Bright Futures Children's Home

Bright Futures Children’s Home, Migori, Kenya

“A hundred years from now, it will not matter what kind of car I drove, what kind of house I lived in, how much money I had in the bank…but the world may be a better place because I made a difference in the life of a child.” – Forest Witcraft


A young girl from Bright Futures contemplates her future. Photo courtesy of Gary S. Chapman Photography, all rights reserved.


A young boy inside Bright Futures at night. Photo courtesy of Gary S. Chapman Photography, all rights reserved.

We at I Am 2 Partners, Inc. are about finding nonprofits doing fantastic work and utilizing our website and social networks to rally support for extremely worthy projects that help eliminate needless suffering of the world’s children. We’re thrilled to launch our first external project — Bright Futures Children’s Home – along with our excellent partner, BrightPoint for Children — an organization directed by Steve Smith from Marietta, Georgia, that runs an orphanage and school for impoverished children in Migori, Kenya.

Migori is the capital of its district and has a population of 35,000. Bright Futures Children’s Home presently cares for 37 children ranging in age from 6-16 and houses both boys and girls. Most are orphans or children who were on the streets. They are in a rented facility that runs approximately $125 US per month, and are at risk of losing their facility because of the landlord who is threatening a rent increase. A local church helps with very limited support for the children’s home, but the church is very poor.

This is from an excerpt from someone who went to Bright Futures Children’s Home:

“They have nothing, literally. They have just a building with a few mattresses. You see this is an orphanage and a school. These children don’t have the money to buy uniforms or pay school fees, but the pastor and his wife started it to help the neighborhood children. They have teachers that volunteer and then at night they roll out the “mattresses” and that is where they sleep. We were heartbroken for them. The next day we packed up all the stuff we had, got more school supplies, went to the local market and bought more items and then went back to Bright Futures. They were so overjoyed when we gave out the cookies and dresses and clothes. The thanks they shared us was from the bottom of their hearts and you could feel it.”

Their own children were on the trip with them and saw Bright Futures. Here’s what the mother and father had to say about having their children there with them: “Our kids are so lucky to be in this place and I hope they realize it. I hope they learn that they should always give when they have and even when they have very little but their friend has nothing. Definitely something we could all stand to learn. We have hardly made a dent in the stock of items, but surely made a difference for those few children for now.”

Making a difference is what I Am 2 Partners, Inc., and BrightPoint for Children are all about, and it’s what this project is about. This place doesn’t have enough food to feed the kids. But like those other visitors, we believe we can make a difference for these 37 children until they obtain sponsorships from donors.


A rare treat: a nearby church brought a meal for the children. Photo courtesy of Gary S. Chapman Photography, all rights reserved.

Here’s what the project looks like. For a period of six months (while BrightPoint for Children can identify and raise sponsorships for the children at Bright Futures):

  • We will be providing funds to purchase food, water and provide housing for the 37 orphans at Bright Futures Children’s Home in Migori, Kenya.
  • We will help cover costs for 3 adults to provide care (a cook, a live-in matron, and a night watchman).
  • We will help cover their rent so they are not evicted from their facility because of their inability to pay all their rent (which may be increasing).
  • We will provide firewood for cooking (there is no electricity) and night-time heating.

To complete this project we must raise $7000. It is hard to imagine being able to feed and shelter 37 children for six months for only $7000, isn’t it? It doesn’t take much, and it won’t take many donors to make this happen. For example:

  • If 70 people give $100 we will have met our goal and helped these children;
  • If 140 people give $50 we will have met our goal;
  • If 280 people give just $25 we will have met our goal;
  • If 700 people give just $10 (one-time), together we will have made a huge difference in the lives of these children!
  • If 1000 people give just $7 each (one time), these children will be have their needs met for 6 months while BrightPoint for Children finds them permanent sponsors. We can do this!

The facility has no electricity, so the children meet by lantern-light in the evenings:


Lanterns provide the only light. Photo courtesy of Gary S. Chapman Photography. All rights reserved.

The needs at the orphanage are many: food, clothing, uniforms for school, school costs/tuition, mattresses, beds, blankets, hygiene items, shoes, adult staff (cook, matron, watchman), etc. There is no running water. They buy their water from elsewhere and it must be carried by hand to the orphanage every day. Cooking is done over fire/coals for all the children and takes hours a day.


Cooking over the wood fire. Photo courtesy of Gary S. Chapman Photography, all rights reserved.

Here are two Bright Futures children cleaning and airing-out their “mattress”:


Boys cleaning their “mattress” at Bright Futures. Photo courtesy of Gary S. Chapman Photography, all rights reserved.

