Update from Christmas 2016

March 15, 2017

Dear Faithful Sponsors:

I apologize for taking such a long time to update you about Christmas. Regrettably, my dad passed away a few days after Christmas. I am delighted that my family and I were able to spend quality time with him before his passing. Even in the midst of saying “good-bye” to him, the children that depend on you were not forgotten. $800.00 was put toward gifts for the children in Calf Creek Hollow and that money was stretched even further by shopping at the Goodwill Store. Gifts of mittens, scarves, socks, shower gel, deodorant, and small gifts were given to the 54 Appalachian children. $1,500.00 was put toward the annual Christmas dinner at Hope Academy and the two hundred students and their families in Africa participated in a Christmas dinner that included the sharing of Jesus’ birth (approximately 1,000 people attended the dinner). Each child and family member is so appreciative of you for your support. Every Friday night, the children and family members from Hope Academy meet together and pray for blessings on the supporters that love them and give so they can eat and live. Their prayers are the only gifts they have to offer as a thank-you to you and they do that with such joy and grateful hearts.

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A couple of weeks ago, I sent $1,500 to the children in Africa for the month of March and unfortunately our bank balance is down to $55.00. Where the support will come for the following months, I don’t know. But I am asking you again to help provide for these children with your most generous gift. I am including our latest budget for the 2016 year so that you can see how accountable we are for each dollar that is sent. Our non-profit is small compared to many organizations, but we are making an incredible impact on so many people with the money you contribute. We are grateful for every dollar that is donated to Project Respect and work diligently to make sure your dollar stretches as far as we can possibly stretch it.

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Thank you again for caring about these children and helping. Remember we help the poorest of the poor and everything you give is received with humble gratitude. My heartfelt thanks to each of you! 

Sincerely yours,

Marsha Grahek, President

See the above as Marsha’s original letter, with financial report section (PDF)

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Education at Hope Academy Enables the Dream

May 27, 2016

Dear Faithful Supporters:

Greetings to you from the children at Hope Academy in Nairobi, Kenya!  l have been talking to the children in Kenya and they have been very excited to share with me their progress in school. They had a surprise for me and sung a song called “Education”. They are very acutely aware that an education is paramount to realizing their dreams of being able to get out of the slums and break the cycle of poverty. I listened to their laughter and giddiness as they shared with me their hopes and dreams for a life totally different from the one they are now living. You have enabled them to be able to believe that they have a chance at a different and better life. Children in Africa have to pay for an education. Without money, they are not even allowed to go to school. Without an education, they don’t even dare to dream or hope for something better. Thanks again for giving these children the courage to dream!

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I need your help once again. Unfortunately, the past two months have found us low on financial help. The children went for a week without food in March and April and we are struggling to gather the support for June. Please help us again to provide for these children. Their belief in your love and concern about their welfare is unwavering. You have proved to them that you will not abandon them.

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Please send your most generous donation so we can continue to support these children. From the bottom of my heart, l say “thank-you”!

Sincerely yours,

Marsha J. Grahek, President

See the above as Marsha’s original letter to supporters

Playground and Christmas plans for Hope Academy; late 2014

It is with great joy that I share news with you regarding the playground that was purchased for the children at Hope Academy on my trip there in August 2014. The playground has been installed and the children are loving it. There are pictures on the border of this letter that show you what the playground looks like. It is so awesome to see the smiles of the children and the number of children on each piece of playground equipment! The playground has truly become a light in a dismal area!

Kevin Grahek stands next to newly delivered playground equipment, as it’s being installed at Hope Academy.

We are planning to do something special for the students and their families this year for Christmas. If we get enough support we will include the teachers. We would like to have another Christmas meal for the children and their families where the Christmas story will be shared before the meal time. We would also like to be able to provide goodie bags for each child and teacher that would include crackers, potato chips, cookies, gum, candy, oranges and apples, Etc. based on my recent trip to Kenya we would be feeding 700 people and providing 220 goodie bags. The cost for the meal and goodie bags would be estimated between $4,000 and $5,000. Last year, we were only able to raise $1,200 and therefore were only able to have a meal that included the students and some of their family members. I am hoping that the money raised this year will be enough to provide both Amelia goodie bags for each child.

