17 Dec Faces of Children of Hope: Holiday Blessings
The holiday spirit in Kenya and in our homes is no different than in yours. We celebrate the birth of baby Jesus and bring our family together through love, prayer and connection. With Kenya being in the Southern hemisphere, the December school break calls for summer vacation and the longest period our kids have away from school. To keep our 100 children entertained during the two months, we have a tradition where we pair one or two kids with a staff member to spend the holiday period together in their homes. The time away gives our kids an opportunity to experience life outside of our home and enjoy the holidays in an intimate setting.
Year-round, our Aunties, Uncles and staff work tirelessly to provide everything they can to our children. These individuals have gotten the chance to build close relationships with each of the kids to the point the kids look up to them for advice, comfort and love. During the holiday season, there is no doubt that the love and commitment that the staff members have towards our kids is real and bold.
Seeing how passionate our staff are about our children, we created the Christmas tradition in our Kitalale home six years ago and our Kikuyu home two years ago. Since then, we’ve paired one of our Aunties, Uncles or staff members with one or two of the kids based on their needs and closeness to take them home with them and celebrate the holidays together.
Our ultimate goal as an organization is to raise and empower our kids to thrive in the real world outside of our home. This tradition serves as an opportunity for our children to experience a small family unit and receive close attention from a loved one. During the three to four weeks away, our kids get to meet and make new friends, taste new cuisines and enjoy a different routine. When it’s time to come back to the home, we’ve found everyone feels refreshed and excited to reconnect.
Some Of Our Amazing Staff
All of our staff members are champions for our kids and their biggest advocates. They want to see each one of them grow up, follow their dreams and smile every step of the way. Because of that, it is incredibly special when they choose to share their family’s love with our kids during this season. Below, are a few of our incredible staff members that channel the spirit of the holiday season like no other.
Wilson (Driver at Kikuyu)
As the main driver for our Kikuyu kids, Willson gets the opportunity to meet and interact with all of the kids on a regular basis. Wilson’s heart is one full of love and care which has led him to develop a sense of care and commitment towards Isaac and Daniel, two children in our home with special needs. When it was time to start pairing the kids with our staff members, Willson immediately volunteered to take the two boys for the holiday period for the second year in a row where his wife and two kids would receive them with special love and care. Even though it is the holiday break, Isaac still has to go to physiotherapy which Willson was keen to follow-up with.
Thanks to this close level of attention and care, we even noticed a great improvement with both kids after Wilson had them for the holidays. Daniel’s speech had improved and felt more comfortable with doing simple chores while Isaac had gained strength and greater confidence in pushing his walker. Wilson’s son, Geremy, welcomed both of the kids into his home and encouraged them every step of the way.
Risper (Auntie at Kikuyu)
Risper is one of the aunties in our Kikuyu home and for the second year in a row, she’s taken Jesse and Noah to her home during the holiday period. The connection the kids felt with Risper and her son, Franklin, was evident when upon his return, Noah narrated everything they did together during those four weeks multiple times to everyone in the home. In this case, it has also been really endearing to see how Noah’s and Jesse’s relationship shifted. Since the first time they spent the holidays together, they’ve become closer to each other and lean on each other for support.
Petronilla (Auntie at Kitalale)
During the holiday break, some Aunties take it upon themselves to achieve a certain mission. Petronilla, one of our Aunties at Kitalale wanted the task to help Abraham Jr. achieve the major milestone of toilet training. Although successful in her mission, it did require some time, perseverance and treats to entice Abraham Jr. For the past three years, Petronilla has opened her doors and heart to Abraham Jr. and Praise during the holiday period.
Martin (Security guard at Kitalale Home)
While the kids are away, they get integrated into the lifestyle and customs and routines of the home they are staying in. For Maria and Elisha who went home for the holidays with Martin, they got the chance to be around cattle, chase them, milk them and get exposed to living in a farm. Martin’s children welcomed the two girls with laughter, games and plenty of food to share while they stayed with them.
As an organization and as a family, we are incredibly grateful for all of the support that we receive year-round. Thanks to your contributions, we have been able to surround ourselves with incredible individuals who love our kids as much as we do. Our incredible staff has shared the holiday spirit and love to all of our kids in Kenya and extended this love all the way to Colorado and the world.
Thank you for the amazing support this year and happy holidays.