Here’s a link to some more of Gary S. Chapman’s photos taken at Bright Future Children’s Home: http://garyschapman.com/pit-bright-futures

How You Can Help:

There are three key things you can do to help the Bright Futures children. And don’t skip the third step – it is crucial to engaging a team that will meet this need!

FIRST: make a one time donation of whatever you can afford to give by clicking on this button:


When you donate, we’ll add you to the newsletter for I Am 2 that will help keep you updated with progress on this project and how your donation has helped these children! Check back with us often!

SECOND: consider sponsoring one of the Bright Futures kids, providing them not only with food, water and shelter, but also with shoes, clothing, school tuition fees, and medical care…all for only $40 per month. If you are interested in sponsoring one of these beautiful children (you can specify boy or girl, and age between 6-16), click here:

(Note: at present we don’t have pictures of all the children. Since Bright Futures is in a remote part of the country, remaining pictures will be taken and posted for sponsorship consideration as soon as BrightPoint for Children’s Kenya manager can get back to the location with a camera as it is some distance and the roads are very difficult.)

THIRD: this step is so important if we are to get 1000 people to give $7 each – share this story with others in your social networks (Facebook, Twitter, email, etc.) and encourage them to join us/you in this project to help us get much-needed food, water and shelter to the children of Bright Futures!!! The more you share this story with your social network, the more people can give and the quicker we can get help to these kids. Please share it now with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and any other networks you connect with. And don’t forget that you can still share it the old-fashioned way, too: let your church, synagogue, mosque, small groups, service clubs, etc., know about it, too! Click on the icons down below to share the story of Bright Futures Children’s Home.

To subscribe to future updates about Bright Future Children’s Home and this project, subscribe to this blog post using the subscribe box to the right!

Let’s make compassion viral and help make the future a bit brighter for these children!!






 

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Why I Got Involved (and Matching Grant Opportunities!!!)

NEWSFLASH: I Am 2 Partners, Inc. is offered not one, not three, but four $5000 matching grants!  Scroll down for more information!

Why I chose to get involved…
Let me introduce myself to you!  My name is Galen Dalrymple, and I’m the director of operations for I Am 2 Partners, Inc.  I’m new with I Am 2, but I’ve got 25 years in the for-profit business world and 10 in the non-profit world that has helped prepare me for this challenge.

You may wonder, “Why are you doing what you are doing with I Am 2 Partners, Inc.?  Isn’t it risky being part of a start-up that asks for money in a difficult economy?  It sure is!!!  But I want to show, not just tell you why I’m passionate about I Am 2 and what we’re doing.

 

 

Those five beautiful children are my grandkids.  They will all go to bed tonight with full stomachs, with plenty of safe water to drink, and with families that love them and put roofs over their heads.  And they will all wake up tomorrow morning with a happy present and a hopeful future.

Not all children have it so good.  In fact, millions in America and around the world won’t be able to do any of those three things.  Thousands won’t wake up tomorrow morning because they’ll die during the night of starvation, disease or abuse. (Every 3 seconds a child dies because of starvation or a preventable water-borne disease.)

When I see pictures of children who are starving, who are so stick-thin that you can see the contours of all the bones in their bodies, I see the faces of my children and my grandchildren.  I imagine the anguish of the parents and grandparents who are usually powerless to do anything when their children lie in bed with their distended bellies and cry themselves to sleep.  You know what?  If I were the parent or grandparent of that child, I would desperately hope and pray that someone who had the means would take compassion on my child and provide what they need. That’s why I’m doing what I’m doing.

I’ve not said those things to make you feel guilty.  I’ve said them because the first step to making a difference is to raise awareness of the sheer magnitude of the problem.  The people behind I Am 2 Partners, Inc. really do care about providing for these children and saving their lives.  We’re ready to tackle the issues head on, to get food, safe water and protection to those who need it most – the helpless kids around the world – in spite of the economic conditions plaguing our planet.  If those were my kids, I wouldn’t want people to turn their heads and forget about my child.  Would you?

I can’t do much by myself.  I am, by western standards, far from a wealthy man.  But I can do something – even if it is only donating a couple bucks a month.  Our goal is not to get a few ultra-wealthy donors (though they’d be welcome!), but we hope to organize a compassionate army of thousands (millions?!) of people giving just $2 – $5 bucks a month (or more!).  By working together, we can – literally – save the lives of some of the neediest children in the world.

