Tag Archives: Victory School Uganda

Member Spotlight: Anne Jarvis

iGnite_AnneJarvisRoots:
I was born and grew up in Houston, Texas. I came to the University of Texas in 1975 and have been lucky enough to have lived in Austin ever since. There is no other city I would rather live in!

Family life:
My husband is Tim, and we met at UT my junior year. We dated four years, married in 1981 and are celebrating our 35th wedding anniversary this year. We have two daughters, and the eldest is Mary Catherine who is 29 and moving back home from New York City after living there for seven years. Lizzy is 25, lives in Austin and currently works in business development for Corridor Title. We are really looking forward to all being united in the same city.

Work Life:
My work background was in women’s retailing, which includes sales, being a buyer and store manager. My current involvement in the community is as a volunteer. I serve on the Vestry at Good Shepherd Church and am also co-chair of an event this November called Maj for a Mission that supports Victory School in Uganda.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned through my iGnite experience…
The biggest lesson I have learned through iGnite is to keep moving and how important exercise and community is to promote health and wellness in your life. I thrive better in a supportive group atmosphere.

The best advice I’ve been given…
My mother used to tell me one should never wish for someone else’s life because you never know what trials they have faced, are facing or will face. We need to have gratitude for the life we have been given and never assume we know what others are dealing with.

Something people may not know about me…
I lived in Rio de Janeiro as a little girl for three years when my father was sent to Brazil to manage a manufacturing business. Our apartment was one block off Ipanama Beach.

My celebrity look alike…
This is such a funny question to me that I had to respond to provide a few laughs. People have told me I look like the deceased actress Ava Gardner, Lynda Carter, the original Wonder Woman, and Lucie Arnez, Lucille Ball’s daughter. Who knew? A few years ago, an acquaintance told me I reminded her of someone by the way I talked and said it was Robin Roberts. Really???


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Real Women, Real Stories | Jeanne Little: Breaking the Cycle of Poverty through Education

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Roots: I have lived all over Texas, but I’m so thankful to have spent the last 32 years in Austin.

Family Life: Blessed to be married to an amazing man for almost 35 years. Lew and I have 3 children; Wesley, Anne and Elizabeth. Two weddings this year and now we have two more wonderful children; Dora Lee and Nick.

Work Life: I retired from real estate several years ago after 18 years with Moreland Properties.

The best advice I’ve ever gotten…“This to shall pass” from my mother. I always thought this meant that difficult times would not last. As I have gotten older I realize the need to live in the moment and appreciate all the good days. They pass too.

I’m most inspired by…I was fortunate to have an incredible mentor in business; Emily Moreland. Emily is a great example of a working mother. She has a deep faith, kind heart, commitment to helping others and always puts her family first.

When I’m not working, you can find me…on the hike and bike trail walking around the lake.

My perfect day…is having all my children home. Anne and Elizabeth live in California and New York and I miss them.

My Story: Breaking the Cycle of Poverty Through Education

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Showing the children the first-ever reading books at Victory School

I love to travel! In 2011 I convinced my husband Lew to go to Uganda to hike with the mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impentrable Forest. I had always wanted to go after seeing the movie “Gorillas in the Mist.” Bwindi is a remote village high in the mountains with no electricity or running water — this trip certainly qualified as the adventure I was looking for! We loved our hikes with the gorillas in the beautiful rain forest. It was awe inspiring to see these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat.

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The first time we met Kamukama

On our second day in Bwindi, Lew and I left the lodge to go visit the community clinic we had heard about. Without a map or cell phone we headed out. While we were overwhelmed by the poverty we saw, we were also moved by the smiling and curious faces staring at us as we walked through the village. Along the way, a little boy in rags appeared and walked down the dirt road with us. I guessed that he was about 6 years old. He had the most beautiful smile and peace about him. At that moment he touched my heart in such a special way that I still do not fully understand it today. With his direction, we finally made it to the clinic and he disappeared. As we were hiking the following day, we saw the little boy again. He ran up and hugged us and, of course, I started crying. We found out his name was Kamukama which means “ Protected by God”. He had been in the village the day before looking for his father to pay his school fees. He could not attend school without paying and his father had deserted the family for Kampala. Before we left Uganda we made arrangements for a guardian to make sure he was enrolled in school and we wired the money to pay his school fees.

 

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Kamukama and me in 2015

A year later we returned to Bwindi with our children and Carol & Milo Burdette. We had great hikes with the gorillas and everyone was able to meet Kamukama. He was healthy and thriving in school. We saw so many other children living in extreme poverty without the chance of an education. I had been praying for a year for God to show me a way to help other children like Kamukama. I had no idea where to even begin. On this trip we met children from Victory School. We learned that Sylvia and Victor Bahati were struggling to educate 33 children at the school. They only had several untrained teachers, mud huts for classrooms, no textbooks and few resources, but they had a deep faith in God and a desire to improve the lives of children in their community.

