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Letter from the President 2011

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!

In Hope,

–Billy Bludgus

Back to School!

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.

 

Blue Hope Hoodie!

We are excited to announce that BK Clothing Co has generously partnered with House of Blue Hope!  Purchase a “Blue Hope” hoodie and the proceeds from your purchase will be donated to House of Blue Hope.  With fair trade production and a super cool design, this is the perfect gift for anyone on your shopping list (or for yourself!)

May 2011 Newsletter

House of Blue Hope Foundation

Overcoming poverty through education… one child at a time.

May 2011,  Vol 3  Issue 2

Strides for Kids!

It’s our annual charity walk and it will be bigger and better than last year!  Starting at 10am in Whitnall park, there will be the traditional 5k walk/run, with food, entertainment, raffle/silent auction, and tons of fun!  Register for the walk here. This year, we are having a contest for who raises the most pledges as well!  To raise pledges, you will have your own fund raising web page – just email Jenna at jriedi@houseofbluehope.org to get set up!

News From Tanzania – Meet Frank

Frank is 11 years old and has had a rough start to life.  His father was murdered and his mother has been in jail for most of his childhood.  Frank joined the House of Blue Hope program and moved into the house in Fall of 2010.  He is really enjoying school and his studies, and especially loves learning English, which he practices every night with the Blue Hope tutor, Patrick.  Frank wants to go into politics and become a government leader when he grows up.  Meet the rest of the Blue Hope boys!

Second Annual Poker Tournament

Join us for our second annual poker tournament!

Who: YOU!

What: Our second annual poker tournament is a fund raiser for the House of Blue Hope Foundation.  The three finalist will receive a prize as well as everyone who makes it to the final table will receive an additional prize for their accomplishment!  There will be a beginners table for those who want to play, but are new to the game.   Come to play, and bring your friends to enjoy the amazing food and drinks at Center Court!  **If you bring two friends who also play, your first buy-in will be free!

Please email jriedi@houseofbluehope.org if you have any questions!

Where: Center Court Pub and Grille (1118 N. 4th Street, Milwaukee)

When: Friday, June 3 starting at 7pm

Register Now here before the seats fill up!

Happy Birthday to our board president, Billy Bludgus!

Join the Blue Hope Bracket Challenge!

Have a chance at winning a Starbucks gift basket of goodies and bragging rights in this year’s Blue Hope Bracket Challenge.  Simply donate $10 here and we will send you the id and password for our Yahoo Tournament page.  Remember, you must get your bracket in before Thursday’s game – so hurry and register now!  Please send any question you have to jriedi@houseofbluehope.org.  Thanks and good luck!

4 Year Anniversary

On February 15th, the House of Blue Hope turned 4 years old.  Over the past four years we have gone from supporting 4 kids in a rented room to now supporting 16 kids through school, owning our own building, renting a second building, instituting a variety of weekend and evening holistic educational programs, and partnering with a number of other non-profits throughout the country as we really try to address the root causes of why there are kids on the streets in the first place.  It’s been quite the journey!

Thank you for all your support and helping us be so successful.  We look forward to many more anniversaries and hope you will continue to support our mission and the children in the program.  Thank you!

House of Blue Hope Video

We are happy to present our new short video on the history of Blue Hope.  Special thanks to board member, Adam Weise, for creating it.  We hope you enjoy it!   Also, this video has been submitted into the TechSoup 2nd Annual Digital Storytelling Challenge and we have a chance to win some amazing prizes for our program.  Please vote here for House of Blue Hope before 2/11.  Thank you!

Letter from the President

Dear House of Blue Hope Family,

Happy Holidays!  For my annual appeal this year, I wanted to include the following journal entry, which I wrote during my flight back from Tanzania this past August.  Whereas, this appeal certainly is a plea for your continued financial investment in our foundation and the work we do, I think it is equally as important to remind ourselves of our own philosophical and personal investment in who we are as a foundation, and the commitment we have to our work and to one another.  May God bless you and your loved ones during this holiday season.