Join us.  Encourage your family and friends to join us.  Encourage them to sign up for our newsletter, to share and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.  Let your church, synagogue, mosque or service clubs know about us.  Talk to them about the vision – thousands of people with compassionate hearts each giving a little bit each month – and invite them to join you in supporting this great, great cause.  Our 501.c.3 application has been filed and is pending and we expect approval soon, so your donations are tax deductible for 2012 even now (by law, donations made within 18 months of the filing date are deductible.)  On behalf of the parents and grandparents who are powerless to help their own children: Thank you!

Here’s a link you can share with your friends so they can sign up for our free newsletter (we expect to publish 2x monthly): Subscribe to the I Am 2 Partners, Inc. Newslettter
(NOTE: If the newsletter subscription link doesn’t work for you, send an email to: admin@iam2.org and let us know and we’ll send you a link so you can sign up!  Some mail security systems seem to have trouble with it that link, but it works for most!)

Alone I am one, but with you, I Am 2.  Together – together – we can make the world a better place for children and their families!!!!

_   _   _   _
I Am 2 Partners, Inc. offered four $5,000 matching grants!

Newsflash, 2/20/12: We just received word that we have been offered four $5,000 matching grants! What does that mean?  It means for every dollar you donate to I Am 2 Partners, Inc. for the next month, it can turn into $5!  Our matching grant donors will match your giving dollar for dollar up to a $5,000 limit each!  If we join forces and can raise $5,000 on our own, these matching grants will bring the total to $25,000!  What a tremendous opportunity to maximize the effect of your giving and help us to serve needy children!

Would you please consider donating something to help us get I Am 2 Partners, Inc. off the ground while these matching grants are in force?  Or, if you can’t give now, please pass along this message to your friends, neighbors, service clubs, church groups or company who share your passion for helping children.

You can make a donation to help fund the work and development of I Am 2 Partners, Inc., by clicking on the “Donate” button below:

How else can you help?  Since we’re all about taking compassion viral through social media, you can Friend/Share our Facebook page (links below),share us with your Twitterfriends, or share our website with them where they can view a video message from our founder, Dan Bowling.  Bear in mind, however, that the website you see now is a temporary place-holder, while we raise the funds to develop the site that we will use to support the projects that help needy children everywhere.

Social networks are not always used for the best of purposes.  Let’s match our best technologies with our best intentions.  Let’s take compassion viral.  Please join us.

On behalf of the I Am 2 Partners, Inc. board: Dan Bowling, Jeff Dunbar, Justin McDonald, Ben Howell, James Christerson, Garrett Moore, and also from Galen Dalrymple (director of operations) and Tim Dalrymple (director of content) – WE THANK YOU!

If you want to visit our main web page, click here.

To sign-up for our twice monthly newsletter, click here.
Go to our Facebook page, and add us as a Friend, and click LIKE so your friends can catch the I Am 2 Partners, Inc. wave!

Click here to go to I Am 2 Partners, Inc. Facebook page.

Let's Change the World…Together!

Let’s get started changing the world. 

Alone, I am 1. With you, I am 2. Together we can make a difference!

We want to tell you about a new ministry with revolutionary potential.  It takes some of the most powerful and cutting-edge tools at our disposal to fight some of the most profound and enduring problems we face as human beings.

——————————————–

First let’s look at the challenges:

Are you angry that over 5000 children die every single day because they have no access to clean water?  I am too.

Are you frustrated when you hear that 70,000 babies are born with AIDS in South Africa every year?  I am too.

Are you stunned to hear that 7200 men purchase sex with a child every month – in Atlanta, Georgia?  I am too. Are you longing to make a difference, to do something to help these children in need?  iam2.

——————————————–

But consider, too, the power of social networks:

Gathering people: The number of active users on Facebook is roughly equal to the total population of Europe.  And Facebook is no longer the cutting edge.  Twitter now sends 200 million messages per day – and while it took Facebook three years to reach 25 million users, it took Google+ a single month.

Spreading information: When an earthquake struck Virginia last August, before a single minute had passed, 5500 Tweets per second were spreading the news.  Since electronic signals travel faster than seismic waves, people in neighboring states heard about the earthquake on Twitter before they felt it rattling their homes.  Or, to take another example: three and a half hours after the (correct) rumor started that Osama bin Laden had been killed, there were 1 million Tweets, 7000 blog posts and 7500 news stories on the subject.

Forming relationships: Seventeen percent of American couples that married in 2010 had originally met through a dating website.  Online dating sites in the United States received 593 million visits in the month of October 2011 alone.

