It’s Not Goodbye, It’s See You Later…

As Dr. Seuss has famously stated: “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened”.

This is how I am approaching leaving Light of Hope (LOH) and Kenya after this amazing, inspirational and life changing trip.

Given my extended time at the school, I was able to experience two other groups leave the girls before me – those goodbyes are filled with tears, tears and some more tears. Some of these girls do not show full emotion while you are there – probably given their non-emotional upbringing – but it all comes out when goodbyes need to be said.

The other Christa – Christa B – who was visiting the school looked at the girls and said it best – It’s not a Goodbye – It’s a see you later…

The first round of goodbyes included close to 15 people who were leaving to head on safari.

All of the girls left the school at the end of the day and walked the group back to our Bellevue house – which was close to a mile down the road. The sun was setting – their laughs turned to silence – they were holding onto the hands and legs of those leaving with dear life – as the massive group walked down the dirt road.

Amazing how it was the quiet ones who broke down the most – spending these days with volunteers is such a blessing for them since the heartfelt love is something that they have only experienced since joining LOH.

The goodbyes were long and hard – only being interrupted by the other travelers on the street.

A few days after that Christa #2 was setting to leave.

I had the privilege of meeting Christa on my 2012 trip to the school where she spent 4 months with the girls – living on their campus so this “see you later” was a mix of being harder for some girls but easier for others.

Christa #2 is an example of how our trips to LOH are not a one and done deal – her frequent visits have shown the girls that we really do care and are vested in seeing their progress over the years.

She also had a great name!

Then four days later was the inevitable “see you later” for me.

I got to spend the morning with the girls – relaxing – participated in church and even brought them some Kenya treats to have after their lunch (the off sugar puffs called Wows that made their lips change color).

As I started to walk to the car, I got overwhelmed with the amount of girls coming out of every door at the school. I love all these girls equally the same but there are those few who I hold close to my heart…there is:

  • Lydia
  • Cate (Lydia’s Sister)
  • Faith Mary
  • My new friend Agnes, Vivian
  • Mary
  • Jane
  • Virginia
  • Linda, Jane, Catherine, Virginia, Ester, Peris – the list goes on and on.

And as I close out my Kenya journey of my 41 Acts of Giving – I can’t leave my post without acknowledging Sandy and Boni – the founders of LOH.

These two individual built this school from the ground up and are in fact saving the lives of all of these girls. I would not be prouder or more blessed to have our lives meet together – they will never leave my heart of life.

Sandy experienced the loss of her dear daughter last month and powered through this trip because of her devotion to this school and girls – I think the world of her.

Sandy – Shannon will forever watch over this school and you and Boni for the rest of your lives…as an Angel should.

So here it is, my See You Later to the girls at LOH – until next time…

Christa Z’s 41 Acts of Giving:

  1. Organize a package of crafts and learning supplies to bring to the girls at Light of Hope
  2. Teach the girls how to fly a kite
  3. Save a girl
  4. Have the girls help me create something to sell at the LOH fundraiser
  5. Show the Girls what it is like to be a Princess for a Day
  6. Heritage never lost – never forgetting and praising family
  7. Show the girls Disneyland – Kenyan Style
  8. Create 70 “Banana Smiles”
  9. Show the Girls what simple fun is
  10. Give 110% of Myself to the girls at LOH and never say goodbye

Thank You !

Thank you to all who made this year’s Shine a Light of Hope Gala the most successful ever!!  Over $120,000 was raised in support of Light of Hope’s annual operating budget.

A very special thanks to Dr. Verna Price and Tonia Hughes for their time and talent for the evenings’ festivities.

See Gala Photos

It’s not too late – Gala April 17th!

It’s not too late to join us for the 13th Annual Shine a Light of Hope Gala. Beginning at 6:00 pm Friday, April 17th at the Golden Valley Country Club it will be our privilege to come together raise funds in support of Light of Hope’s general operating budget. Throughout the cocktail hour guests will have the opportunity to:

  • Purchase Mystery Boxes, or buy chances to win our fabulous Heads or Tails prize, a luxurious week’s stay in Cabo San Lucas !
  • Visit our information room and purchase the 2014 Light of Hope Year Book.
  • Sign up to attend one of three featured  Hope Gatherings!  A perfect alternative for those unable to attend the gala and still want to support Light of Hope.

Dinner and the formal program begin at 7:00 pm. We are thrilled to have national gospel recording artist, Tonia Hughes, serving as our emcee and musical guest.  Dr.Verna Cornelia Price, CEO of The Power of People Consulting Group and Founder and President of Girls in Action will be this year’s speaker. Throughout the evening you will learn about Light of Hope, its mission, and come to know more personally the girls who call Light of Hope home.

Together we will shine a light of hope!

2014 Light of Hope Yearbook

Light of Hope has a yearbook to celebrate our students and staff!

The  2014 yearbook will make its inaugural debut at the Shine a Light of Hope Gala on April 17th at the Golden Valley Golf and Country Club

Buy One, Give One 

$45.00 you will receive a hard cover copy,
and a soft cover copy will be delivered to a student at LOH

The yearbook is a beautiful collection of the girls, staff, and Light of Hope campus in a professional hard cover yearbook. Recent traveler Ryan Johnson will bring the girls to you through his photos. A perfect way to meet the girls and staff, reminisce and share stories as a previous traveler, or an opportunity to put a face with the name you have shared letters with.

It is our goal that each student receive a yearbook. Thank you!

Time is Running Out – Please join us!

