ and we have also involved an educational sponsor to help pay for some of the cost.

February is the start of the school year.  Below are some of the students, supported by either regular sponsor and an educational sponsor together or completely by their regular sponsor.

Feb15

Marina is helping to fund her education along with her regular sponsor Gisela

Feb16

Gail is an educational sponsor helping to support Gloria’s education along with her regular sponsor Cindy Sisti

Feb17

This is Wanza heading off to school – each child starting school in Grade 9 needs to bring with them a ‘start up’ kit to the school.  Wanza, who qualified to go to a national school, is supported in her education by her ongoing sponsors Jessica and Chris Patrick and her educational sponsors Susan and Doug Roberts.

Feb18

Another one of your students, sponsored by Fred, going off to a National school.  Quite the accomplishment – something that wouldn’t be possible without the support of Fred.

Feb19

Michael is supported by his sponsor Dale Clark and his educational sponsor Lindsay Farlow.

Feb20

Barb and Cam Miller are supporting Mutinda as he goes to a technical college to train to be a mechanic.

Feb21

Mary’s sponsor is Lucy Falcone. They met in 2012.  Geri and Don Moroney are helping to support the costs of Mary’s school this year.

Feb22

Nzisa is supported by Wanjiku Njorge and this semester St. Mildred Lightbourne students helped to support Nzisa’s tuition costs.

Feb23

This is Joseph Mutuku headed off to Form 1 with his start up kit.  His sponsor is Jason Laking and extra costs were covered in memory of Mrs. Kay.

Feb24

Jackson is heading off to Form 1 as well.  He met his sponsors the Halls when they visited in 2013.

Feb25

 

Feb26

Marc Stevens is the sponsor for Mwendwa David and Stephanie Macmanus for John.  Stephanie and her children met John in a visit in 2012.

Feb27

Emmanuel Baptist church is helping to pay the educational costs for Kelvin who is supported on an ongoing basis by Sandi and Brett Hall

Sponsors

Our sponsors often send parcels to their child.  We try to show them a picture of the child holding the objects when they are received.  Here are some of those pictures.

Feb28

 

Feb29

Muthina receiving a parcel from her sponsor Barb.  Barb visited with Muthina at her home in 2012.

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January 2015 Update

General

This has been an exciting month when our students graduating from Grade 8 start to receive notice as to which schools they have been accepted into.  We are very proud to announce that two of our students, Wanza and Wayua have been admitted to Mbooni Girls School – a National School!   This is an incredible accomplishment to be admitted to the highest level of high school in Kenya.  We have six more students awaiting placement news.

Schools Donations

Jan1

This donation from A. Vito Martinez is being used to provide two days of support for the Rolling Hills Residence – see picture below

Oneida Public School donation

I’m happy to share some good news about our students here at Oneida. They took on the challenge of raising enough money to support the orphanage in Kenya for a week, and actually went over their goal.  Our secretary is working on the final numbers since classes did a range of activities to earn the money.

We had a class that offered a “ Buy and Sell” during both recesses on a day in December, by bringing in some of their gently used items and selling them .

We had another class organize, cook and sell hot dogs for a special lunch here at school.

We had two “buddy” classes organize the selling of “Candygrams” one week in December, distributing candy canes with personal messages at the end of the week.

We had another class who did “random acts of kindness” for the month of December, and one of those “acts” saw the entire class stationed at three local businesses in Caledonia where they shared a mini candy cane on a message about RACK ( Random Acts of Christmas Kindness). For that, they were rewarded by a number of people they were sharing with, and that included a monetary donation which they donated to the orphanage fund, rather than buy a class treat for themselves.

I couldn’t have been more proud of our students, their plans to raise funds and the response they received from others here.

Carol Kloostra

This donation was used to provide ongoing daily support for the program – see picture below

Donald Wilson S.S. – under the leadership of Jenn Matthews – donated $200.00 which went toward two days of support for the program.

St. John Paul II grade 8 students donated $465.00.  This money was being used to provide a high school scholarship for one student in the name of Gail Kay who was the mother of one of the teachers in the school and  just passed on.

Jan2

This donation was put toward educational costs

Individuals

Lynne and Leanne Wilson provided a donation to purchase 4 blankets, 4 chickens, and 2 school uniforms

Jason Wiggins donated funds to buy tool sets for two families.

I received this email from Bennett.

This is Bennett Duncan, Joyce’s son. I heard about the orphanage that you have founded, and it really struck a chord with me. I am donating $104 to your charity. I hope that it goes to a good cause and that it helps. My dad will be sending it by e-transfer.

Bennett’s donation was used for a day of support – see picture below.

Susan Roberts donated $200.00 in honor of the birthday of her children Christie and Andrew.  This was used for two days of support – see picture below.

John Stewart donated $200 which provided two days of support – see picture below.

Lauren and Noa at the end of a presentation gave $15.00.

Justina Courtney donated $50.00

Harry and Merilyn Rome $150.00 to buy goats and chickens

Days of Support

Jan3

 

jan4

 

Jan5

 

Jan6

 

Jan7

 

jan8

 

jan9

 

jan10

 

jan11

 

jan12

 

jan13

 

jan14

 

jan15

 

Jan16

Thank you Signs

jan17

 

jan17b

 

jan18

 

jan19

Debbie and Amanda provided funds used for school supplies

jan20

 

jan21

 

jan22

 

jan23

 

jan24

 

jan25

 

jan26

 

jan27

 

jan28

Ruth holding a tea towel sent to her that was hand embroidered by students at St. Mildred Lightborne to raise funds for our program

Educational Sponsors

Our children have continued to qualify for high levels of high school and post-secondary education.  The costs of tuition generally exceed the levels of sponsorship so we have been enlisting additional donations and recruiting educational sponsors to become involved with specific children to cover these costs.