Changing the world: Social networks like Facebook and Twitter were credited with helping the Egyptian revolution, prompting one reporter to write: “Social media turned a nation upside down in a matter of days.”

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Alone, it’s easy to despair at the scale of the challenges we face.  Together, we can change the calculus of social transformation.  The central concept of I Am 2 Partners, Inc. is to join together as friends and partners to support some of the worthiest projects serving children in the United States and around the globe.  If we were to rally thousands or even millions of people to give a small amount – $2, $5, $20 or $50 – on a regular basis, imagine what we could accomplish!

The process will look like this.  The team at iam2 will identify worthy projects providing for the basic needs of children and will subject the nonprofits behind those projects to a thorough vetting process.  Then we will host the certified projects at our website, where we’ll attract supporters and give supporters the tools to spread their support exponentially outward to their networks of friends and connections.  Eventually, our own operating expenses will be entirely covered by corporate and private donors, so that those who give money to a project listed at the iam2.org website will know that every penny goes specifically to that project.

As a member at I Am 2 Partners, Inc., you will have the power to suggest or vote on projects, to donate to projects, to follow the story of how those projects are faring, and to connect with other compassionate individuals to raise funds and rally support for the causes you most care about.

Right now, our greatest need is for general donations that will help us develop the website and the team with all the powers we need.  Donating to I Am 2 Partners, Inc.is a strategic investment in the future.  By supporting us, you are helping to create a launching pad for hundreds of other projects – projects that will serve thousands of needy children around the world.

Would you please consider donating some of the money we need to launch?  Or if you can’t give right now, please pass along this message to your friends and neighbors.  Friend/Share our Facebook page, share us with your Twitter friends, or share the link to our website, where they can view a video message from our founder, Dan Bowling.  Bear in mind, however, that the website you see now is a temporary place-holder, while we raise the funds to develop the site that we will use to support the projects that help needy children everywhere.

Social networks are not always used for the best of purposes.  For instance, over 200 million songs are downloaded illegally every day.  At I Am 2 Partners, Inc., we want to put these powerful communications technologies to use on behalf of the neediest children in this country and around the world.  Let’s match our best technologies with our best intentions.  Let’s take compassion viral.  Please join us.

From the I Am 2 Partners, Inc. board: Dan Bowling, Jeff Dunbar, Justin McDonald, Ben Howell, James Christerson, Garrett Moore, and also from Galen Dalrymple (director of operations) and Tim Dalrymple (director of content).

If you want to visit our main web page, click here.

If you’re already convinced and want to make a donation, click here.

Are you ready to get started?  iam2!!!

Go to our Facebook page, and add us as a Friend, and click LIKE so your friends can catch the iam2 wave!

Click here to go to iam2.org’s Facebook page.

Click here to go to the iam2.org Twitter page.

 

Getting Started!

We’ve finally begun to spread the word about iam2.org and the extraordinary things it could accomplish.  The missing ingredient is…well, the missing ingredient is YOU.  We need your involvement.  iam2.org is about banding together and accomplishing great things as a community.

Thanks to bloggers like Elizabeth Scalia (“The Anchoress“), Scot McKnight (Jesus Creed) and Justin Taylor (Between Two Worlds) for helping spread the word through their blogs or social networks.  Please do the same!  Please use the Share buttons to tell people about iam2 on Facebook, Twitter or Google+.  We need to gather the initial financial support we need in order to build this website and this ministry into everything it can be.  Please donate.

In the meantime, I wanted to share the very first thing (well before we went “public”) that iam2.org’s founder, Dan Bowling, wrote at this site.  It’s called “Her Name Is Cecilia”:

– – –

Her name was Cecilia. Her black hair was striped with gray, and her eyes filled with tears as she saw me approach.

It was the kind of summer day you only find in Atlanta. The stifling heat rises off the asphalt and concrete, and the air is nearly too thick to breathe. Outside was the last place I wanted to be, but I knew I could help a few people get through the day if I passed out water. Plus, I honestly had nothing better to do.

That’s when I encountered Cecilia.

We began to talk. She had no other way to get water, but it wasn’t the water t hat had moved her. It was the fact that someone had taken the time to help. All it had taken was a water bottle and a moment out of my day to make her feel loved. She felt important. She felt noticed.

How much is a water bottle worth to you? It meant nothing to me — and everything to her. Our exchange left a smile on my face and a spark of excitement in my gut as I began the drive back to the air-conditioned comfort of my apartment in the suburbs.

