Happy New Year!

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your continued support of the House of Blue Hope.  We look forward to our continued good work with immense hope.  May the gratitude and hope of the holiday season be with all of us, our families, and our friends in Tanzania for the upcoming year.  Happy New Year!

And don’t forget to make your year end contribution to Blue Hope!  House of Blue Hope is a 501c3 not-for-profit charity that exists through the generosity of individuals and businesses throughout the United States and beyond.  Your gift is tax deductible and you can donate here.  Thank you!

Letter from the President – 2011

Dear House of Blue Hope Family,

The work which we do together both for and with the youth of Tanzania simultaneously fills me with gratitude and hope all year round –

Justin hard at work with his studies

gratitude for all we have done thus far, and hope for all we are poised to do as we move forward as an organization and as a community.  One month ago, at our annual Board Retreat, we reflected on these two pillars of our collective core as we broke bread each evening.  As I write to you

today, after Thanksgiving and awaiting the December holiday season, I find myself in even more deeply and intimately immersed in gratitude and hope than usual.

As I wandered between retail clothing stores yesterday, I was struck by that constant tension between the consumerism and materialism of some parts of the world and the poverty of other corners of our globe.  I wondered how much workers were paid to sew the shirts I was purchasing, and what their working conditions are like.  I pondered how many pencils and notebooks could be bought for children who thirst for education with the money I was paying for a couple personal items.  I constantly struggle with the structures which perpetuate drastic economic disparities among the members of our human family, and I wonder how I and how we at the House of Blue Hope can do more to work for social and economic justice.

As is reflected in our organizational motto, we believe that education is the most effective vehicle through which we can empower and support impoverished and underprivileged youth in their struggle to overcome their challenging realities and to build a positive, productive, and sustainable future for themselves, their families, and their communities.  We have big plans for our work in Tanzania this upcoming year, and it includes all of us!  Of course, I will ask that each of us considers making a personally meaningful contribution to our annual appeal which is included in this mailing.  However, I would also encourage us all to become involved in our work in other ways as well.  Also included here is an invitation for our first Blue Hope supporters’ trip to Tanzania; consider joining us for a journey of a lifetime!  There are also a number of ways to

Boys having fun

get your workplace, school, place of worship, or community organization involved in our mission.  Feel free to reach out to me directly with any interest or ideas.

I am closing this letter with the same two sentiments with which I began – gratitude and hope.  I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your continued support of the House of Blue Hope, and I look forward to our continued good work with immense hope.  May the gratitude and hope of the holiday season be with all of us, our families, and our friends in Tanzania for the upcoming year.

Kwa Shukrani na Tumaini,

–Billy Bludgus

President and Founder


Jewelry Party for House of Blue Hope

It’s a jewelry party for House of Blue Hope!  Purchase beautiful Lia Sophia jewelry now and House of Blue Hope will receive 20% of the purchase price!

Buy three items receive your most expensive piece half off.  If you take advantage of this great offer you can pick up to three more items at half off!  (so buy three items, one of them will be half off and you can then get another three items at half off!)  All your items will be shipped so that you will have them before Christmas.  What an easy way to shop and save money!

Simply visit the Lia Sophia catalog, write down the item number and price of the items you want and then email your order to Jenna Riedi, our development director!  All orders must be placed with a credit card, so have that ready when you call or include when you email.  Jenna’s phone:  608-213-6591 and email: jriedi@houseofbluehope.org.

This amazing jewelry comes with a lifetime guarantee.  Please save the receipt that will come with your jewelry.  This is what you will use if you ever have to make a return.  Reminder…all rings come in whole sizes.

A great gift this holiday season for that special someone!

Mark your Calendars

Strides for Kids 2012 will be the morning of June 15 and the annual poker tournament will be the evening of June 14, both in the Milwaukee area. Mark your calendars now and keep an eye on the website for more details in the coming months!

Double Your Impact!

When you donate to House of Blue Hope, make sure to check with your employer to see if they will match donations.  It is a simple and easy way to double your donation!  Ask your employer or search this list here.  Thank you!

