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!
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!
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
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: 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.
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!
August 24, 2011
Dear House of Blue Hope Family,
This past June and July, I was fortunate enough to spend a few weeks back in Tanzania for my annual visit. I spent time at two houses interviewing each of our 19 kids, reviewing their school report cards, discussing their hopes and goals for the next year, and listening to their concerns about the future. I also conducted an overall evaluation of our programs, met with each staff member, and held a Tanzanian House of Blue Hope Board meeting.
The conversations, observations, assessments, and dialogue were all incredibly encouraging and inspiring. Our 19 kids are all enrolled in reputable schools and performing well, with many showing significant academic improvement and growth over the past year. Moreover, our kids are happy and healthy, taking care of each other, studying together, and forming true mentorships as our older boys assist our younger boys with homework and sports. Our staff members continue to grow into their roles as well, implementing many of the recommendations from last year which has significantly enhanced organization and structure within our programs. Our community outreach has improved, and our social worker is well-known at many of the community schools which I visited. Our Board of Directors is developing some very practical yet innovative ideas they have for expanding our project over the next several years.
It is always a true blessing to re-visit our work in Tanzania. Four years ago, we bought an empty plot of land. Now we are supporting 19 kids at two facilities, and all are thriving! Of course, there is always room for growth as well. We have set some goals for this upcoming year, mainly involving increasing communication both internally among our staff in Dar es Salaam, and externally within the local community. We are also looking to improve the evening academic programming in the house, and we have already started on this, conducting interviews for an evening educational programmer during my visit. I am confident the new position will help remediate and empower our kids even more effectively.
Naturally, as we continue to grow as an organization, we do continue to rely on your generous support. My visit undoubtedly convinced me that we are supporting good and effective work. Our efforts on the ground continue to change the trajectory of kids’ lives for the better. We are creating a world of difference for 19 kids at the moment; let’s keep these kids shining and thriving, and add a few more to the lot this upcoming year as well!
I sincerely and wholeheartedly thank you for all you do for the House of Blue Hope Foundation. Together, we are “overcoming poverty through education…one child at a time.” Let’s keep it up! Thank you again, and God Bless!
Children across the United States are getting ready to start another school year packed with learning and making friends. Buying school supplies, comparing their teachers, and persuading mom and/or dad to buy those cool new shoes to wear on the first day. It’s an exciting time of year!
In the spirit of back to school in the USA, we have some back to school shopping needs. Please consider even just a $10 donation so the children in our program who are working hard in their studies have the necessary tools to be successful. Thank you!
- New clothes for all the housing program boys
- School books for the outreach program boys
- Support our Tutor Fund! To help the children in our program have the best opportunities in their education, we employ a teacher to tutor them each school night and help them practice their English.
334 Avenue A
Bayonne, NJ 07002