We welcome new educational sponsors this month.

Susan and Doug  Roberts are partnering with Jessica and Chris Patrick to provide for the ongoing costs of Wanza who was just admitted to Mbooni Girls School – a National School.

Cliff Hall donated $400 to provide tuition for Jackson – the child supported by his family.

Geri and Don $200.00 which will be used for education costs

Steve and Rosie Hilb  donated $300 for Sarah’s ongoing educational needs.  Sarah  is one of our first two students in university.  In addition they donated funds to purchase a computer for Sarah. And along with Lou-Ann  they are also providing ongoing educational support for Sarah as she continues her university education.

jan29

 

jan30

 

jan31

One of our sponsors Melanie paid for these young lady’s high school tuitions!

Sponsors

Occasionally we have a sponsor who is unable to continue their commitment.  We are grateful for the involvement of Audrey Hamilton and wish her well in the future.  Her sponsored child has also experienced a life change and is living with new caretakers in Nairobi.  We will be introducing our two new sponsors,  Katie and Sharon, to another child requiring support and will therefore once again be at our capped  number limit of sponsors.

jan32

Lorna wearing birthday presents from her sponsors Sue and Brian.

jan33

Presents for Kanini Beth from her sponsors Marion and David.


December 2014 Update

Welcome to our December update.  December is one of our busiest, and happiest, months.  This is a combination of the culmination of fundraising activities by some schools for the first part of the school year, and the Christmas celebrations.  Writing this update I was greeted by so many happy, smiling faces as children received their Christmas presents or sent their greetings to their sponsor.

The community distribution day – this year on December 20 – includes not just the usual items (food, uniforms, tools, goats, chickens) but also specific presents for children and their extended families from their sponsors and presents for each child in the orphanage.  Often these presents involve clothes, school supplies and additional quantities of food or special items.

Originally our plans had been to be in Kikima for this celebration but we were not able to attend this year.  Hopefully another year I can be part of this amazing celebration.  As it now stands we are tentatively planning for another summer trip.

Schools donations

Glendale P.S. in Brampton, under the leadership of Melanie – who is also a sponsor of two children – raised $334.90.  They have asked that this money be used specifically for education.

On a side-note, Melanie and her son, Skylar, visited Kikima last summer to meet their sponsored children and stay at the orphanage.  Melanie has now undertaken to provide funding for other members of the extended families of her children.  She is a remarkably caring and compassionate person who is so dedicated to the children of Kikima.

Immaculata Catholic High School in Ottawa, under the direction of Darlene Charron, Teacher-librarian, and her White Pine Book Club students, raised $702.69.  This was raised primarily through the sales of popcorn!  We love popcorn!

St. Mark High School in Ottawa raised $150.00

Our Lady of Wisdom in Ottawa donated $50.00

St. Joan of Arc donated $954.63 under the direction of Rosa Tarulli through a program called Taste of Joan!

College Heights Secondary in Prince George raised $315.00 as noted in the letter below.

Dec2

Brett Walker’s grade 10 class at St. Pius X Catholic High School in Ottawa raised $100.00.  As well his son, Phoenix donated $25.00 to buy 2 chickens.

Advance Memorial United Methodist Church – under the leadership of Tonya Evans – Flatwoods, Kentucky, raised $75.00 for a goat and set of tools.

St. Mildred’s-Lightbourn School donated $250.50 to be used for education costs for our high school and post-secondary students.

Esten Park P.S. – $100 for a day of support of Rolling Hills Residence.

Dec3

Individuals Support

Pauline Brunet donated money to pay for two days of support of The Rolling Hills Residence

Marina Cohen made a donation to be put toward education costs.

Diane Middlemiss made a donation to pay for one day of support for The Rolling Hills Residence.

Barb Kettle – one of our long term dedicated supporters – sold $225.00 worth of Grannie Bags at local craft sales.

Julia made a donation of $26.00

At the end of a presentation a student, Dan, pulled $2.00 from his pocket.  Those donations always inspire me!

Lee-Anne made a personal donation that supported the Rolling Hills Residence for one day.

Randy and Catherine Palach made a donation for goats in honor of their children Randy, Maria and Evelyn

Wendy and Larry Leigh made a donation to support the Rolling Hills Residence for one day.

Marc Stevens made a large donation to be used for education.

Linda and Robert Ford made a generous donation.

Debbie and Amanda donated funds to be used for assorted items.

Elaine Deramo donated to provide a day of support for Rolling Hills Residence

Sally Briggs made a donation to be used for education.

Ashley Polovniak made a generous donation in honor of Wes to be used for education.

Karen Danderfer made a donation that will be used for education.

Jake Watson made a donation to the program.

Along with the support listed below we had our regular sponsors donate over $5000.00 to be used to buy special Christmas presents for their children and to provide for Christmas celebrations for their  for their extended families.

Days of Support

$100.00 provides support for the entire Rolling Hills Residence for one day.  This is food for 55 children, routine medical care, school supplies, the salaries of the driver, night watchman, tutor, cook, matron and patron and the utilities for the building.

