Imagine being a child who is looking for their next meal, trying to get a better education or wanting a place to call home. Three local organizations look to provide for these needs, each in their own different way.
Imani Christian Schools, Rose Again Foundation and The Breakfast Club will come together to raise awareness and support for children in need in different parts of the globe, with their evening fundraising gala, Sunset in the Vines Saturday, Sept. 7.
Bryan Rauch, co-founder of Imani Christian Schools, said he first saw the need while he was working on a United Nations project.
“On this one project he was over in Africa, and he was helping to put together some African business with some entrepreneurs who wanted to do business over there, and that is how he met a man named Simon,” John Roush, a volunteer with Imani Christian Schools, said. “Simon and him became fast friends. It wasn’t long before Brian became aware of the AIDS epidemic that happened in Kenya, and how it was still going on, and many of the kids became orphaned because their parents at best were survived by grandparents because of AIDS.”
Grandmothers were trying to support and adopt children that weren’t their own during this time, Roush said. They put together the grandmother program, which looked at finding what it would cost to provide these children with books, clothes and food.
Rauch and Simon worked together to build a boarding school to house children in Embu, Kenya.
“They found some land and acquired it, then raised some money through churches and some private sources,” Roush said. “They built a boarding school that is self-sustaining, meaning they’ve got classrooms, and they have dormitories for both boys and girls.”
They started off with 70 children and now have around 225 to 250 children, Roush said. The school currently teaches through fourth grade, but they are opening up fifth and sixth grade next year. Some future plans also involve building a high school campus.
More information on the program can be found at www.imanichristianschools.org.
Natalie Rose (Shadle) Dixon was 17 when she went on a missions trip in 2012 to Guatemala, helping serve at an orphanage. Upon returning, she gathered and assembled a board of directors and started the Rose Again Foundation, which looked to address the needs of foster children in the community without duplicating efforts with other foster agencies in the area.
An organization deeply rooted in the positive impact of children’s lives, Rose Again Foundation CEO Rhonda Reinke was approached by her granddaughter (Shadle) Dixon on the idea of a nonprofit organization that could impact the community.
“For over six years, I have witnessed firsthand how the programs and services provided by Rose Again Foundation to over 500 local foster children and emancipated foster youth has changed their lives for the better,” Reinke said, adding “as innocent victims of abuse, trauma and severe neglect the children need and deserve our help. The children live in our neighborhoods, go to school with our kids, will grow up to be neighbors with families of their own one day. We have the ability to make the difference between their failure or success.”
Rose Again Foundation provides nine key programs. These programs range from providing basic necessities, such as clothing and shoes, to in-home tutoring and extracurricular activities such as sports, music, art and many more. They also provide programs to assist those leaving foster care, and financial or scholarship support. More of their information and services they provide can be found at www.roseagainfoundation.org.
“A friend had told me about kids in his town that were fainting and crying and failing in school because they hadn’t eaten in days,” Bassir said. “I asked if I could help. We started super small, and we started feeding 25 kids and then ended up getting our license in Ethiopia. Now we have 100 kids, one program in Ethiopia and one in Costa Rica. It’s grown a lot more, and I’m hoping it will keep growing.”
The Breakfast Club initially started off with just serving breakfast, but now ranges from covering medical expenses, health building projects and building jobs for mothers, Bassir said.
Bassir wants to plant programs wherever there is a need.
Rose Again Foundation has partnered with both Imani Christian School and The Breakfast Club to help raise funds to support children in need. More information or to purchase tickets for Sunset in the Vines, visit www.sunsetinthevines.com.
Lexington Howe can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.