But something happened on the way home. With every block, I passed more people who fought the elements alone. More people who sought what Cecelia had found: a sense that they were not forgotten. Their expressions of despair weighed on me. What could one person do?

It’s easy to feel hopeless. Even right here in America, 100,000 children between the ages of 10 and 15 are forced into prostitution every year. Seventeen million children in go to bed every night malnourished, and 1.5 million American children are homeless. The problems are so vast; we don’t know where to start. And so we never start.

That’s why I’ve invited you here. Together, we can change these statistics. Together, we can take our success and transform it into significance.

I can’t do it alone. And neither can you. Let’s come alongside one another to fund and create Iam2.org, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that will empower hundreds of other non-profits to transform our world, by giving individuals a simple way to make a profound impact.

Are you ready to attempt something great? I am too . Are you ready to come together and make an impact? I am too. Are you ready to save lives, give hope, and forge a great legacy? I am too. Without you, I am alone and limited. With you, I am 2, and together we can do something great.

I am honored to partner with you and thankful for your support.

-Dan Bowling, Founder

– – –

You can also see my explanation for why I got involved.  Please bookmark this blog and come back frequently, as I’ll be posting updates as well as some basic information about who’s behind this project and why we believe (and pray) that it will succeed and have an impact for the good.

Let's Make Compassion Viral

Disease, abuse, and extreme poverty amongst children are never easy problems to tackle.  There are at least two psychological barriers.

The first barrier is confronting the reality of what’s going on.  We don’t like to be reminded that 5000 children die every day because they have no access to clean water.  We wish we did not live in a world where, in the state of Georgia (my home state) alone, 7200 men purchase sex with a child every month — or where, in South Africa, 70,000 babies are born with AIDS every year.  Yet we do live in such a world, and sometimes we need to be reminded of the facts.  Getting involved means getting an education — an education we’d often rather not have.

The second barrier is our own despair at how intractable and insurmountable these problems can seem.  Can our own efforts make even the slightest dent?  When the problems before us are so massive, it’s terrible to contemplate them and tempting to throw up our hands and believe we can’t make a difference.

This is why IAM2.ORG is so very important.  It confronts the first barrier by telling us not only of the challenges and horrors faced by many children around the world, but by telling us also of the most innovative and effective organizations delivering them from their disease, their oppression and their destitution.  The team at Iam2.org will find, vet, and present to you the best nonprofits serving children here in the United States and elsewhere around the world. You’ll have the opportunity not only to support those nonprofits in tangible ways, but to be a part of their story.  We believe that creating deep and lasting relationships between these nonprofits and their supporters will benefit both parties and, most of all, benefit the children they serve. Continue reading “Let's Make Compassion Viral”

Her name was Cecilia…

Her name was Cecilia. Her black hair was striped with gray, and her eyes filled with tears as she saw me approach.

It was the kind of summer day you only find in Atlanta. The stifling heat rises off the asphalt and concrete, and the air is nearly too thick to breathe. Outside was the last place I wanted to be, but I knew I could help a few people get through the day if I passed out water. Plus, I honestly had nothing better to do.

That’s when I encountered Cecelia.

We began to talk. She had no other way to get water, but it wasn’t the water t hat had moved her. It was the fact that someone had taken the time to help. All it had taken was a water bottle and a moment out of my day to make her feel loved. She felt important. She felt noticed.

How much is a water bottle worth to you? It meant nothing to me — and everything to her. Our exchange left a smile on my face and a spark of excitement in my gut as I began the drive back to the air-conditioned comfort of my apartment in the suburbs.

But something happened on the way home. With every block, I passed more people who fought the elements alone. More people who sought what Cecelia had found: a sense that they were not forgotten. Their expressions of despair weighed on me. What could one person do?

It’s easy to feel hopeless. Even right here in America, 100,000 children between the ages of 10 and 15 are forced into prostitution every year. Seventeen million children in go to bed every night malnourished, and 1.5 million American children are homeless. The problems are so vast; we don’t know where to start. And so we never start.

That’s why I’ve invited you here. Together, we can change these statistics. Together, we can take our success and transform it into significance.

I can’t do it alone. And neither can you. Let’s come alongside one another to fund and create Iam2.org, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that will empower hundreds of other non-profits to transform our world, by giving individuals a simple way to make a profound impact.

Are you ready to attempt something great? I am too . Are you ready to come together and make an impact? I am too. Are you ready to save lives, give hope, and forge a great legacy? I am too. Without you, I am alone and limited. With you, I am 2, and together we can do something great.

I am honored to partner with you and thankful for your support.

-Dan Bowling, Founder