Today is what is referred to as Giving Tuesday, It is a day created to focus on GIVING.Personally, between the election season, the black Friday & Cyber Monday hustle and the crazy people camping out on sidewalks to bust through doors trying to get that gigantic TV that is in a box so big that it won't even fit into a cart so you have to carry it through the store to get to the check out stand, hoping that someone does not punch you on the way there only to find that the stupid huge tv wont even fit in your car...I am overstimulated, overwhelmed, feeling frazzled and a bit on the anxious and frantic side. THIS is NOT what LIFE or CHRISTMAS is about so let's talk about GIVING BACK and GROWING HOPE.Each Christmas my best pal Lisa and I collaborate to benefit someone or something, also known as giving back. This year we are working hard to give back to The Grow Hope Foundation and I thought it would be AWESOME for you to get to know the heart behind the foundation. To put a face with the name. This is Kimberly Taylor.Q: What kinds of work are you doing in the Tusubira Village?
A: Currently the team in Uganda runs a number of different projects. Our social worker Sharon works with the women of the community teaching them valuable skills to create an income, as well as tutors the children in our local school. She oversees programs like the tailoring classes where women learn to sew on machines in hopes of doing sewing for an income. We host ongoing workshops to teach sanitation, hygiene and nutrition and people come from all over Uganda to take part. We have an extensive farming program which provides sustainability for our program. We grow numerous crops which are sold to the community and at the local market which brings money back to Tusubira Village to continue the work we do.Q: Tell us about your plans for the education building:
A: The Education Building- we are so excited about finishing it! When completed this building will have space to host things like family planning clinics which is desperately needed in our area. With it’s western bathrooms and kitchen we will have the ability to host teams who come to work within our community, providing education, tools and skills so that our community can rise and see it’s true potential. I’m most excited about bringing a hydrologist who will help us find solutions to our water scarcity problem- which is needed so much after the severe droughts we have seen. I also can’t wait to bring a team of motivated passionate teachers who will spend two weeks working with our local teachers empowering them with skills to better reach and impact the children in our area. The children are the future and we need teachers who can bring real change to this area by encouraging and inspiring our kids!Q: How are these bringing HOPE to this community?
A: Hope. It’s the one thing that changes everything. I think that for many in this community there wasn’t much by way of hope three years ago. They were living the lives they had been born to without knowing that there were things they could do themselves to change that. When our team first met them there wasn’t a lot of hope to be found. But once our team connected with the amazing members of this community, and they earned their trust, this community has transformed! We began with such simple things- sanitation and hygiene. But those two things changed the health of the community and once they were healthy and saw that they had the power to make that happen, the sky was the limit. Women began learning hand skills to make things they could sell. Suddenly there was a possible income source. Some of them learned to grow crops and then found that if they were to grow more than their families needed, they could sell the excess and voila! School fees or home improvements or any number of things that they needed. And once they learned that they weren’t going to be given anything more than the skills needed to make changes, their hope came in the form of self-confidence that they had POWER and they could create a different future.Q: How has your work in Uganda changed you?
A: Wow, I’m not sure if I can even properly define how it has changed me. I think that my perspective on life is 180 degrees from where it was. I know how privileged I am - not only because we have what we do, but because I get to know a community of people half a world away who are the strongest, most determined people - especially the women- that I have ever met. I get to have a team in Uganda who feels the same as I do about empowerment vs. aid and an African brother who seriously has the SAME thoughts as I do on a regular basis. It’s no joke. We literally have the same thoughts at times - we are so totally on the same page. I feel so blessed to have been given this path by the Lord and that he continually leads me exactly where I am meant to be. Now THAT is something you would have never heard me say 3 years ago!Q: What words best describe the foundation and the vision you have for it?
A: I think that even though I named our foundation Grow Hope when I barely knew anything at all about this journey, HOPE continues to be the reason we do what we do. Hope brings out the best in people. Hope gives people a reason to keep moving forward. Hope is what we all need - to know that things can and will get better if we persevere. I also love empowerment because I truly believe that if we want to create sustainable change in any arena, the ONLY way to do that is to empower the people who live in that world to make the changes themselves. It all falls into place once they have the power themselves.Q: How can people get involved in supporting Grow Hope?
A: The best way to get involved is to become a monthly donor. Monthly donors allow us to offer programs at Tusubira Village that empower the people who come to learn because it provides a specific budget that we can work within. It is the reason we have had so much success in growing and expanding our programs. We are so incredibly grateful for our existing monthly donors (whom I consider team members because honestly- they make me feel less on my own in all of this!).People can also make one time donations to help with specific things like completing the Education building. So much potential awaits the completion of that building.People can buy the absolutely AMAZING gift set that you and Lisa have put together to support us! Not only are they a wonderful thing to buy for yourself but they make fantastic gifts!Click Here: Hope Necklace or Hope Bracelet and HOPE print
I want to thank to thank Kimberly for giving us an up close look at The Grow Hope Foundation, I am saying it outloud (and should probably let my family know) that I am committing to going on a mission trip to Uganda with Kimberly and Lisa in the next year.I want to thank Lisa for lovingly pounding each little letter and heart into place on each bracelet. There are BIG prayers being said as these are created and I am super excited to let you know that there is now a coordinating necklace!Starting today and in honor of GIVING TUESDAY, there is free shipping with the code GROWHOPE and you will get 2 HOPE prints with every gift set so they can SPREAD MORE HOPE!I am so excited to be able to be part of this team and with your help, blessed to GIVE back to them. I have to tell you that working on this takes away all of the feelings I described when I started this post and fills my heart with HOPE, true story.