Time is running out to join us at the 13th annual Shine a Light of Hope Gala being held on Friday, April 17, 2015, at the Golden Valley Golf and Country Club.   Join speaker Dr. Verna Cornelia Price, CEO of The Power of People Consulting Group and Founder and President of Girls in Action, along with national gospel recording artist Tonia Hughes as together they share how the “Power of One” can change the world.

Invite your friends to an inspiring night and learn how this important organization is educating, supporting, and creating the leaders of tomorrow in Kenya, Africa. A purchased table of 10 receives two free bottles of wine to share with the table. Thank you to our generous sponsor Platinum Bank.

The gala is our largest fundraiser of the year. Proceeds for the event will be used to support the general operating needs at Light of Hope Home and School. YOU can make a difference in one night. Last year’s gala attendees help provide:

  • The resources needed to fulfill LOH’s holistic approach for each girl at LOH
  • New animals to the Light of Hope homestead
  • Variation to the thriving sustainable gardening which is feeding the girls at LOH
  • Annual teacher training and workshops
  • 10 new girls to the LOH family

Unite for the Right to Learn

Watch Hanna’s Story

Meet Hanna Rose. She is a 13 year old girl from Minnesota who will inspire you with her short video on how we all have the power to make a difference when we unite for the right to education around the world.

Feeling inspired? Want to do something to make a difference? Please join us for our 13th annual Shine a Light of Hope Gala being held on Friday, April 17, 2015, at the Golden Valley Golf and Country Club.  Join speaker Dr. Verna Cornelia Price, and emcee/performing artist Tonia Hughes as together they share how the “Power of One” can change the world.

Tickets for this event are on sale now.  The fundraising evening supports Light of Hope Home and School for Girls, which provides refuge, restoration, and redirection in a supportive family environment to lost and homeless girls in Kenya, Africa. Proceeds for the event will used to support the general operating needs at Light of Hope Home and School.

April 17 Gala and NEW – Hope Gatherings!

13th Annual Shine a Light of Hope Gala

Friday, April 17, 2015 – 6:00pm, Golden Valley Golf and Country Club

Please join us at this year’s Gala!  The night won’t be complete without you.  All dollars raised go to support Light of Hope’s general operating budget.

New this year – Hope Gatherings!

Hope Gatherings are informal parties hosted by Light of Hope board members on a day other than the gala. The gatherings are hosted on a set day for a set amount. Every dollar raised from the Hope Gatherings goes directly to the girls at Light of Hope.

Bring your friends, join a gathering (or two), and enjoy, all while supporting the important mission of Light of Hope. One Gathering is in July and two more in September.  Space is limited, so don’t delay.

You may purchase tickets at the Gala.  Unable to attend the gala??  Purchase your tickets for a Hope Gathering today:

Hope Gathering #1

 Jazz Duo and Designer Appetizers

A unique night on the town featuring a private concert by jazz musicians Mark Mueller and Kenni Holmen, gourmet appetizers provided by Macy’s Catering, and wine.

Location: Macy’s Oak Grille in Downtown Minneapolis (700 Nicollet Mall)
Date: Monday, September 21, 2015
Time: 6:30-8:30 PM

Cost per person:  $75

Maximum 40 guests

Hope Gathering #2  

Wines Around the World – Food and Wine Pairing

A casual and relaxing evening on Stubbs Bay on Lake Minnetonka, featuring regional food and wine pairings from the US, Europe and South America. Join us for a casual and social evening on the patio enjoying a fabulous view of Lake Minnetonka.

Location: 495 Oxford Road, Orono, MN 55356
Date: Saturday, July 11, 2015
Time: 7:00 pm

Cost per person: $50

Maximum number of guests: 30

Hope Gathering #3

Fall Wine and Boat Cruise

Enjoy a glass of wine while taking in the view of Carson’s Bay on beautiful Lake Minnetonka.  Then board the historic Minnehaha Steamboat for a 90 minute informational tour of fall colors on gorgeous Lake Minnetonka.

Location:  19855 Cottagewood Ave, Excelsior, Minnesota
Date: Saturday, September 26
Time: 4:00-7:00 pm

Cost per person: $75

Maximum number of guests: 25

2015 Shine a Light of Hope Gala Fun!

Join the fun at the Shine a Light of Hope Gala by playing Mystery Boxes and Heads or Tails to win fabulous prizes!

Mystery Boxes are $25 each

  • Pick a box
  • Turn it in to the Mystery Box table
  • Find out what you have won!

Each Mystery Box contains prizes such as:

  • One week stay at any Westgate Resort
  • Tickets to major sporting events
  • Lifetime Fitness Personal Training
  • Jewelry
  • Target & Caribou gift cards
  • Restaurant gift certificates
  • Wine

Play Head or Tails

Get a chance to win an incredible Cabo San Lucas vacation by playing Heads or Tails at the Gala.
New in 2015 – purchase up to 3 Pendants to increase your chances of winning! Pendants are $25 each 

  • Purchase your Light of Hope pendants at the Gala.
  • Our emcee will be leading the game by flipping a coin.
  • Prior to flipping the coin, participants choose either their HEAD or TAIL, and are eliminated each round depending on the flip of the coin.

Get your Tickets Today!

A Path Appears, January 26

A Path Appears premieres on Independent Lens this January 26th. Check your local PBS station for details.

Watch for the upcoming January 2015 documentary based upon a new book, A Path Appears: Transforming Lives, Creating Opportunity by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.  The book tells about people who are making the world a better place.  It describes real ways that others can change the world too, whether  with their time, by capitalizing on their skills, or by using the resources of their businesses.

Their first book, Half the Sky , opened the eyes of the world to the dire plight of women in developing countries.   Through their powerful true stories, the authors showed that the key to progress lies in unleashing women’s potential, that change is possible, and that each of us can play a role in making it happen.