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WOW Celebrates Sixth Year of Service to Orphans
by Ronne Rock
Posted on Tuesday, December 30, 2014
2014’s theme for Women for Orphans Worldwide (WOW) has been “Count on Me,” and the auxiliary organization’s charter chapter for Orphan Outreach celebrated the impact of those words at their sixth annual luncheon held recently in Dallas, Texas. Nearly 300 women attended to learn more about the Guatemalan ministries supported by WOW and to honor outstanding work done by students on behalf of orphans and vulnerable children in the Central American country.

_DSC7025“2014 was WOW’s most productive year, and we’ve accomplished so many goals,” shares Margo Isbell, Dallas chapter President. “We educated 120 children at the Ravine School, tripling last year’s enrollment! WOW provides the rent for the school building salaries for the teachers, psychologists, aids, and a cook, and school supplies.  Sending more students from the dump to school was at the top of our list last year, and we did it!”

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2014 also saw the women of WOW care for the children at the Ravine School in a new way - with a hot and healthy breakfast four days a week. And in Xela, WOW was able to add two additional teachers at Little House of Refuge, The organization was also introduced to Hope and Future, an orphanage in Antigua, Guatemala, and immediately began providing support. And WOW got to the heart of care for the children living at both Little House of Refuge and My Special Treasure (in Chimaltenango) by funding a psychologist. “Many of the children have suffered abuse, and we want to see them thrive and have healthy relationships with others,” Margo continues.  “At My Special Treasure, the counseling is needed to These girls have been sexually abused and desperately need counseling to heal as they transition to work outside the home - the primary goal for each of the young women who live there.”

WOW not only provides financial support, but the group also travels to Guatemala often to serve the ministry partners there. Eight teams traveled in 2014 to deliver humanitarian aid, teach, plant gardens, paint, build, and spend quality time with the children. And their care went beyond the orphanages and schools. When it was discovered a Ravine School student’s family was in a desperate situation, it was WOW that stepped in with a new clean-cook stove, food, medical supplies, and more.

2014-08-02 15.30.22For Calla Boekcman, a student at the Episcopal School of Dallas, the time spent in the home was life-changing. “Poor Guatemalan families cook everything over a fire inside their homes, without ventilation. Children can easily get burned and everyone inhales smoke that causes cancer. These new stoves provide the families with a safer way to cook their meals. As we were installing a stove for one of the Ravine families, we found out that their nephews had lost their mother. She had died of cancer that morning. Their father had died a few years before and now they were orphans.  Despite their grief, we were invited to return to their tiny home the next morning to pay our respects to the family. We felt honored to be there, and as difficult as it was, hugging those little boys is something I will never forget.”

awardsSix Dallas-area students received Love to Serve, Serve to Love Awards for their outstanding contributions to service.

• Sam Bush, a senior from Highland Park High School, raised more than $2,000 for renovating the Little House of Refuge orphanage pigpen and buying piglets and chickens.

• Millicent Callan, a junior at Parish Episcopal School, completed her Junior service project by providing all the WOW ministry sites with first-aid kits and medicines.

• Andrew Isbell and Katie Smithson, freshmen at Jesuit College Preparatory School and Usruline Academy, led the St. Monica Catholic Church and School to collect new socks and undies for all the WOW project locations.

• Sadler Shanafelt, a junior at Parish Episcopal School, completed his Junior project by raising funds for tools to complete several construction projects at the Little House of Refuge orphanage.

•Misha Wines, a junior at Dallas Lutheran School, completed his Eagle Scout project by designing, creating and installing signs at the Ravine School, and raising money to buy and install smoke detectors and fire extinguishers.

_DSC7106At the luncheon, guests pledged financial support well in excess of WOW’s 2015 goal - an opportunity for the chapter to provide even more care and service in Guatemala. Student Emily Cassing’s shared her perspective of what can be expected through the organization. “Even though there is still great sadness and sorrow in Guatemala, the kids who’ve been touched by WOW know that greater things are yet to come, and greater things are yet to be done in their city. They believe this in their hearts because they trust us and they trust Jesus.  Because of that, there is hope…God is at work there because my eyes saw it; and the children’s eyes reflected it, too.”

Learn more about Women for Orphans Worldwide, and start a chapter in your community. 

 


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