Dec4

 

Dec5

 

Dec6

 

Dec7

 

Dec8

 

Dec9

 

Dec10

 

Dec11

 

Dec12

 

Dec13

 

Dec14

 

Dec15

Distribution Days

Every month there is a distribution day to the orphans and extended family members in the community.  This involves food, tools, livestock, school uniforms, lanterns and additional things needed by the families.  Between our orphans and destitute children who reside in their family compounds these resources provide for around 300 children.  While most of this cost is provided through our sponsors and the support they provide for their child(ren) there is always an extra cost associated with the additional unsponsored children.  This was covered this month by St. Joan of Arc Catholic High School!

Dec16

Nine times each year the distribution is done by our staff going to three or four designated meeting places in the region.  Three times a year there is a gathering on the grounds of the orphanage.  These are joyous celebrations which often have 300 – 400 people present.  A meal is served for all prior to the distribution taking place.  Christmas is one of the occasions where the gathering takes place at the orphanage.

Thank you pictures

Below are some of the thank you pictures for donations.  We work to also send by email a picture directly to the donor.

Dec17

 

Dec18

 

Dec19

 

Dec20

 

Dec21

 

Dec22

 

Dec23

 

Dec24

 

Dec25

 

Dec26

Educational Sponsors

At the end of December – the end of the school year – we had 42 students in high school or post-secondary studies.  The new school year begins in January for most students but those entering high school in grade 9 begin their studies in February and university students later in the year.  We are estimating that we will have 50 or 51 students who will be in these programs in this coming year.

Education remains one of our priorities as well as one of our most expensive outlays of funds.  We spent a great deal of time and effort in providing additional tutoring for our students through the primary years.  This has paid off in terms of students obtaining high marks and qualifying for higher level – and more expensive schools.  The cost of these schools often far exceeds the funds that are donated by sponsors.  To compensate for this shortfall we have launched a program where individuals or schools can become the educational sponsor for a child/student.  They become a partner with the sponsor to provide for the funds necessary to care for, and educate, that child.  Always this is done with the full knowledge and agreement of the sponsor.

While we are no longer accepting sponsors we are actively engaged in trying to recruit educational sponsors.  If you, or anybody you know, would like to become an education sponsor please contact Anita Walters at anitaawalters@gmail.com  – please note the extra a after the word Anita.

Sponsors

Almost all of our 118 sponsors received a picture and greeting from their sponsored child.  Ruth worked incredibly hard to send these pictures and they were received either just before Christmas or on Christmas morning.  Some sponsors emailed to say it was their favourite Christmas present!  Here are a few of the pictures!

Dec27

 

Dec28

 

Dec29

 

Dec30

 

Dec31

 

Dec32

 

Dec33

 

Dec34

 

Dec35

 

Dec36

 

Dec37

Faith, in first year university, was greeted by a gently used computer!  As you can see by the T-shirt she proudly wears she is supported by the wonderful students of LaSalle P.S. in Windsor.

Dec38

Sarah – also in first year university – shows off her computer paid for by Steve Hilb and his family.  Sarah is sponsored by Lou-Anne and family.

As we end one year, we begin another.  Our program is in solid shape thanks to the generosity of our sponsors here in Canada, The United States, Germany, England, and of course, in Kenya.  We have been able to meet our yearly expenses for the program, for ongoing projects, and have established a healthy reserve fund to provide for emergencies.

We will keep everybody up to date as we transition from our initial partners, AIM, to a new partner in the coming months.  We are so fortune that a number of other organizations have said they are willing to become our partner and we are assessing which of these will be best suited to the needs of our program, sponsors and orphans.

Great thanks to all who have supported, and continue to support our program.  We hope you have a joyous year ahead!


November 2014 Update

General

This is a busy time of year in our program as Christmas celebrations and distributions are being planned and grade 8 students are writing their high school entrance exams.  These exams are incredibly important and determine what level of schooling the student can apply for.  Our students have been extremely successful and some have qualified for higher levels – and more expensive – high schools.  We won’t know the results until the middle of January.  We wish them all well.

School Donation

Mckinnon P.S. in Mississauga, under the direction of Lisa donated $574.00.  Here is how they raised the money.

McKinnon School is a caring place and we are Global Citizens.  We enjoy reading Eric Walters’ books and found out 3 years ago about his charity.  This is the third year that we have raised money for the Creation of Hope.  We are proud to say that this year we raised $586!  We are so happy that this money will cover 6 days worth of healthcare, shelter, food, and care for these kids.  We raised money by making posters, doing morning announcements, and selling candy grams for Halloween.  We plan on continuing to support Creation of Hope in the years to come. 

Fairview P.S. in Mississauga remains one of our most committed schools.  This year, mostly through popcorn sales, a bake sale and a craft sale including bracelets, buttons and origami sales, they raised $2972.97.  This money is being used for days of support and to provide for our monthly distribution.

Personal Donation

Mme Pauline Brunet, Principal of Esten Park Public School made a generous donation to be put toward the educational costs of our high school students.

Ted Staunton provided a donation for a day of support and support for high school education fees.

Amanda made a donation after a presentation that paid for two blankets.

John Wilson made a donation to pay for one day of support for residence.

A donation was made by Melisa – here’s a letter from her mother to explain.

As per my conversation with Eric when he was at Nelson High School on September 26th, my daughter, Melissa, has raised $180 for your orphanage in Kenya by collecting money to donate instead of receiving presents for her 8th birthday. We hope the money helps feed, clothe, and look after the children in your orphanage’s care. We love the story of Blessing, and read it often.

Thank you so much in advance for passing on the money to where it can do the most good for our friends overseas.  Please let me know if/when the children post a message for Melissa that I can share with her and her friends.  They were touched by the needs of children, like Blessing, and would love to see the impact they’ve made a world away.