 

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Students with letters from their sponsors

After returning to Austin we decided to establish the Kamukama Foundation. We partnered with Victory School with the goal to expand and educate more children. I have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support . With a new Victory School website, generous supporters from across the country have been able to sponsor children and make donations. We have built relationships with the families of students and work together with the common goal to provide a quality education for these precious children. We have so many gifts and talents to share with each other.

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Immaculate with a letter from her sponsors, Corrinne & Betsy

The school now has trained teachers and staff, textbooks, library, new classrooms and 300 students. It has been so fun these past four years to share this special place with friends who go with us to work at the school. The gift of an education is giving these children a real chance to break the cycle of poverty and have hope for the future…God has put us on this path and I am excited to see where he will lead us.

More about Victory School in Uganda:  

Uganda´s AIDS epidemic, extreme poverty and decades of civil conflict have left the country with over 2.4 million orphans – the most of any country in the world. Due to lack of government subsidized education, families face enormous challenges to educate their children.

  • over half of the people in Uganda struggle to survive on less than $1.25 a day
  • 3 out of 4 children who start primary school in Uganda do not complete 5th grade
  • 1 in 3 Ugandan children under the age of 5 suffer from malnutrition
  • 2 in 5 children and adults in rural Uganda lack access to clean water
  • almost 100,000 children die annually from malaria in Uganda
  • an estimated 1.2 million children and adults in Uganda are living with HIV / AIDS, 64,000 of whom die annually
  • the average life expectancy is 54 years

Victory School is a place of hope. The school provides an education to these children growing up in extreme poverty who otherwise would not have the opportunity to attend school. In addition to academics, Victory School equips the children with the tools to manage family planning, nutrition, health, sex education and farming skills.

To find out more about Victory School and how to Sponsor a Child, visit http://victoryschooluganda.org

How wonderful is it that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world?  -Anne Frank


iGnite’s Real Women, Real Stories is a series highlighting the inspiring lives and experiences of women in our community. We hope their stories motivate and inspire you to live your life to the fullest.

Know someone who would be a great candidate for a Real Women, Real Stories feature? Email nominations to hello@igniteyourlifenow.com


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8 Christmas Gifting Opportunities that Give Back

 

Looking for a more meaningful way to give this year?

Check out our team’s favorite socially-conscious companies to buy from and charities to give to this holiday season:

Raven + Lily

Raven + Lily“The whole mission of this beautiful jewelry, clothing and home goods line is to ’empower women through design.’  I have many of their pieces of jewelry and clothing, and I LOVE to give them as gifts because they’re not only beautiful but support such an incredible cause and an unbelievable organization — that way, everyone that gets one of their items then looks into what they’re doing and sees the big picture 🙂 Check it out at http://www.ravenandlily.com
-Catherine Sanderson

Teen and Family Services

Teen & Family Services“The charity of my choice this Christmas season is Teen and Family Services, a Texas-based nonprofit that fills such an important gap for families searching for answers.  It’s a peer-based recovery support program for adolescents and their families who are suffering from the harmful effects of teen substance abuse.  You can donate or learn more about their holistic approach at teenandfamilyservices.org.”
Betty Cunningham

Marbridge Ranch

Marbridge“My favorite charity is Marbridge Ranch, because it’s just a happy place, filled with kind people —  staff, residents and volunteers. It offers a safe and comfortable home for many cognitively-challenged adults, and the programs at Marbridge enrich lives daily, by providing activities, skills training for jobs, and community. It is the place where you go to give, and you leave filled up…they turn it around, and you become the recipient of warm welcomes, friendly hellos and hugs, and just the most contagious, amazing smiles that will absolutely light you up. I love the place, and I love to support it! To support Marbridge Ranch during the holidays you can donate or become a short or long term volunteer.  You can find these opportunities at www.marbridge.org
Cary Fyfe

Lush

Lush-Logo“I also like Lush for great handmade skin care and body products and they have wonderful project called “Charity Pot,” 100% of the proceeds from sales of this cream is donated to small, grassroots organizations working in the areas of environmental conservation, animal welfare and human rights. Learn more about this great product at www.lushusa.com.”
Alli Phillips

Buy Fair Trade

“Buying “Fair Trade” products and gifts (chocolate, coffee, wine, etc.) means that the workers and artisans around the world that grew/created/manufactured the food, goods, or gift items you purchase were paid a fair “living wage.” This is why “fair trade” goods are sometimes more expensive, but also why it’s so important to support these companies.  Just look for “Fair Trade” signage as you shop around this holiday season.”
Alli Phillips

Altar’d State

altard-state“I love this store for three reasons:  1).  They have super cute clothes  2) . They have affordable clothes  3).  They are service-oriented, and they donate 1% of all sales to local and international charities. They sponsor high-risk children in Peru, and they support their employees by sponsoring volunteer hours.  To date, they have volunteered over 1600 hours! Check out their clothing and their mission at  www.altardstate.com.
Neissa Springmann