UM Alumni Team Up to Help Orphans in Haiti and Tanzania

Steven M. Kirby is the founder of H.E.R.O., a charity founded to provide housing, education, and rehabilitation for orphans and street children in Haiti Steve is also one of the newest board members of House of Blue Hope (HBH).  This is his letter to his H.E.R.O. supporters after this past weekend’s HBH annual board retreat:


The only possible method of solving the problems in this world is if we work together.  It has been best said by Margaret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.  Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”  This statement is very true when applied to the context of individuals and organizations helping to provide life opportunities for the street children and orphans of this world.  What I have found is that there are many small groups working to benefit the orphaned and abandoned children of this world, but unfortunately, these small groups often fail to work together for the greater good.  Instead, it is a battle over donors, funds, space, and notoriety.  It is for this particular reason that I was excited to participate in a Board of Directors retreat for a non-profit organization that is working to save the street children and orphans of Tanzania.  House of Blue Hope, is an organization founded by Billy Bludgus, a University of Miami alum and friend.  During the retreat I had the opportunity to learn about the amazing work of HBH in Tanzania and take away important nuggets of information that will help me make H.E.R.O. a better residence for orphans here in Haiti.

I was invited to join the Board of Directors of House of Blue Hope 6 months ago.  Three of the current board members are University of Miami Alumni, a school from which I earned both my B.S.Ed. and M.S.Ed.  HBH started with a rented room and a few kids and has now grown to owning their own residence, renting out another, and they currently enroll 19 children.  I am truly amazed at the work that HBH has accomplished in such a short time frame and I hope that H.E.R.O. can achieve similar success.  At the retreat we discussed mundane topics such as amending the constitution, but we were also able to talk about important aspects of our work including education, housing, and social integration.  While Tanzania and Haiti are two countries geographically distant, they share many similarities, especially with regard to infrastructure, development, educational opportunities, and employment.  The retreat allowed me to learn about Tanzania, House of Blue Hope, and best practices for running a residence for orphans, while at the same time sharing my experiences building H.E.R.O. from the ground up.  All in all, it was a very rewarding retreat.

The lesson that I take away from this experience is that while yes, Margaret Mead’s statement is absolutely correct, even more can be accomplished when these small groups of citizens come together to share experiences, work on solutions, and create a better world.  While the collaboration between HBH and H.E.R.O. is commendable, I wish for the same opportunities for other organizations in Haiti.  In the end, we have to remember that the work we do in Haiti is not for accolades or awards, but for the benefit of the street children and orphans.  I will continue to reach out to organizations in Haiti, as I have done so since the inception of H.E.R.O., and pray that these organizations decide that it isn’t competition, but collaboration that is needed in this country.   Only then, will we truly succeed!


Steven M. Kirby, Ed.D

Go Pack Go!

Of course the boys of Blue Hope are fans of the Packers!  A generous support sent the kids in the program all Green Bay Packer hats as a nice gift.  Want to send the boys a gift?  Contact Jenna at jriedi@houseofbluehope.org for details.  Thank you and Go Pack!

Meet Adam!

Adam is the youngest of 6 children.  His father was abusing his mother so badly that she ran away from him and moved in with her father.  Because there are six children living with a woman and old man in Dar es Salaam, there was no money for Adam to go to school and food was hard to come by.

Adam is now living in the Blue Hope house and going to school, pursuing his dream of being a pilot one day!

Meet Rahim!

Meet Rahim: a young, playful 8 year old!  Rahim’s father has passed away and his mother suffers from HIV.  Due to this sad situation, Rahim was not going to school and was only eating one meal a day, which was provided by his neighbors.  Now that Rahim is in House of Blue Hope’s program, he lives in the Blue Hope house, eats three full meals a day, and is in standard 2 at one of the best primary schools in Dar es Salaam:  Gonzaga.

iGive Promotion

In celebration of their growing popularity, iGive will be donating $5 to House of Blue Hope for each new sign up and then another $5 for the first purchase used through iGive.  It’s completely free for you to use so please sign up and help Blue Hope!  You can sign up here.  Thanks!