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Colleen Laughlin talks about her experience at Hill Crest

Sunflower kids love the volunteersMy first day walking into Hill Crest was the most overwhelming thing I have ever experienced. But overwhelming in the best way possible. As soon as I walked into the first classroom half of the kids ran up to me and started fighting over my hand. The love these kids can give to a total stranger they just met is amazing.

When I first started volunteering at Hill Crest there were over 100 kids and I had no clue how I was going to get to know all of them, let alone learn all of their names! But after my four months there, I’m so privileged to have been able to form a connection with all of those kids. Whether they were in the older class and could have a whole conversation with me in English, or in the baby class and knew little to no English, there is NO way to not love these kids. And seeing Elisabeth there everyday, even while she was pregnant, doing everything she can for them was so heartwarming and inspiring.

My first day at Hill Crest one of the older kids, Obedi, was sick. I tagged along with one of the previous volunteers to bring him porridge. After being in his small house where they cook inside, making it hard breathe, and knowing they have to sleep in there too, it opened my eyes. Even living like this, he still has the biggest smile during the school day whenever you give him a hug or a high five when he did his math homework. Moments like this made me SO happy about my decision to leave my comfort zone in the U.S and come meet these kids.

ombdi and momAfter being there for four months though and realizing more and more how amazing all of the kids are, leaving them was the hardest thing I have ever done. I knew I would cry- I even tried to prepare myself, but I didn’t realize just how heartbreaking it was. Not seeing their huge smiles everyday. The only thing that made me ok with leaving them, is knowing that as soon as I can I will be coming back!


The Sunflower Kids in the local newspaper

doc53a2637f20196360086779When Judi Davis turned 60 last year, she sold her Laramie house, traveled to Tanzania to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, and then spent six weeks working at a school for orphaned children.

The trip changed her life, but not the part of the trip where she stood atop the highest peak on the continent. It was the part where she held some of its smallest children.

Davis encountered crushing need at the Hill Crest School in Arusha, Tanzania, but she marshalled a network of friends in Laramie and around the country that got to work last summer raising money to feed the students. She also created a fundraising pipeline involving local mothers and plans to return to Tanzania this winter to reconnect with the school’s founders.

“I think I can’t stop,” she said.

Davis, who ran a home daycare in Laramie called Sunflower Child Care, hadn’t planned on volunteer work before leaving for Africa……

 

Read the rest of the story in the Laramie Boomerang.


New York’s must-attend Charity Event of the summer!

Extry! Extry! Come One, Come All! It’s New York’s must-attend Charity Event of the summer!

This month, your new favorite charitable organization – Sunflower Kids – is teaming up with your old (or new!) favorite shoe designer: John Fluevog.

On Friday, June 27th, Sunflower Kids is set to throw an exclusive bash with our friends at John Fluevog Shoes New York. Between the hours of 5pm and 9pm, half of the proceeds of any purchases made at the Canadian shoe legend’s NoLita branch will directly fund our mission to keep the children at the Hill Crest School in Arusha, Tanzania educated and fed.

That’s right: get a great new pair of ‘Vogs, help ensure a brighter future for a child in need.

What could be a better way to spend a sunny summer evening? Nothing, that’s what.

So, gather your feet and your friends, and come partake in cocktails, conversation, and the most Fluevogian thing of all: spreading LOVE.

See you all on the 27th!

With Love,

Your Friends at Sunflower Kids.

P.S. Can’t make it in between 5 and 9? No problem, just give us a call and buy your Fluevogs – the kids at Hill Crest will still get your donation! 212-431-4484

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