Kind regards,

Heather Michlik

Corporate Support

Penguin Random House is donating $1.30 from every book sold in a bookstore in Canada to our program.  Indigo/Chapters has championed the book and has spotlighted it throughout their stores in Canada!  I’ve made a commitment that any store or individual that sells 77 books will be given credit for supporting our program for one day.  Below, in the days of support section, is a picture of the first person who has done this! Great thanks to both these businesses for their most generous support of our program.

Aviation and General Security Consultants (AGSC)

This company was introduced to Hope Development centre, the Creation of Hope project, by the son of Ruth and Henry, Danson Kioko when he worked there in 2010. The company decided to make three visits a year to the program to share time with the children. The project has become a part of AGSC and more information is available at the website: http://www.agsc-africa.com/csr

We thank them for their ongoing support.

Days of Support

$100.00 provides support for the Rolling Hills Residence for 1 day – that’s food for 55 children, routine medical care, school supplies, the salaries of all the on the ground staff running the residence, the electricity, sanitation and water for the building.

Nov9

Nov8

Nov7

Nov6

Nov5

Nov4

There are also more days sponsored and supported by Fairview school this month that will be shown in the December update.

Monthly Food distribution

Each month we distribute approximately 2.2 tons of food and supplies to the orphans and disadvantaged children in our program who reside with relatives.  These costs are mostly covered by our sponsors but each month there is a deficit and this is covered by additional support.

This month Fairview provided that support as well as supported individual days.

Thank You Pictures

Nov12

Shayne is a young man who came up to me after a presentation and gave me the money in his pocket which purchased this blanket.

Nov13

Jake and Julia held a garage sale – selling off their toys to provide for Eric who is sponsored by their family.

Nov14

A Christmas donation was made by  Jaime and Matt to honour some of their family members.  Great thanks.

Sponsors

Nov15

Sharon is one of our sponsors who always makes additional donations during the Christmas period as presents for friends and family.

Nov16

Nov17

Throughout this month our sponsors have made additional donations to provide for their sponsored child and extended family members as a way to help them celebrate Christmas.  This money is used to provide specific items for the children – including clothing, toys, books – as well as items for the extended family that might include goats, blankets, and lanterns.  Our staff on the ground is very receptive to helping the child and extended family in the best way possible.

The children and their family members will celebrate Christmas at the Rolling Hills Residence on December 20. Their lives have been deeply enriched because of the support of so many wonderful donors who have given to Creation of Hope.  We wish you all a warm and wonderful Christmas and holiday season and health and joy in the New Year.  We are blessed to have such an amazing sponsor and supporter base.  Thank you.


September & October 2014 Update

General

As always the early fall is our ‘slowest’ time of the year.  The summer is over, schools are starting up – but not yet fundraising or passing on donations – and we are pre-Christmas.

One of our focal points during this time period is around school fees.  We now have 42 students either in residential high school or post-secondary placements.  This will be increased with another 8 potentially entering high school in January – the start of the Kenyan school year – as well as a number of the high school students entering post-secondary which is again more expensive.

As we’ve discussed through better nutrition, tutoring, the security of being cared for, and the knowledge that they would be provided with ongoing education, our orphans have made dramatic strides in their educational successes.  Our students are qualifying for regional and national high schools, which are much more expensive, as well as qualifying for university. This all means that we have a greater need for funds to pay for education.

In response to those needs we have been discussing the creation of a new category of sponsors – educational sponsors.  These are people who will ‘pair’ up with the regular sponsor to help pay for the educational needs of a specific child.  This will be done with the knowledge and agreement of the sponsor.  While this program will officially ‘start’ with the beginning of the school year in January we already have four new educational sponsors.  This is in addition to supplemental educational funds that we have already been receiving from generous supporters in the past.

Lindsay Farlow, who is the older sister of Lisa, is going to become an educational sponsor.  Jimmy and Hannah Kim and their three children are going to become educational sponsors to three children.  Steve Hilb and Erika Power have also committed to sponsoring the education of a specific child.

Individuals

Kelly and Chris Betts and their children Jake and Julia are sponsors of Eric.  At the end of summer Jake, who is going into grade 1 was eager to do something special for Eric so he and his sister had a garage sale and along with some family donations they  raised $250.00!  This will be used for daily support for the whole program plus something special for Jake’s ‘brother’ Eric.

Our good friend Barb Kettle sold Granny Bags and Jammer Bags and raised $105.00.  This money will be used to support the program for one day.  This sale was the first of several seasonal sales that Barb is holding this fall.

The Granny bags are hand woven by grandmothers of our orphans.  The women are paid market value and the bags are brought back by volunteers and sold here through our connections.  Then 100% of the proceeds of the sales are donated right back to the program.

At a school presentation a girl named Aurora donated .50 cents to the program.  She gave all the money she had – what more could ever be given?

At a school presentation at St. Joseph in Cobourg a boy named Shayne gave a donation.  This money will be used to buy an orphan a blanket.

Walking Home

Sept3

My newest book was inspired by my Kenyan travels.  It involves a young boy and his sister having to walk across Kenya to find maternal family they’ve never met in a place they’ve never been – Kikima.

In the summer of 2012, Henry Kyatha and I took four young Canadians and four of our orphans and walked across Kenya the same way the characters did.  This book is special in a number of ways including a website www.ericwalterswalkinghome.com which shows our travels including pictures and videos and features a documentary about one of our children, Baraka.

Even more special, Penguin Random House is donating $1.30 from each book purchased directly to our program in Kenya.

Sept4

This is wonderful and generous and will have an amazing impact on our program.  This effort is being supported by some caring people at Chapters/Indigo who are going to feature this book in their stores across Canada!