Victory School Uganda

kamukamaLogo“My good friends and Austin natives, Jeanne and Lew Little, founded the Victory School upon traveling to Uganda and witnessing first-hand the poverty and absolute practical and educational needs of the children in a remote village in Western Uganda. They founded the Kumakuma Foundation as a means to partner with the Victory School in Uganda and help provide the children with a quality education and a bright future.  What I love about the Victory School is that for just $25 a month, I am able to sponsor a child, which provides tuition, books, supplies, a uniform, 2 meals a day, access to clean water and life skills.  As a sponsor, I receive pictures and letters from my child and am able to write him as well.  Find out more about this beautiful foundation at www.victoryschooluganda.org.”
Neissa Springmann

Trinity Center Austin

TRINITY CENTER-LOGO“The Trinity Center is an incredible faith-based organization that loves on the homeless and provides them with emotional, spiritual and physical needs.  From socks, underwear to tennis shoes, they provide it for these sweet people living in downtown Austin. To learn more and  donate visit www.trinitycenteraustin.org/.”
Neissa Springmann

 

Want some more great gift-giving ideas?  Check out our
“give back” lists from previous years here and here

Compiled by Delaine Teeple

Compiled by Delaine Teeple


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The Giver’s Glow & The Helper’s High

Last year's diaper drive drop-off at Any Bay Can.  Thanks to your donations at our 2013 Christmas party, this was one of many fully-loaded carts

Last year’s diaper drive drop-off at Any Bay Can. Thanks to your donations at our 2013 Christmas party, this was one of many fully-loaded carts

“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” -Winston Churchill

Point to Ponder: Is there a particular non-profit or charitable organization that means a lot to you?

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

We live in a day and age where non-profits and volunteer opportunities are abundant. Because of technology, it’s as simple as a click of a button to see the needs of people across the globe. Not only do we have access to helping our literal neighbors, but we can easily find ways to help and create real impact throughout the whole world. Pretty cool! Much like gratitude, when we help others by volunteering our time or making a donation, our brain releases our favorite feel-good neurotransmitter, dopamine. It also causes “the giver’s glow and helper’s high.” According to Dr. Stephen Post, professor of preventative medicine and bioethics at Stony Brook University School of Medicine, “brain scans show that even the mere thought of helping others makes people happier.”

“In the United States millions of adults volunteer their time to help others for a specific cause. This ‘giving’ population reports the following results:

  • Improved sense of well-being (89%)
  • Lower stress levels (73%)
  • Better physical health (68%)
  • Enhanced emotional health (77%)
  • Enriched sense of purpose in life (92%)
  • Increased happiness (96%)
(DeBoskey, Bruce. The Denver Post)

Now with Thanksgiving behind us and the Christmas season in full-force, if you’re like me you feel extra motivated to give and help others. While this time of year makes us want to give more, it’s also a time of year that can cause added stress and depression. So in an effort to get “the giver’s glow” and combat any holiday blues, we thought we’d launch the Christmas season in the right direction by focusing the next few weeks on giving and generosity and share some of our favorite philanthropies and non-profits (because if you’re like me, there are so many non-profits and philanthropies out there that it’s slightly overwhelming to determine who to give to).

There are so many great non-profits. Among my favorites are: Victory School Uganda, Austin Life Care, Dell Children’s Hospital, St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, Hospice Austin, Helping Hand Home for Children, Jeremiah Program and Any Baby Can. In addition to all of these amazing non-profits, there’s one specifically I’d like to make you aware of that I know you’ll love: WeViva. WeViva is a non-profit in Austin that provides accessible and affordable fitness and nutrition programs to people in low-income communities. A few weeks ago I met with the founder Carolyn Haney, and she shared what we all know to be true: that health and wellness starts and ends at home, and most often with mom. And, it’s great that children are being taught the benefits of exercise and healthy eating at school, but if it’s not reinforced at home, the healthy success rate significantly decreases.

The super cool thing about WeViva is that they offer Zumba, yoga, strength training, and nutrition classes every week day at 18 locations in the Austin area, providing 32 classes per week! Their classes are always full, with as many as 60 participants per class. They are changing the lives of women and their families — WeViva is saving lives! There are so many things I love about WeViva, but what drives it home for me is something my mother confessed several months ago. I knew we didn’t have money growing up, but when I asked if while raising my sister and I while working full-time if she would’ve spent $30/month for a convenient at-work exercise program, she said, “No. As much as I would’ve loved it and needed it, we didn’t have extra money and every penny I earned was going towards necessities and the things you and your sister needed for your school and extra-curricular activities.” Therefore, one of my main non-profit focuses this holiday season that will also give me the ‘Giver’s Glow’ will be WeViva, which will help provide women (much like my mother many years ago) have a free and convenient opportunity to receive the benefits of health and fitness — a gift with unlimited and infinite benefits!

Action Item:
Check out the video below to get a glimpse into the world of WeViva, and think about ways you might be able to give of your time and/or assets this holiday season to benefit a charitable organization that means something to you. 

   

 

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