Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Create For a Cause

Members of the State College Area High School National Honor Society held a " Create for a Cause" workshop at the Makery in downtown State College. The event was designed to raise money for art supplies for the Urukundo School in Rwanda

At the event children were able to work with clay, create wire sculptures, paint, draw, have caricatures made and more. Twenty-two high school students worked with children at each of the stations. They showed them art techniques then let them explore and be creative.

The day netted $340 which will be used for much needed art supplies so the kids in Rwanda can work on projects to be exchanged with several elementary classes as well as high school students.

These global connections are a great way for students of all ages to learn to give back and make a difference in other children's lives.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

The Makery Pt 1

The Makery is a creative collective in the heart of downtown State College on Calder Way. They offer art and sewing classes for all ages, workshops, parties and events in a fun, festive, light-filled space. Check out their website at themakerypa.com

This is the fourth year Amy Frank, owner of The Makery, has worked with me on sewing projects for Rwanda. They made items for teaching in the classroom, for storytelling and this year for new babies. Amy Frank and Kristin Nasal each taught two sewing classes, finishing up with beautiful receiving blankets.

Some of the flannel was donated by Scraps & Skeins, a creative reuse shop filled with sewing and knitting supplies. Check them out on Facebook!!!

The students, all girls this time, had fun selecting their favorite piece of fabric. Then it was on to learning next steps of measuring, cutting, pinning........

The Makery Pt 2

Work continues with Kristin teaching this class. Next they lay two pieces of fabric together to get them ready to pin, then the sewing begins. Lots of concentration goes into making sure the seams are straight. But there's always time to smile for the camera!!!

The Makery Pt 3

Here are the final receiving blankets made with lots of fun, creativity and love.

One girl said, "I wonder what little baby will be wrapped in my blanket.".

Friday, February 24, 2017

ABC of Advent

Last year Connie Cousins, a member of St. Luke Lutheran Church, Centre Hall, PA, traveled to Rwanda with our team. She shared, "although I can't go with the team to Rwanda this year, I know from past experience there, that "little things" can help a lot. Diapers, receiving blankets and socks all help fulfill needs at the Urukundo Home and Learning Center.

After returning she was exited to build a deeper relationship between her church and Urukundo. She gave a PowerPoint presentation and encouraged the adults to help with the Mom and Baby Community Outreach. Sewers made 17 receiving blankets and others collected 84 pairs of baby socks. Agnes Homan knit 7 baby sweaters. And then they collected over $200 to purchase diapers in Rwanda. We will add a few of these diapers to the layette kits.

Her Sunday School classes were another way to connect the church and families to Rwanda. During Advent they created ABC books of Advent which Connie actually had bound. The kids said they enjoyed making the books and are excited to receive something back from Rwanda. The kids in Rwanda will make an ABC book of Easter that will be exchanged with several Sunday Schools in the US.

Thank you Connie for sharing your love for the children and people of Rwanda.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

State High Interact

State High Interact Club's goal is "to inspire positive change within our local and global community."

This is the second year State College High School Interact has partnered with the Urukundo Children's Home and Learning Center. And they really stepped up. I shared several ideas about needs when I gave a presentation in the fall. They ended up selecting two!!!

They decorated 50 bags that will be filled with toys and handed out Christmas 2017. The most fun they said, was shopping at the Dollar Store to find all the goodies to fill the bags. What a surprise to see 2 large boxes filled with cars, balls, dolls, puzzles, glow sticks, jump ropes, school supplies, headbands, activity packets and so much more.

The second project they decided to support was "Fill the Coop". They gave $170 that will purchase 200 chicks for the Urukundo Farm. these chicks will provide eggs, protein and income for the Children's Home and farm.

Thank you Interact for being a part of the global community.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Books for Rwanda Pt 1

Each year suitcases full of books for the Urukundo School Library make their way to Rwanda. And each year individuals, groups and schools help by sponsoring the carefully selected books. These books are used for devotions, storytime at the library, research projects and simply reading for fun. They are most importantly for our primary school kids but also for families and and older kids from the community.

Thank you to our many sponsors. Here are a few comments from some of them.....

Mary's Maidens is a service mission group of girls ages 6-12 from Washington Street United Methodist Church, SC that enjoys supporting different organizations around the world, particularly ones that support children. Reading is instrumental to greater success in life. We hope that the children of Urukundo enjoy the books and benefit from reading them.

McConnellstown United Methodist Men, PA – In 2016 this men’s group sponsored books to show support for Barb Stapleton, a fellow church member and former librarian that went on our mission team to Rwanda. They believe all children should have books to spark their curiosity and imagination and are sponsoring books again in 2017.

Books for Rwanda Pt 2

Linda Duerr is an early childhood educator for over 35 years and is now finding a wonderful balance in working with future early childhood education teachers in the College of Education as well as with children of all ages in the children’s garden at the Arboretum at Penn State. “I think of sharing books as invitations to connect. Reading a book to one child or a group is an opportunity to converse. Sharing stories is the way we have connected people for generations and the images, words and stories in shared books can bring us together across a room or the wide world. When I consider that, through my support of Hope Made Real, a child or a teacher in Rwanda may be enjoying a book that I helped make its journey to their hands…I feel good!”