Daily Support

Food Distribution

Each month food is distributed to the hundreds of orphans and disadvantaged children in the community.  This is orchestrated using our vehicle.  Food and other items that are to be distributed are driven to specific locations around the region where the extended family members meet to receive their packages.

Sponsors

Sept10

Mercy – sponsored by Christina and Ray – was visited at her school on Prayer Day by Kay, Kioko and Ricky.

We always try to show our sponsors a picture of their child receiving items that have been mailed to them:

Mutunga from McIsaacs

Muthina from Barb

Koki holding a picture of her sponsors, the Saar family.

As with most families, life is becoming busier as we prepare for the Christmas season.  Thank you to the many sponsors who have responded to the request and have donated generously for the Christmas celebration.  The funds will be used to purchase practical gifts for the sponsored children as well as treats and smaller gifts for all children who receive support from the program. There will also be a gathering of all the children and extended family guardians for a Christmas celebration at the residence in December – in the hot Kenyan weather season!


Summer 2014 Update

It Takes A Village

Our program has donors who directly sponsor 118 orphans.  This support extends even further through monthly distribution to provide assistance to their siblings and children at the homestead so that close to 400 orphans and impoverished children are given support.  In addition we have taken on the educational costs of a number of children/young people who have no sponsor but would be unable to complete their education without that support.

As noted in a previous update,  we have found that our charges have become increasingly successful in obtaining higher marks and qualifying for high – and more expensive – levels of high school education as well as qualifying for post-secondary education.  We have made a commitment to them – if they study and work hard we will provide funding for the highest level of education that they qualify for.  This has been an expensive commitment that we intend to keep.

While elementary school (1 – 8) does not have a tuition cost (although there are associated costs of uniforms, books, parent/teacher association fees, test and text book charges) there is a tuition fee for every year of high school.  This fee depends on the ‘level’ of school as well as the specific school.  Local is relatively inexpensive (less than $200 per year), while the tuition at a national school could be close to $1000.00 per year.  Those at the regional and national schools most often reside in the school so the fees include room and board.  In addition to the tuition fees, each student needs to bring with them a kit which includes a mattress, wash basin, supplies, clothing, school supplies, text books and uniform.  As well we need to provide transportation costs to enable the student to go between school and home during breaks.

In addition there are necessary costs of providing clothing, supplies and food during the time that the student is not at school but either residing in our residence or in their extended family situation.

Because we are small and flexible, we accept a wide range of support for our sponsors ranging from $30.00 per month, to some who have made a decision to provide $85.00 per month.  We then pool funding to make sure each orphan receives what they require.  In the cases of sponsored children who are in an expensive school setting, the sponsorship fees are most often unable to cover expenses.  We have, with the complete knowledge and agreement of sponsors, started to seek additional educational sponsors – people who will provide funds to help offset the educational costs.  When approached about this one of our sponsors said ‘it takes a village (to raise a child)’.  And indeed it does!

The sponsor of that child remains the ‘parent’ of that child but we inform the student of the additional support.  We hope to expand this donor network in order to provide the highest education possible for our orphans while allowing for these costs to be covered.  We hope to make our village larger.

Visitors to Kenya

Each summer I have travelled to Kenya and brought with me sponsors and guests.  Last year there were eight of us.  The summer of 2011 had 18 guests.  This summer I did not travel to Kenya.  We had two visitors – Melanie and her son Skyler.  They are the sponsors of two children and Melanie has also been incredibly generous in donating to other specific projects within our program.

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The highlight of these visits is the opportunity for our sponsors to meet their sponsored child.  They go to visit the school and the homestead to see where they live and to meet the guardians and extended family members.

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Notice the picture of Melanie, Skyler and Frank hanging in a place of honor in the home.

This is not only a highlight for the sponsors but one of the most special parts of my yearly visits – one I missed out on this year!

Here is Melanie’s account of her visit.

The day we arrived at Ruth’s home and the Hope Development Centre the cat, Lucky, had her 3 kittens and the cow gave birth to her calf.  We were told we were a blessing – with our arrival came new life!  What an amazing place!  Set high up in the mountains with a spectacular view of the valley and mountains beyond, Ruth’s home and the Hope Development Centre exude warmth, caring and hope. 

We arrived early in the morning so Ruth was at work and the children at school.  Skyler and I were given a tour of the property and introduced to the staff:  Brigitta, Veronica, Michael and Redempta, who would welcome us and make us feel completely at home over the next 8 days.  We truly valued the time we spent with Reverend Phillip (a kind and gentle soul), Phillip Kio (retired educator, our tour guide and Ruth’s right hand man), Sara and Faith. Faith and Sara are 2 of the orphans who have completed their high school education and are beginning college/ university in the fall, so they were available to accompany us on day trips.  Both girls have tragic stories and a miraculously positive outlook and attitude toward life.  Their smiles and laughter light up the room. They will go far and have a special place in our hearts. 

As the children returned from school each one of them shyly came over to us, shook our hands and welcomed us.  What an amazing, polite, well mannered and well behaved group of children! When we ventured over to the residence, camera in hand, we got to see a much more lively, animated side of the children.  They love the camera!

Skyler and I spent the first 4 days visiting my 2 sponsored daughters at their schools and homesteads, shopping for the children (pencils, pens, notebooks and a soccer ball), shopping for my girls, their families and schools, and helping to prepare for the birthday party. Loot bags were packed, food distribution packages prepared, Redempta spent hours baking and decorating the 15 birthday cakes.

