Thursday, June 30, 2016

A Chance to Give Back

One of my greatest joys over the last three years has been partnering with friends and family with causes that are dear to their heart.  I love that my job with Rodan + Fields affords me the opportunity to give back.  My focus leans towards families that are adopting and helping children in developing nations have access to necessities as well as educational opportunities.

During the month of July I am thrilled to partner with my friend Beth.  We go WAY back (as in high school way back) but I won't tell you how far that is ;)  Beth has been spending time in Moshi, Tanzania over the last year volunteering and teaching at the Step-Up Centre pre-primary school.  Beth has returned multiple times on her own to assist the school and spend time with the students there that have captured her heart.

Here are a few words from Beth about why helping out the Step-Up Centre is so important.

Let me give you some insight on why I believe so strongly in assisting this school. For whatever reasons, the Tanzanian government does not start fully teaching students in English until the 9th grade. However, a student cannot get into the 9th grade unless they already know the English language well enough to pass an English exam. It is unclear why the government educational system has been designed in such a way. One possibility is a lack of English-speaking teachers to fill the schools below the 9th grade as many locals here who have learned English will try to seek higher paying jobs than what they can make as a teacher which is roughly $125/month. 

To help children realize their dreams of further education, NGO's (Non-Government Organizations) like Step-up Centre exist to give children the chance to learn English at an early age and thus a better chance at furthering their education beyond the 8th grade. In Tanzania a good education is essential for moving anyone beyond the limitations of poverty. A good English education is the equivalent of the "American Dream" for these children. These children view pencils as if they are gold, and come to school to learn even when stricken with illnesses like Malaria. It is also pertinent to know that there is no "welfare system" here. There is no incentive to stay below the line to qualify for entitlements because there aren't any, not even the government schools are free, students must pay to attend those as well. Learning English at Step-Up Centre may be these children's only chance to get a solid English education before they move on to primary school as NGO primary school fees can be much higher than the $12/month it costs to attend a half day at Step-Up.

My goal and the goal of my fellow teacher volunteers Dana Amburgey and Byron Daugherty, is to take the money we raise here and help the school create modern sustainable teaching methods once they have access to the proper materials. Things such as books in English for children ages 3-6, pre-printed work sheets, a laptop computer, a printer etc are desperately needed. I will spend my Christmas break, December 22nd-Jan 9th, working with the school's founder, Naseem Makange. We will create re-usable lesson plans for the students as currently the teachers must hand draw every lesson in each child's workbook. With up to 45 students in the school and classes only going from 8:00-12:00, this takes up a lot of the teacher's time, time I believe would be better spent teaching. 

All funds this month will go towards the newest project details below.

We need to raise money to buy the building next door so that we can build a playground on the property as we are a school in converted house, so literally a schoolhouse, but in the middle of village and we have no land except a car park where we built our slide. If we don't have a proper playground, the government will shut us down. $12,000 or so will buy the building and then we will need to use the other funds to build the playground. This school has been open for 22 years serving the underserved as most kids are on scholarship. It's an excellent school, I can't see it get shut down. So the only way to stay open is to buy the building and use the land the build the playground. Eventually we can renovate the building for more class space which would employ more local teachers and allow us to reach more kids!

Beth pays for her tickets and lodging personally.  And one of the awesome things she did over the past year was go on a spending fast so she could afford this.  Boy do I love her heart!! is how you can help!

1. I will place a bulk order of products.  I will work with each individual and ship these products to Beth for distribution.
2. Purchase from me directly.  My website is and my email  You can contact me there and I will help you get the best deal possible.

50% of my profits in July will benefit the Step-Up Centre and I will also MATCH whatever we raise in July from my personal savings.

Thank you for your support of this awesome organization!  So excited to see what we do in July!!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Egg Hunt 2016

I think every single blog post I've written in the last 3 days says "I wish I wasn't so behind" but it is the truth.  I live most of my life behind and my blog is no exception.  I sat down at the computer today to send some pictures to my parents and told myself I was going to at least post some pictures from the sweet time we had with our family over Easter weekend.

We've tried to take advantage of living close to both of our families over the last year and since we were planning to travel the weekend after Easter we decided to make one long trip.  I am so glad we did!

My Mom hosted an egg hunt for the kids and I managed to capture most of them.  I was so thankful for the beautiful weather.  And for once....five faces all looking at the camera!

Kelsey Jane--11 months

The Reedster--a month shy of 4

All five looking and semi-smiling!

Just precious!

It's rare that I even get three looking in the same direction!

Nola--6 and 1/2

Stafford-- 5 and 1/2 (as he likes to tell everyone)

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

PCS 2014

We are off!  One last picture on Adams Street

We made it to Cannon Beach for our first night

I was so thankful to find our hotel had a tub with nice hot water.  One of the things I did miss while living in WA!

Breakfast on the terrace

Headed out to see Haystack Rock

Gorgeous views along the Oregon Coast

Had to make a stop at the Tillamook Factory

Stafford pointed out the conveyor belt (thanks to hours of watching Mighty Machines!)


Lighthouse on the Oregon Coast

When you have to go you have to go....especially if you are 4

Paul Bunyan & Babe the Ox...finally in California!

Root system of a Redwood

Fulfilling Peter's lifelong dream

Stafford talked for MONTHS about going over the Golden Gate and he slept through most of the crossing!

Had my first In - Out after 3 hours in the urgent care.  Thankful for sweet friends who took care of us while we were in San Francisco 

Exploring Yosemite

Marking Nevada off the list

We played at playgrounds across the country

Enjoyed endless expanses of sky

Entertained ourselves in the car....

And in hotel rooms...

and explored each stop.

When we finally reached Illinois I missed the Illinois sign so I totally made Peter turn around so I could get a picture of it!  He is so good to me and complied!

Our first Illinois sunset

And now Eulers move east is complete!


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