"Steve and I are happy to have the opportunity to sponsor children's books for the school library in Rwanda. Reading was my favorite subject to teach when I was an elementary school teacher. I enjoyed encouraging my students who already had a love for books and reading. And I loved the challenge of changing the minds of children who "hated reading". To me, that was the most satisfying part of teaching. Now that Steve and I have a grandchild, we are so happy to have the opportunity to experience children's books through him. We hope that the children in Rwanda become avid readers and feel the joy that comes with experiencing literature.” Sandy & Steve Elbin

Monday, February 20, 2017

Fill the Coop

St. Paul's United Methodist Church's Wesley Penn State students are raising money during Lent to purchase much needed chicks for our Urukundo Farm. Kate Adkison is the student coordinating this program where $85 purchases 100 chicks. FYI - The farm purchases 1,000 chicks 4 times a year.

Almost half the children in Rwanda under the age of 5 do not have enough to eat. The farm provides food for children at the Children's Home, preschool feeding program, school lunches, staff and others in the community in need. Chicks will provide eggs, protein and funds to run the farm.

A Coins for Lent Calendar will halp you save coins each day by reminding you of all that you have and others do not. It's a way to count your blessings from God.

If you have a Sunday School or upcoming Vacation Bible School that is looking for a project to give back and connect with a farm in Africa please let me know. Next year we plan to roll our Fill the Barn with options to sponsor other animals, cows, pigs and rabbits.

*Kate Adkison, Wesley student/ Mission and Justice Intern
*Wesley students
*Delivery of chicks
*Coins for Lent Calendar

For information about St. Paul's United Methodist Church Wesley students go to:

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Why I knit?

"In this life, I don't get a be a real grandmother. Knitting for babies and children through Knitting4peace lets me feel kind of like someone's grandmother. It brings me joy and happiness!" ~~ Chris

Three years ago I met Chris Murphy, knitter extraordinaire! Our connection was through all the baby hats, washcloths and baby peace pals she was knitting for Knitting 4 Peace an organization in Denver, CO founded by Susan McKee. knitting4peace.org Check them out!!!!

She would knit these amazing birthing kits and ship them to Denver to then be shipped to others for distribution. Once we met we realized there was an opportunity to save on shipping. She would provide me with what I needed for our new Mom and Baby Community Outreach then email Susan KcKee the numbers. What a great way to streamline the process.

But little did I realize the love that went into each piece Chris made. Hats were different patterns and peace babies matched even down to the bow! I recently emailed photos of Chris's baby peace pals to Susan at Knitting4Peace and it was posted on their website and Facebook page.

Just yesterday I received this email from Susan, "Chris’s Birthing Kits that I posted on our Facebook page has received a greater response than any other single photo we’ve ever posted: 88 “Likes” and 2,880 total people reached. You are an awesome/amazing team! I’m so grateful for ALL of you!!"

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Sunrise Rotary

For several years the State College Sunrise Rotary has been supporting Hope Made Real and the Urukundo Children's Home and Learning Center. One of the main reasons is Carol Baney, a longtime member that has gone to Rwanda twice with our team. Their previous focus has been helping with the needs of the primary school.

Then this past Summer of 2016 I met with their president Pam Ferguson to discuss a possible grant for our Mom and Baby Community Outreach. We discussed how we were building relationships with new moms and their babies at the birthing center across the street from the Urukundo Home. We wanted to offer support, prayers and layette items and encouraged them to keep in touch with us after they left the clinic.

Several groups provided knit baby items and receiving blankets but we still had other needs. A grant was written and it was approved!!! We were thrilled to be able to purchase 158 baby washcloths, 65 terry towels, 150 white baby snap tees, 15 baby hats and funds to pay extra baggage fees for 2 suitcases full of baby items. Each extra suitcase cost $150!!!

In addition several women gathered to make inspirational cards for the new moms. Cards offering prayers and joy for the moms and their babies. Rotary has plans to work with State College Delta middle school students on additional cards.

Thank you Rotary for all you do in our community and across the world!!!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Postcard Project

"We are more alike, than unalike." from Maya Angelou's poem Human Family.

These words are the essence of one of the State College High School's Art projects..... to share inspirational postcards. 60 high school students made amazing prices of art that reflect their dreams and wishes. I will take them to Rwanda to share with our 4th and 5th graders to inspire them to make postcards for me to bring back to the high school students. Building relationship!!

The State High students learned about the 1994 genocide and how communities and the entire country suffered. The country has been rebuilding since then. Hope Made Real has also been helping to rebuild by establishing schools, a water filtration system, children's home, programs for women and much more.

Maure Irwin-Furmanek, the high school art teacher shared, "Our hope is that State College High School students can contribute to the continuation of rebuilding the community.

This is one of several projects State High has launched. Watch for upcoming stories!!!