Friday evening was movie night, complete with popcorn and soda. The children were amazing.  Technology proved to be uncooperative and then the power went out, but that didn’t hamper the children’s enjoyment. ..they broke into song.  

Party day was fabulous! Guests arrived in the HDC van and by Matatu.  The children were excited, dressed in their HDC uniforms, and most of them, with their heads freshly shaved.  This was a day they had been awaiting all year!  Skyler and I had the wonderful task of picture taking and recording the celebration for prosperity and Eric’s new book “Today is the Day”.

The children sang, food was eaten, business was attended to, loot bags, presents and food distributed and pictures taken.  “Happy Birthday to Me” was sung and the cakes were cut and distributed! Hope was reaffirmed!  Gratitude to God and the sponsors and other supporters was expressed.  Happiness and smiles were plentiful as the guardians, children and chickens piled back into the vehicles to return home.

We had the pleasure of meeting Kay and her family in Nairobi.  They welcomed us into their home and fed us a hardy lunch. We met Kioko the first time while with Moses in the restaurant at the Kenya Comfort hotel in Nairobi. We got to know Kioko and his family as they spent a couple of nights in Kikima before the party and he drove us back to the airport on our final day.  Kioko and Kay both have their mother’s smile and huge heart.

Ruth! What a lady! Mother figure to all the orphans, extraordinary hostess (even in her absence), managing a farm, an orphanage and a full time job! Our first day there she worked until almost 9 pm, then the cow decided to have its calf and she was outside with her staff trying to get the calf to stand up and take milk until at least 2 am.  We can’t thank Ruth enough for opening her home and heart to us. She made us feel welcome and like we were an important part of HDC and Creation of Hope.    

Skyler and I enjoyed every minute of our time in Kikima.  We came to truly appreciate some things that we have previously taken for granted: our abundance of running hot and cold fresh water, and the degree of choice we have in our daily lives.  I, as a working mom, sometimes bemoan the choice of what to have for dinner; trying to satisfy the desires of my family when there are so many possible choices. In Kikima the children are grateful to have food.

Our only regret was that the children were in school (leaving at 5:30 am before the sun was up and the oldest children not returning until almost 7 pm as the sun was setting).  When I go again, I will do it in August so that the children are on vacation and I can get to know more of them better.

Melanie

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Reading that account made me miss being there this summer even more!  Our hope is that we will travel to Kenya in December and return sometime in January.

Happy Birthday to Me!

Each year we hold a birthday party for our children.  This is a celebration to signify that their birth is a day for celebration.  For many of our children it has another function.  They are unaware of their birthday and without a birth date they cannot obtain a birth certificate.  This certificate is a door that opens opportunities to them in life.  Our first party was for 54 children but now close to 150 children and hundreds of other guests partake of the birthday celebration.

This year the special guests were Melanie and her son Skyler.  The school where Melanie teaches also funded the costs of the party.

At my request our guests took pictures of the celebration to be included in my upcoming picture book ‘Today is The Day’ about our celebration.  This book, published by Tundra, will be launched in the fall of 2015.  Here are some of the wonderful pictures!

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Children singing ‘Happy Birthday to Me!’

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Thanking Glendale for funding the gathering

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Extended family members and orphans sharing in the celebration

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Kanini and Mutanu (she is the main character in my book Today is The Day)

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Boniface (the main character in Hope Springs) and Mutanu

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Children showing off birth certificates – a major reason for the party and celebration.

School donations

Mary Immaculate School

The Kenya Project

                On October 2, 2013 when author, Eric Walters came to visit Mary Immaculate School in Chepstow, Ontario he inspired our  Grade 7/8 students with his tales of the children of Kenya. They decided they wanted to make a difference in the lives of those children, particularly at the Rolling Hills Orphanage.  With an ambitious plan in place, they felt they could raise ten thousand dollars. To do this the Grade 7/8 students with the entire school supporting them have held the following  events; Community Spaghetti Dinner, Christmas Bazaar, Silent Auction, Bottle Drive, and a portion of the money raised at our schools mission day was donated as well. By the end of the school year, $5200.00 was collected. With the money raised, part of it will help to buy a piece of land beside the orphanage with the remainder of their money going toward playground equipment. With this opportunity in social justice, the Grade 7/8’s eyes have been opened to the struggles and problems that people in third world countries face. With this experience in mind they intend to help the world more by doing more projects like this throughout their lives. We are so proud of our students for letting their light shine in such a worthy way.                     

Debbie Stanley

We have continued to negotiate the purchase of a piece of property.  Purchasing land in Kenya is difficult for a number of reasons including the attachment the family has to land, and an attempt to elevate the price above what is reasonable.  We continue to negotiate.  While we hold onto some of the donation from Mary Immaculate in anticipation of completing the purchase, we have also directed funds from this to paying for the development of a second well for our orphanage.  The water from the original well was insufficient for the needs of the residence and its expanding population.

Stride Community School in Burnaby B.C. – under the leadership of our friend and sponsor Sharon Freeman – made a donation of $350.00 raised by their Community Leaders.  This money was used to support our monthly food distribution (the thank you sign is below in that section)

Individual donations

Sharon Freeman made a donation to honour Cecily’s memory.  This money was used to help finance our monthly food distribution (see picture in that section below) and is closely related to Cecily’s vocation. She worked as a dietician.

Thank you to Laura, Donna, Cheryl and Dorothy in memory of Ron Sielski, a family member.  This donation was used to support the entire Rolling Hills Residence for two days.  The thank you sign is in that section below.

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We are also celebrating a second wedding – that of Mercy’s sponsors Ray and Christina.  They have made a donation in the honor of their wedding guests.  Mercy is in the photo with the red Canadian T-shirt.

