Serving Hope from a Kitchen Table

We have quite a few new announcements for you. We have launched our new updated website. You can now easily visit the website or find out about me, the author of this blog, under Learn More on the right hand side of this blog. Also, there is a new Donate Today that will take you to directly how to donate. If you enjoy these blog posts please subscribe to this blog. If you are interested in reading and learning more about Hope for West Africa by the website and blog then become a fan on our Facebook page.

One new announcement our website includes is the addition of a new partner in Nigeria. In addition to the Poorest of the Poor Center (The Anawim Home) and the Faith Alive Foundation (Faith Alive Hospital) we are happy to be adding St. Pius X College school for boys ages 11-18. The school is lead by principal Fr. Abel Agbulu. It is located in Bodo City, Rivers State, Nigeria. There are 23 boys residing at the school which is in great need. See the website section About Us for more information. Some of you will be familiar with Fr. Abel from when he served here in Balto. communities. He did wonderful work here which included serving at St. Cecelia's in Balto. City. The community there has a large Nigerian population. I was blessed to attend his farewell mass there as he was leaving to go back to Nigeria to serve at St. Pius X where he is now. It was a very moving mass full of love. See my previous blog post to read about this mass and what Fr. Abel believes about God's call. We look forward to working with him and helping the boys to have a better school and education.

We also have had board and team member changes. Our beloved President and Co-Founder Diane Blattner has stepped down. Since the day in 2004 when she visited Nigeria and then decided to start a foundation she has not stopped faithfully serving the people she met. Diane is in a transition phase of her life. She and her husband Bill are looking forward to spending more time with their children and grandchildren. What is now the Hope for West Africa Foundation has thrived under Diane's leadership. The beginning of the HFWAF meetings were around her kitchen table with another co-founder and other caring friends. There at the kitchen table the journey began of serving hope! One of the main goals that remains very important to us is to maintain a personal relationship with our partners in Nigeria. They are not programs or statistics. They are people that we know and care about. They submit specific proposals for what they need and we attempt to meet those needs. Diane also instilled the importance for donors not just to give money but to feel involved and perhaps even one day volunteer in Nigeria. We are thankful to Diane for all she has done. Wait did you think this was a good- bye? Then you do not know Diane! Diane has work left to do! Diane is remaining on the board as Treasurer.

Sara Kennedy is our new President. She is the daughter of board member Karen Kennedy who has now stepped down. Karen was one of the original board members who visited Nigeria and sat around many kitchen table meetings. She was known for her great cooking skills and would always bring dinner for the crew. Many thanks to Karen for all of her kindness and generosity. We are excited to have her beautiful daughter Sara as President. Sara is an Epidemiologist at the National Institute of Human Virology U. Of Md. She has lived and worked in Nigeria at the Institute of Human Virology in Abuja. She served at both Faith Alive Hospital and the Anawim Home. This background and experience makes her a wonderful President for HFWAF. She feels it is important to continue the work that the foundation started. She believes in helping our partners in Nigeria support local solutions. Our partners are lead by people who are empowering others. Thus the giving never ends. You are serving up hope that can lead to more and more changed lives. And what is better than that? You can read more on Sara from my previous blog story which is a talk Sara presented at John Hopkins University on her visit at Faith Alive Hospital.

We are also happy to have Melinda Capone (Corresponding Secretary) and Carol Weymer (Accountant) join us. Melinda is keeping us very organized and Carol is on top of all our financial information. Roberta McClimens is our techno-miracle worker, who has been tirelessly working on our website. She will continue to update the site. We are blessed to have these new members on our team.

We are looking forward to serving and praying together in the future for our Nigerian friends. The journey continues...we still enjoy meeting and serving hope around a kitchen table!

Top Photo: Orphans...watching and waiting for hope.
Middle Photo: Fr. Abel in front of the roofless dining hall of St. Pius X.
Bottom Photo: Our new kids - the boys of St. Pius.