I am honored to be the first Rays of Grace blog contributor. First, I would like to welcome you to our new website. This is our attempt at professionalism and we are loving it. A big thanks goes out to Sauté Creative and their hardwork and dedication at getting this site off the ground. Looks great guys! I started my career with Rays of Grace in January 2013 in the midst of my first year of graduate school. Since then Rays of Grace has raised over $25,000 for the Mt. of Olives school outside Kirugu, Uganda and I have recently completed my Master’s degree in International Development from the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver.
If there is one theme I focused on during my studies its the idea of helping while not hurting.
Unfortunately, this is not a simple task. Organizations and countries have attempted and failed such a task. Toms developed a 1 for 1 approach where one purchase of their shoes by a wealthy consumer like you or me, also purchased a pair of shoes for a child in need. A worthy aspiration indeed, trying to shoe those who walk miles in their bare feet, but the development community soon discovered the hurting to Toms’ helping. As Toms landed in villages across the world to deliver shoes to needy villagers many locals who once had shoe stores found themselves out of a job (it is hard to compete against free commodities). Furthermore, Toms shoes are not American made, but cheaply made in China furthering the problem of low paid employees unable to afford shoes. The Development community has gone after churches and other organizers of donation drives under the same issues found in the Toms strategy. As clothing drive collections were delivered across South America and Africa the local clothing store and factories were closing their doors. The detriments of hand outs are well established, yet they still exist. It is important to understand the implications of injecting an unnatural state of being into a society. The saying “nothing in life is free” is born from an ultimate truth.
So what then do we do?
As a society where our values have taught us to help the poor in every way we can; how do we help without hurting? Rays of Grace grapples with this question each and every day and our solution is to promote the leadership of Jackson, our well known and respected founder of Mt. of Olives. This involves providing funding for his ideas and insight into avenues he may not have thought about yet. More importantly Rays of Grace looks to empower the community by giving them a voice in the projects that come to their village, it is their village after all.
We are excited for our approaching second annual Elevate for Education with the goal of $50,000.
With this goal met we hope to finance the beginning stages of construction for our school. So, tell your friends, tell your significant other, tell everybody to help out a great cause. There are several methods you can contribute. Send a one time donation, sign up for a monthly $6 donation, or spread the word about Elevate for Education by using #e4e to get the world excited for some crazy kids with dreams atop mountains. If everyone of our Facebook likes donated $6 a month Rays of Grace would have $7,200 a month! crazy! Be a part of the change you wish to see in the world! I hope this brief insight helps sell you on our cause, but if it doesn’t, don’t worry there are many more blog posts to come from the many voices of Rays of Grace. Stay tuned and get excited for the future, I know we are!
Hope all is well,
Colorado Director of Operations