The Free Willy Club and Lemonade Stand Innocence

September 10, 2018 | 0 Comments
When I was in the fourth grade,  I helped start a Free Willy club.   As best as I can recollect,  during recess a group of friends and I wrote down our plans to raise money to save this whale.   If you’re a kid of the 90s you remember the Free Willy movie, and know what I’m talking about.  Unfortunately, I don’t think the club lasted more than a week.  I wonder if somewhere along the lines may be an adult came along and squashed our little plan by making us realize that we probably weren’t going to free the whale after all and that our innocent idea was a little naive.
I thought about this recently when one of my former students, also fourth grader, made a lemonade stand to raise money fora Grain of Rice Project. She made $22 doing this at her family’s yard sale.  I was impressed that her lemonade stand went a lot further than my Free Willy Club, that it was her own idea, and that no one stole her dream of wanting to help.  Maybe $22 doesn’t seem like a lot. Maybe it feels like just a drop in the bucket to you.  But $22 can provide 43 meals for the kids in our Saturday feeding program and cover half of our food expenses for the month!
That’s 43 kids who wouldn’t have eaten lunch that day;
43 kids with with full bellies;
43 kids feeling loved.
$22 is actually that single grain of rice that is tipping the scale and making an impact.  And these lemonade stand dreamers are actually world changers making a difference.  Because it’s this lemonade stand style innocence that says, maybe I can do something small to help.  Maybe I’m just one person, but with God’s strength, my small, tangible giving and helping can combine with other people’s efforts to make a difference.

 

I want to leave you with this beautiful Franciscan blessing I heard at church Sunday and hope it will inspire you to also have lemonade stand innocence and go out and do something to change the world.

May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may live deep within your heart.  May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression and exploitation of people, so that you may work for justice, freedom and peace.  May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, and war, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and turn their pain to joy.  And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done.

 

Leave a Comment

Share

The Reality

April 30, 2018 | 0 Comments

I love iMessaging—it makes the world smaller and easily allows our team in Kenya to send me pictures when I’m not there.  It keeps us connected.  Usually the pictures I get are the happy type: smiling kids, videos of them reciting poetry, and beautiful photos of their artwork. But the ones I received this week…

Read More

Amazing Things

March 5, 2018 | 0 Comments

I know I’m supposed to write a lot when I’m in Kenya.  I know people like to hear about what’s happening–the good things, the funny stories.  And there a lot of those.  But in all honesty, sometimes once the end of the day has reached, I haven’t a morsel of energy left to spend on…

Read More

Parent Involvement

February 11, 2018 | 0 Comments

One thing I have learned on this Grain of Rice Project journey is that it is all about having faith, and being willing to take risks.  All of our programs, from the kids, to girls, to footballers, are exciting, but sometimes challenging, and always so much bigger than myself or anyone person.  Indeed it is…

Read More

The Start of 2018!

January 21, 2018 | 1 Comment

It’s been great to start off 2018 in Kenya with all of our Grain of Rice team.  I arrived in Kenya on January 2, and quickly jumped into all that is happening.  We began the first day with a New Years party for all of our artisans, children, footballers, and staff who are a daily…

Read More

Cultivating Beauty from the Dirt

November 9, 2017 | 0 Comments

It may be November, but this week, I’ve still been uprooting carrots and vegetables from my garden.  If you live in Northwest Indiana, you know that this is nothing short of a miracle.  Fall has pushed itself in, and as much as I wish I could be one of those people who walk around proclaiming…

Read More

Living in a Truck

October 25, 2017 | 2 Comments

I’ve been living in a box truck for a week. Yes, you read that correctly. My last week and half was dedicated to a big outdoor event selling for Grain of Rice Project, where most people camped in rather nice or at least decent RVs, while my friend and I spent 10 days living the…

Read More

Full Circle

September 20, 2017 | 0 Comments

“I can’t believe I finally made it into the basement,” I happily told The Bridge store manager, Sara. Fourteen years ago, an art teacher, whom I was observing throughout the semester for one of my education classes, had gifted me a checkers set made inKenya with African fabric and Coca-Cola bottlecaps—my first fair trade gift, and…

Read More

Our Concern Is For Peace

August 14, 2017 | 0 Comments

Abandoned streets, boarded buildings, closed shops…this is not the Kibera that I know. The Kenyan election was a week ago, and still our workshop has not re-opened and many of our friends are still in their homes, too afraid to return to work, to afraid to go anywhere. This is not the Kibera that I…

Read More

Town

July 19, 2017 | 0 Comments

Town…such a small word for such a crazy experience. “Town” is how people refer to downtown Nairobi.  “I’m going to town today,” they’ll say.  But to me, town is not really a place but an adventure.  I started having dreams at 5 a.m. this morning about going to town.  I’m blessed and have nothing to…

Read More

Mix Matched Socks

July 12, 2017 | 0 Comments

Last week it was the toxic smell of burning plastic drifting in our windows at 5 a.m. that just about drove us to the edge.  When it starts to become a daily occurrence, which causes a choking fit that cannot be stopped even when smothering a pillow over your face, I can assure you that…

Read More