Daily support

$100.00 per day provides food for the 55 orphans of Rolling Hills Residence, their routine medical care, basic school supplies, the salaries of all the staff associated with the building and all utilities for the building.

Food Distribution

Every month we give out over 2.2 metric tons of food and other supplies including chickens, uniforms, tool sets and solar lanterns. Here are some pictures from the last distribution in August

Our staff, Brigitta,  helping to pack food distribution packages.

 

 

 

 

 

Chickens being given out

Thank you signs

Sponsors

As one of her ‘tasks’ while in Kenya we asked Melanie and Skyler to take pictures of individual children that we could forward to their sponsors.  They did an amazing job!  Here are some of those pictures.

 

 

 

While some our sponsored children were away at residential school and not part of the birthday celebration we will soon be sending out individual pictures to many of our sponsors.

Special birthday presents sent by her sponsor

A letter from April and Michael – our newest sponsors.


June 2014 Update

General

For the first time in eight years I will not be going to Kenya this summer. It feels rather sad and strange to write that.  I will not have the opportunity to share time with Ruth and her family, our staff, and of course, the children who are not only the reason for, but the heart of our program.  While the program doesn’t need my presence to operate, it is such a joy to be there, to witness and in a small way be part of the day to day business of the program.  At this point there are tentative plans in place for myself, Anita and our daughter Julia to be there in December.  Anita and I will stay for 4 to 6 weeks and Julia will remain, working with Ruth, for another 2 months.

Happy Birthday!

This coming weekend will be our annual birthday party.  It is a time of celebration through the area as hundreds of people – orphans and extended family – come together for a meal, passing out presents, and making it known through the region that the birth of these children was a cause for joyous celebration.  Amongst the original reason for the party the newest members of our family – those who do not know their birthdays – will here-after be able to use July 19th as their birthdates.

Staff will initiate the process for the government to issue them birth certificates.  This document, that we all take for granted, does more than simply acknowledge their birth but means that they are able to ultimately apply for all benefits open to Kenyan citizens including applications for university, passports and to be in communication and eligible for applications for bank loans, and property ownership. Our children, through this process, become fully ‘real’ in the eyes of the government.

While I am not there to be part of this joyous celebration we have one sponsor, Melanie, and her son Skyler, who will be part of planning and participating in the hundreds and hundreds of details necessary to have a party for 300 or 400 celebrants.  It’s only fitting that Melanie is part of this since her school, Glendale, is funding this year’s party!

Water is Life

When you give water you give life.  Our latest project, Hope Springs, has been in effect in the community for over a year now.  This water source has provided clean, fresh water to the people in the valley below our orphanage.  This was our third significant water project in the community.

At the same time our growing family has required a growing quantity of water.  Our first well on the property has not been able to meet those needs.  As such a second well – funded in part by another project Ruth is working with – The GoGo Grannies in Nova Scotia – is being dug and on the property.  As with our previous well the diggers continually hit rock necessitating using a combination of blasting and chipping to get deep enough to find water.  Digging is, by far, much faster and less expensive.

 

 

At 72 feet they finally hit water.  It is going deeper to ensure that the water will continue to flow.  While the digging is complete there remains the need for a pump and piping to get the water from down below to where it’s needed.  That is ongoing with some funding coming from the donations noted this month.

School donations

June is our busiest month for donations as the year closes down and  schools that have fund-raised are sending us their donations.  It’s such a wonderful experience to receive these funds!  In many cases I had no idea they were even raising money for our orphans until the cheque arrived.  Great, great thanks to all of these schools!

In the fall I had a wonderful tour of schools in Saskatchewan.  Clive Draycott School, under the leadership of teacher/librarian Tracy Aulie raised funds for our orphans.

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This donation will provide daily support for the residence and funds for the third semester of high school education for our orphans.

I received this email and donation”

When you visited our little school, Minesing Central P.S., we remembered you talking about the Creation of Hope Foundation and we would like to donate. In lieu of gifts for Mr. Frankcom we teamed up to raise a total of $162. We appreciate the fact that your foundation puts every cent towards the children’s education and health. You even inspired a student to use the topic of children and poverty for their slam poem. Thanks again!

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Glendale Public School, under the leadership of Melanie, raised $1241.44.

This year at Glendale Public School in Brampton we were excited to again be a part of supporting Creation of Hope.  We sold Candy Cane grams at Christmas and Freezies in June.  We had a few students who individually contributed larger sums of money.  These included Jake Elias $61.00, Emily Elias $25.00, Shannon $40.00 and Kealey S. $20.75. We were able to raise a total of $1242.00, which we are thrilled to be able to put towards the birthday party for the orphans this summer.  The children were impressed and quite moved by your presentation in September, Eric.

We look forward to working with you, creating hope for orphans in Kikima, again next school year. It is a pleasure to be working with a small organization that is making such a big difference!

Sincerely,

Melanie Noordhuis

As noted above, this money is being directed to this year’s mass birthday celebration.  It is so fitting that Melanie will be present for this and can share the experience and pictures with her students and the staff at her school

Our wonderful friends at Alexander Graham Bell P.S. made another generous donation to our program of $1516.18.  This money is being used to provide 15 days of support for the Rolling Hills Residence. August 13 – 27 (see picture below in daily support section)

Associated Hebrew Schools made a generous donation of $592.05 with the money to be used for the Academic Library at the Rolling Hills Residence.

Maple Grove P.S. in Oakville made a donation of $144.65.  These funds are being used for personal needs for the children of our residence.

