Sunday, June 30, 2013

Lennox Family Gift Brings Smiles
(and so much more!)

Greg Lennox and his family have made such a difference for the Kaya children. With a recent gift of $30,000, they’ve provided Kaya with a beautiful Toyota minivan (to replace one in disrepair) and some additional vehicle maintenance funds. When I asked Greg if he could share his story, to perhaps inspire others, he was eager to help. Here is his family’s story, as told by Greg himself!

Our family learned about Kaya shortly after we adopted our Bolivian son, Christopher.  We heard about founder Chi's book (“When Invisible Children Sing”), read it, and wanted to learn more.  The more we learned about the heart of Kaya, their commitment to sharing the love of Jesus while using researched based interventions in the lives of the boys in their care, the more impressed we became.  At one point, we had an opportunity to help with funds for a soccer pitch near the homes -- something close to our hearts as well, since our son and one of our daughters were avid soccer players at the time. 

A few years ago, we had the privilege of visiting La Paz with our son, and spent time with the Kaya team.  We continued to be impressed by the integrity and humility of the leadership team and staff.  It would have been easier to just run a conventional orphanage, but Kaya is committed to continually monitoring the effectiveness of its programs and making appropriate adjustments. For example, Kaya shifted resources to support families in El Alto, when they recognized that well-meaning orphanages, and even Kaya, can create unintentional incentives for families to abandon their children.

Recently, we learned of the need for a new van to make the long journey between the school in La Paz and the "suburban" location of the boys' homes.  We jumped at the chance to help out.  We remembered the old vans, which had already seen a lot of use a few years ago...

Greg & Lillian Lennox along with their family (Meredith & Nathan Chase, Emily, Natalie, Abigail and Christopher) have made such a positive difference for Kaya. We feel so fortunate to have been blessed with their friendship and support!

Katie’s Kaya Story
Katie Harris was born and raised in California, but now feels blessed to be serving the needs of Bolivian children at the Kaya Center in La Paz.  She first learned about Kaya Children International in 2008 through Park Street Church in Boston where she had moved for employment. By 2012, Katie began feeling the need to make a change in her life.  She knew that she wanted to work with Spanish speaking children in Latin America. The more she learned about Kaya, the more she knew it was a perfect fit. Before long, Katie had given notice at her job and had booked a flight to La Paz!

When Katie first arrived at Kaya, it was clear to her that each staff member truly loved the kids. She says, “This makes the Kaya Center a very special place. The kids receive food, clothing and academic support, but – more importantly – they also receive encouragement, love and acceptance. One of the things I value most about the Kaya Center is that it is a space where our kids can be typical kids—they play, laugh and even sometimes fight.”

Katie finds each day at the Kaya Center to be full of new activities. The kids’ excitement, she says, “is contagious.” Her typical daily schedule with the kids includes classroom time (for homework), a “family style” lunch, and playtime (soccer, tag, Uno, dolls and blocks are some favorites!) Special activities include field trips, music or dance lessons and birthday celebrations.

Though she finds the children’s stories to be “heartbreaking and at times overwhelming,” Katie Harris believes the Kaya Center is truly a place of hope and healing. We, at Kaya, feel very blessed to have Katie in our lives!