15 August 2010

As I begin to write this, it is 7am in Tanzania and midnight in New York.  I am somewhere caught in the middle, both literally and figuratively.  Most everyone else on this flight from Dubai to JFK is sleeping, while I am trying to find words to express the deep and clear connection I feel between the two places I have equally called home for the past five years.  It is at such moments that I am reminded of all that binds us together as one human family, and causes me to wrestle to understand how sometimes we create a divide between the “developed world” and the “developing world” when we all co-inhibit the same marvelous planet.

I hope our foundation’s name continues to represent this sense of interconnectedness.  As the common color in both the U.S. and Tanzania flags, blue remains symbolic of our cooperation, collaborative partnerships, and mutual support between and among our board, staff, donors, and friends in the U.S., and those a part of our efforts in Tanzania.  Although our “house” in part refers to a physical structure in Dar es Salaam, I think it is more important to acknowledge our organization as a metaphoric “house,” under whose roof, we all come together as one family, united in the mission, vision, and values of the foundation, and committed to working together to make our one world a more just place.

These past two and a half weeks have provided me with many very encompassing opportunities to see how we are walking this path of social justice together on both sides of our work.  First, I spent 3 days at the end of July in Washington, DC for our first annual board and staff conference.  I am incredibly grateful for the insights gained from countless hours of conversations during that weekend, some of which lasted into the wee hours of the morning.

Directly following my time with our U.S. contingent in DC, I then took my annual ten-day trip to Dar es Salaam to meet with our Tanzanian board and staff, to check up on our work, and to spend time with the kids and youth who are a part of both our residential and outreach educational programs.  Again I was bombarded with countless insights during my time in Tanzania, and I encountered the typical Tanzanian hospitality and warmth at every turn.  I realized how much I miss living there full-time.

Thus, as I sit back here, some 35,000 feet above earth, and I reflect on what has come out of these trips – where we are as a foundation, where we are still committed to going, and what we have learned along the way – I cannot help to be filled with gratitude — gratitude for the work we do and for the people with whom we work, and the people who allow us to do it.

As always, in Hope,

Billy Bludgus

Season’s Greetings!

As we reflect upon this past year, we have many things for which to be grateful at the House of Blue Hope.

Ayubu went from a life on the street to now studying at one of the best schools in Dar es Salaam.

Billy Bludgus first met Ayubu on a street in downtown Dar es Salaam begging for money and Billy learned how bad his situation was:  he lived with his Grandmother who sold peanuts on the street, sadly she could not provide for him.  Ayubu was going to a poorly run school with over 70 students in his class and he was failing.  We brought Ayubu into the House of Blue Hope program, and thanks to support from you, he has now been accepted into Loyola High School, one of the best schools in Dar es Salaam, is doing well in his studies, and hopes to be a lawyer.

Rahim was referred to the House of Blue Hope by a Baptist church in Dar es Salaam.  He is eight years old and was not attending school at all.  His father has passed away and his mother is unwell, suffering from HIV.  Thanks to donors like you, he now lives in our house, where all his needs are provided for, and he will be attending Gonzaga Jesuit Primary School this January. Rahim loves school and when asked what his favorite subject is, he replied “all of them!”.  Rahim wants to be the President of Tanzania when he grows up.

Rahim enjoys school tremendously and hopes to be the President when he grows up.

This past year brought us many new children and the addition of a full-time social worker to our staff in Tanzania.  We now currently support 19 children of need along their educational journeys. Each is enrolled in school, is provided all his meals, is provided with clothing, has his health needs cared for and benefits from customized after school programs.  During this holiday season, we ask you to get involved by making a donation to help support our success at the House of Blue Hope Foundation.  Over 90% of every dollar donated is spent directly on the children in Tanzania.  We are incredibly grateful to all our supporters who allow our work to continue and grow. Without donors like you, Rahim’s and Ayubu’s stories would be very different today.  From all of us at the House of Blue Hope, we wish you a wonderful holiday season full of joy, love, and of course, hope.

Sincerely,

All of us at the House of Blue Hope