Lasalle P.S. in Lasalle has been supporting two young people, Eric and Faith, in their journey through high school and now into university.  They held a variety of activities and raised $3000.00 in their most recent donation!

Centennial Hylands E.S. made a donation of $290.35 to be used toward high school education.  We have 42 orphans who are in high school or post-secondary education and some of them are not formally sponsored.  They are simply children in the community that we have agreed to pay their tuition.

St. Anthony in Brampton mad a request through Ontario Teachers’ Federation/ FEO and they made a donation of $500.00 through their International Assistance Committee.  Agatha and Teresa, staff members, made this request.

 

Alexandra Middle School – Medicine Hat

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We received this letter from John Grimes who led the efforts in Medicine Hat

The ME to We club at Alexandra Middle school is designed to support local and global charities throughout the year. To raise our money, the students collected recycling from classrooms every week. At the end of the week the bottles would be brought to a depot and sorted and the funds would be deposited in our account.  The students were very diligent in collecting the bottles from their assigned rooms and the money quickly added up. 795.65

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The money from Adjala Central was directed toward our monthly food distribution to the community.

This is the letter from Christine who provided leadership at Pope John Paul II in Oakville.

Pope John Paul II School has raised an additional $1,822.68 for Creation of Hope, through the sale of healthy juice freezies by the School/Parent Council over the past two months. 

I’m very excited that your visit a few months ago triggered a sustained interest in supporting Creation of Hope. We hope to continue doing this for years to come. 

Warmest regards,

Christine Julien-Sullivan

Library Technician

This money was used to purchase personal supplies for the children as well as for 15 days of support – see thank you signs below.

Once again our friends at William Dunbar P.S. made a donation of $685.97 to our program.  This money will be used to provide support for 4 days plus to help subsidize our monthly food distribution.  The thank you sign designating the days is shown below in the update.

Mrs. Sheryl Bench’s Grade 4 class of 2014 at Pelham Central School held ‘Terrific Treat Tuesdays’ selling delicious treats they had prepared.  They raised and donated $75.00 for Creation of Hope.  This will be used to help support our monthly food distribution.

Individual donations

Shauna and Todd Sarjeant made a donation in honor their son, Sam for his teacher, Mrs. Noordhuis – one of sponsors who is spending part of the summer in Kenya at our program.

Kathy Tate-Bradish made a donation which is being used to support the Rolling Hills Residence for one day.  This donation was prompted by Katherine reading a copy of My Name is Blessing and giving this to a young boy in Kenya who could identify with the theme.

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Keaton and his parents Sandi and Cliff are sponsors of a child in our program and we were fortunate enough to have them spend an extended visit in Kikima in 2013.  Keaton has – again – asked for his birthday party guests to make a contribution to the program instead of receiving presents.  They contributed $181.00!  Great thanks.  His parents also made a donation in memory of Faith – the young girl in our program who died in January – who they had met.  Great thanks!

Paul Nerino – one of our wonderful sponsors along with his wife Michelle and daughter Zoe – are sponsors in our program.  Paul has just retired and his retirement gift was a donation of $350.00 to our program.  Now that Paul is retired we’re accepting no excuses for him not going to Kenya to spend some time where we can put his talents to work.

Barb Kettle – one of most faithful sponsors of the program – made a donation.

Riley Kells made a donation from his family for $50.00 which is to be used to buy chickens.  His mother, Jennifer, also made an additional $70.00 donation from golfers at Heron Landing.

Daily Support

A $100.00 donation provides one day of support for the entire Rolling Hills Residence.  This is food for 55 growing children, their routine medical care, basic school supplies, the salaries of all the staff and the utilities of the building.

These are the supporters who will get the program through the summer and into September!

Monthly Food Distribution

Every month we distribute over 2.2 metric tons of food to orphans and impoverished children living with extended families.  Most of this cost is provided by our sponsors but there is always a deficit and we utilize other donations to make up the shortfall.

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Thank you Pictures

 

Originally we had hoped to use the funds raised by Mary Immaculate to purchase land to allow us to have a playground for the children.  This has remained a sensitive negotiation.  In the meantime we are going to designate part of the funds they raised to finish the second well that has been dug on our property.  Without water there is no life.

We will follow up in the next update with a letter indicating what this school did to raise their donation and to follow up on exactly how we use their funds.

A $200.00 donation was made in Lorraine’s honor for her retirement.  This money will go toward high school tuition fees.

Sponsors

We try to give back to our sponsors a picture of the items they send/or fund in the hands of their sponsored child.

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Mwende from Lynn and Orleen

Mutua from Lorraine

Grace is the grandmother of a number of our orphans – including Baraka and Kanini who live in the Rolling Hills Residence and Benjamin and Jackson who are now in high school.

I have made a personal commitment to Grace that included the newly installed window for her home, food distribution and goats and a cow to support her and the grandchildren that remain in her care.

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Her goats are multiplying and her cow is now pregnant!

Eric and Barb Ross have been sponsors of Ndasi for over 5 years; they were one of our original sponsors in the program. Over the years, Eric and Barb have been faithful sponsors and have also involved their church and Sunday School class in donating to the program as well.   Sadly, in May of this year Eric passed away after a courageous battle with cancer.  We extend our sincere sympathy and support to Barb and her family.  The Ross’ church, Parkdale/Maplewood Emmanuel Baptist Church in Nova Scotia made a donation of $1000 to our program in memory of Eric Dale Ross.  We thank them for their kind gesture to honour one of their church members and one of our Creation of Hope long term supporters.  Eric will be warmly and gratefully remembered.