Thursday, June 25, 2015

Join our team, Amilia's Angels! No mud required!

Energy!  Excitement!  Nerves!  All of those things were buzzing through me on Saturday before our Spartan Mud run!  8 miles of mud and obstacles!  I felt confident we could finish, but was hoping we could do it without serious injury.  My team members were amazing!  Sarah is the most positive person I have ever met!   She actually giggled at the excitement of playing in the mud!  Sharon was much more nervous –this was her first mud run.  Not to mention she is petite – and height is an advantage for most of the obstacles!  But she was brave, like the girls of Destiny Women, who face huge challenges in their lives.  Girl power for girl empowerment!  Right?  She didn’t look so sure!
Team 'Amilia's Angels'
The run, we had that part down.  A nice jog in the woods and around fields (the Iowa girl in me loved seeing the corn fields and cows!)  The obstacles were the real challenge!  But that’s where we had each other!  Ten foot wall?  Team up, and give a friend a boost or ask for help from a strong guy behind you!  Rope climb? Sand bag carry? Monkey bars?
A football field length of barbed wire crawl? That one was tough!  One wrong move and I sliced my ankle!

Not quite a bloody sock, but close!
There were definite moments where I was grimacing or struggling.  Or wondering what bacteria was crawling into my cut from the mud encasing it! But as a team we powered through, got wet and muddy, and finished strong with a leap over fire!

The young ladies of Destiny Women are fighters.  They are brave and courageous!  They are working hard to get an education, learn new skills or a new trade.  They are saying yes to a new life away from human trafficking and a new identity with dignity.  Despite the obstacles that life has put in front of them.

The girls also have a great team!  They have Miriam and Fulukas, social workers, the board of Destiny Women, and they have you! The supporters of Amilia’s Light!

The Empowerment Program will help the girls build job skills, help them develop a business plan, provide low interest loans to start their own businesses, and provide on-going mentoring. The loan program is designed not only to have repaid funds available for future graduates, but also to teach the girls how to save - thereby creating an opportunity for them to invest in future graduates themselves. One of the goals at Amilia's Light is to support in ways that are self-sustaining, and we believe this program has great potential.

If you have already donated we want to THANK YOU again!  If your company has a matching gifts program please take the time to fill out the required forms.  It is an easy way to double your impact! If you haven't donated yet, please consider doing so today and help us change the lives of these strong young women in Uganda.

Thank you for being part of our team!  Share this with your friends!  Invite them to ‘Like’ us on Facebook so they can be part of the exciting adventure!  Share our emails and newsletters with them.  Help us make Amilia’s Light shine around the world! 

Now….I am going to take another nice hot bath…….

Jodi Holman
Communications Director
Amilia's Light

Happy to be finished!
I checked....up to date on my tetanus shot!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

♪ I went to a Garden Party ♪

Last Saturday, we held a Garden Party to raise money for the Empowerment Project we are establishing with Destiny Women in Uganda.

We have an aggressive goal this year, $25,000!  I am so grateful to say that with donations raised from Jodi Holman’s Ragnar Relay and the Garden Party, we are close to half way there! 

I truly can't find the words to express my appreciation to all who volunteered and donated to help us put together a magical evening in Amilia’s Garden!!

The Raffle was so much fun - Thanks to Rachel, Helen and Tammy!  
Our Board Members, Charlie Peck, Jackie Collins, and Jodi Holman, family, friends, volunteers and local businesses all connected and came together to provide beautiful decorations, delicious food and fun and fantastic raffle donations!

Jackie and Jodi went all out to make the night a special event!   Special thanks to Collins and Holman and Peck Families as well!  Tom even safely engineered a square tv on a round pole! And Charlie became a jack of all trades the week before, making sure the space was fixed, cleaned and safe for all! 

Tom and Jodi Holman, Jen and Brad Lawson 

Happy Raffle Winners Robin and Neal!
There were quite a few raffles that almost turned into an auction – as quite a few people really wanted to win the cruise, with Charlie Peck on Buzzard’s Bay!  And to top the event off, Ingrid Nevins, of Medfield won the Grand Prize drawing on June 1,  a 5-night stay in Orlando at a beautiful VBRO condo,  courtesy of the Holman Family!  

The Tent and Garden were Pretty as a Picture!

We all had a great time and we were blessed with perfect Garden Party Weather! 

Shout out to Barbara Seeglitz and Anna Luhrmann,  for help with gardening, organizing and decorating.

And after I spoke, we all lit tea lights and 
placed them around Amila’s Memory Garden.

 I will carry the memory of this night with me for a long time.

I’ve included in my blog this week, a copy of my talk, "How Ubuntu Illuminates our World"  and added photos from the party...

“I’d like to welcome and thank you for joining us tonight at our Garden Party. We appreciate your taking time to come and learn about the Empowerment Program we are establishing with Destiny Women in Uganda."  

"We have a small, but mighty group of dedicated people, on our Amilia’s Light board that I’d like to introduce to you."

Jackie Collins, Director of Operations
Jodi Holman, Director of Communications

Charlie Peck, Treasurer, Director of  Finance

"I want to thank them and all our volunteers for their hard work and dedication in putting this event together   I’m so thankful, to have them along on this journey with me and their efforts have helped to catapult us toward the next phase of our shared dream."

