|August 22, 2011||Posted by admin under compassionate kids, Rena Reese, Soul Salon International, teens, whats right with kids today, youth|
Grace’s first year of life was spent in a Chinese orphanage–but at one year old, she would find a home, a half a world away with the Gimres–and they were thrilled to add her to their family. Grace’s adoption through Journey’s of the Heart, would give her a mom, dad, brother and sister Leah–in addition to many other things that many people perhaps take for granted here in the U.S. One of these things is the opportunity to pursue an education on many levels.
Leah, Grace’s older sister pictured here, realizes how fortunate she is to have access to so many educational choices, especially now as a high school senior with an eye on her future beyond high school. As she began searching for colleges it occurred to her that if Grace had remained at her orphanage, she would not have had access to the many opportunities that Leah has–and now Grace does too.
With this idea percolating, Leah spoke with her parents to brainstorm what she could do to help teenagers living in Chinese orphanages, to go on to college. This is how Leahs-Hope.com, which is a fundraising effort that partners with Journey’s of the Heart Adoption Agency, began.
“When Leah first came to us with the idea of Leah’s Hope, to be honest, we felt overwhelmed with the whole idea. However, we didn’t want to discourage the giving attitude shining through in our daughter. We could not be prouder of Leah and the fierce pride she takes in Leah’s Hope. We are so proud that she is making a significant difference in the future of some orphaned teenagers’ lives.” –Leah’s mom, Amy Gimre
Leah’s Mission Statement from her website: The mission of Leah’s Hope is to connect teenagers, leaving their Chinese orphanage because of their age, with the educational funding necessary to become trained, self-sufficient, hopeful adults.
Fundraising efforts have gone well and one orphan, Di, has been sent through all four year’s of college thanks to the generous donors on Leah’s site. Now, they are beginning the process of finding the next orphan to help send to college. If you are reading this and feel the pull to contribute to this beautiful endeavor, you can make a difference in the life of an orphaned teen by making a contribution to Leah’s Hope.
Leah’s Hope has a mission that is quite personal to the Gimre Family. The gift of Grace, now 10 years old, has touched them all in myriad ways. Leah explains, “There are no words to describe the joy that Grace has brought into my life. She is the best thing that has ever happened to me. Grace is always full of energy and the two of us always seem to be laughing and having a great time together.”
As a high school senior, this is the year of college applications for Leah. It seems her interest and focus on education seems to be converging. Not only is she applying to colleges for her while raising money for a Chinese orphan to go to college, but she is also thinking her college major will be in, you guessed it, Elementary Education.
Leah is a great example of a young woman being inspired at home to open her heart to others. Looking beyond borders to show compassion and hope–and in turn, changing the world with one simple idea put into action. Leah, you are a great example of what is RIGHT with kids today.
All the best!
Rena M. Reese
Founder, Soul Salon International
Sponsor of What’s Right With Kids Today
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Rena M. Reese is the founder of Soul Salon International, an inspirational multimedia company which offers coaching, consulting, web-design, publishing support, and fundraising opportunities for individuals and groups. She is the author of several inspirational titles, a professional speaker and coach as well as the host of a weekly radio program, The Soul Salon. Her articles are syndicated in print and online Please visit www.SoulSalonInternational.com and connect with her on Twitter @TheSoulSalon and on facebook