We will be collecting money until December 17th and then we will wire the money to the school. The staff of the school will purchase items for the goodie bags and put the goodie bags together. Anyone who is interested in blessing these children this Christmas can make a donation of any size to project respect. Please visit the website for more information about the school. May God bless you richly for bringing joy to these children.

 

Sincerely yours,

Marsha Grahek, President

Report on August 2014 visit to Hope Academy in Nairobi

Dear Faithful Sponsor:

It is with great joy that I have the opportunity to visit Hope Academy, the school that we have been supporting in Nairobi Kenya Africa for the past 12 years. At the school when I looked at the 200 children lined up waiting for Kevin’s and my arrival, I was overwhelmed. To me the children were absolutely beautiful! I went from child to child holding each child’s hand in my hands and told them some version of Hi how are you? I’m so happy to see you! Some of the children were very shy and waited for me to take their hands and my hands. Other children laughed and giggled and held out their hands waiting for their turn to be greeted by the White American lady. My son, Kevin and I visited each of the classrooms and Amy love beans and rice with them. For most of the children, that deal of beans and rice would be their meal for the day. We saw the tour and sweaters and a little ties that were held around their next by elastic bands. We watch them run and play with old discarded tires and no one else wanted. I met the staff of workers (20 total) who faithfully take care of the children every day without any pay because the poverty is so great.

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Lunch with orange soda at Hope Academy.

When we came, we have many surprises for the children that’s a porter gave me money for soccer balls and another gave me money to give the staff as a thank-you for what they do. we were able to purchase playground equipment that would serve as a constant reminder that there are people in the United States that love them and care for them. We also built a bathroom with 8 stalls that is the beginning of a new school that we want to build for the children.

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Marsha Grahek standing in the entrance of a new bathroom building at Hope Academy.

Kevin and I walk through the toughest slums area where the children from the school live and were exposed to Poverty such as we have never seen. In the midst of the slums there were children following us and reaching out their hands hoping that we had some food for them. They were starving and desperate for any morsel of food we may have had. We invited many in the slums to a Sunday service and picnic. On Sunday, we had a festival for the students that included Inflatables to jump in, a camel to ride and a puppet to show with lots of music. I had the joy of jumping with these children on the Inflatables, dancing with them and singing with them. I watched as the children swarmed all over the playground equipment before the equipment was set up. The children’s saw things that week that they probably never saw before.

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The roadside welcome sign for Hope Academy in Nairobi, Kenya.

On Saturday, we surprised the parents and children with a picnic. We served 700 people a meal of beans, rice, brown gravy and a potato with a bottle of soda. On Sunday, the families in the slum areas responded and we ended up feeding 1200 people the people from the neighboring neighborhood kept coming until the pans were scraped clean and there was nothing left. When we left on Sunday it was very difficult to say goodbye to the children and staff. As we left, I felt more resolved than ever to help build a new school that would allow the 1200 children that are on the waiting list to have a chance to attend school. I discovered that without project respect these children would have nothing. Many would have died of starvation and none would have gone to school.

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The children rush to touch the arms and hands of the visiting Marsha Grahek.

As I think about these precious children there are so many things that we need. We need money to connect the bathroom to the sewer line and to provide for a tank that holds water for flushing. We also need more people who are willing to provide monthly support. It takes only $10 a month to provide for a child and there are many months where we are $500 short in needed funds just for the care of the children. We need people who are willing to make a commitment so that the beans and rice doesn’t run out before the end of the month. We also need people who are willing to financially bless the staff that care for these children. Anything you decide to do will be a great blessing to these children whether it’s a one-time gift or a monthly gift — everything is greatly appreciated and needed.

Please visit our website to see a video of the school children and to see plans for a new school from the bottom of my heart I say thank you on behalf of the children at Hope Academy and myself. Thank you for partnering with me to create a beacon of light (Hope Academy) in the midst of a very dismal place. Your support provides hope to these children.

Sincerely,

Marsha Grahek, President