"I want to take a minute and acknowledge our contributors. The love, support and generosity has meant so much, and has already made a difference! We’ve been able to provide solar lighting, Wi-Fi and computer equipment, school fees and medical services to Destiny Women."

"Because of you, I’m privileged to stand here tonight, and ask you to help Amilia’s Light raise $25,000 to establish an Empowerment Project for Destiny Women’s graduates."

"I’ve come to love the African term Ubuntu, which means, 'I am, Because of Who You Are'" 

"Desmond Tutu, who led the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa, wrote",

‘Ubuntu…speaks of the very essence of being human…. When we want to give high praise to someone, we say, ‘Hey so-and-so has Ubuntu. You are generous, you are hospitable, you are friendly...caring and compassionate. You share what you have. 

It is to say, ‘My humanity is inextricably bound up in yours.’

"I just love that! "

("If your interested, you can read more in his book, 'No Future without Forgiveness'.")

"Ubuntu means that we can connect and transform each other by freely giving of ourselves. Ubuntu aptly describes how the successes we have at Amilia’s Light are directly dependent on your connection to us. Your support and contributions help transform the lives of young girls who have been involved in trafficking, 6800 miles from here in East Africa."

"A La Oprah,  “You’re connected, you’re connected, your connected, and we’re all connected… and NOW we’re all connected with Destiny Girls in Uganda!"

"Let me give you a brief history of how Amilia’s Light came to be." 

Miriam and Fulukas Boroa
"Our family was introduced to the Co-founders of Destiny Women, Miriam and Fulukas Boroa in 2009, by our pastor, Phil Bauman. Destiny Women has successfully rescued and rehabilitated over 50 girls.   Our family sponsored five of these girls in 2010."

 "I was inspired by their work and we started this non-profit in Amilia’s honor.  Just last fall, we received our tax-exempt status."

Destiny Girls 

"Some, of the girls, especially those that have sponsors, have been able to attend school and find valuable work. But many still struggle - Which is why we are supporting this Empowerment Project."

"This past March, I went to Uganda to work on the Empowerment Project and spent over a week with Destiny Women, their board and the girls."

I will be the keeper of the flame 
and together with all of you,
 lives will be changed
 as we illuminate our world!"

"I’m struggling to describe what happened during this trip; I was both deeply moved and our time together was rewarding."

"I’ve been told, that I am the keeper of the flame, the heart of Amilia’s Light.  I don’t think I understood what that meant, or how it translates into running a non-profit. I can tell you though, that, without a shadow of a doubt, this trip solidified God’s purpose for me."

"During the trip I had a chance to reconnect with the girls we sponsored and got to know few of the other girls who have graduated Destiny Women’s Rehabilitation Program." 

Our Proud Gradute - Esther
"I met Esther Kasiri.

(You might remember her from my blog...)"

"Esther’s father died when she was young, Her mother has HIV and struggles to support the family.  Esther, with help from a sponsor, was able to obtain her degree in social work."

"Yet Esther is giving back and making a difference.  She volunteers in the community and has become a key leader in Destiny Women’s Rehabilitation Program."

"With the money we raise tonight, DW can hire Esther to counsel, care for and mentor the girls who will benefit from the Empowerment Project."

"Teddy’s Path is Not As Clear."

Michelle and Teddy
"Teddy is fun loving, creative and has exceled at making Ugandan beaded jewelry.  And she gives the best Hugs! . "

"But Teddy is at a crossroads…Amilia’s light sponsored her school fees, and paid for surgery on her foot.  However, she missed a lot of school because of the surgery and hasn’t passed her senior 4 and that means she can’t continue in school."

"She is back living at home, in an unhealthy environment and her future is bleak…"

"The night before I left, I sat with her and tried to convince her to stay with Miriam and Fulukas, but she doesn’t want to leave her family and her sole support."  

"The Empowerment Program would give Teddy a leg up, and the ability to start a jewelry making business, work with a mentor, take a business workshop and live in a safe environment."

Now, let me tell you about our most recent success story – Anita!"

"You see, just two months ago, I sat on a mud floor, with Anita and looked at the holes in her roof, and worried about what she was going to do when rainy season started…"

"Thanks to the donations we raised in May, we've been able to get Anita, started in a business training course - THIS WEEK!"

"My prayers have been answered."

Anita's first day of Business School

"The money we raised this month is going to empower Anita."

"Together we have made a difference in the life of one girl in two short months! 

"And that’s how we change the world

one girl at a time – one donation at a time!"

 Let’s Illuminate Our World!

"Please help us meet our goal tonight, to raise $25,000 for the Empowerment Project.  Your tax-deductible donation can be put in the donation box ‘conveniently’ located at the bar. "

"Would you join me now and light a candle in Amilia’s garden?"

Michelle Luhrmann
Founder, Amilia’s Light

(Find out more about Destiny Women and the Empowerment Project in earlier blog, and our website)

If you have already donated to our cause, we thank you so much!   You have already begun to make a difference!  

If you were unable to attend our event and would like to be part of the solution to help end sex trafficking - one girl at a time, please consider a contribution toward the Empowerment Project.

You can mail a check to Amilia's Light
P.O. Box 83
Medfield, MA 02052 or use our Paypal Link TO DONATE