"The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera." - Dorothea Lange

Sunday, December 08, 2013

team 7: leaders jennifer and jeff

It's always with tremendous pleasure and pride that I introduce members of Change the Truth's teams -  groups of adventurous and generous volunteers who travel to Uganda to give their time, energy and love to the children at St. Mary Kevin Orphanage. This year is no exception. In fact, of the ten people who make up Team 7, four are returning for their second time, and two will be making their third trip!

This is a repeat post, but one definitely worth sharing again. Please meet the leaders of Team 7: Jennifer Smith and Jeff Mildner.

Jennifer is in her 19th year of teaching (and was recently in the running for Kansas' "Teacher of the Year"). She currently teaches 8th graders American history. Jeff works for a business solutions company in Lenexa, Kansas. He is a former social studies teacher, coach, and school district IT director. Jenn and Jeff are avid sports fans cheering on the Kansas City Royals and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Jeff has completed several marathons (including a 100K - yes you read that right...100!) Jennifer enjoys reading and cooking. They will celebrate their 17th wedding anniversary in December.

Not only have these two humanitarians traveled to SMK twice already, they are actively involved in practically everything CTT does. They are the volunteers behind the successful silent auctions we've had at our past two annual fundraisers and at two events we've held at Gordon Biersch Brewery. They have spoken about CTT at their church, they have rounded up laptops galore for the SMK computer lab and they even sponsor one of our secondary school students. These two are committed to the children at the orphanage in very big ways. CTT is lucky to call Jenn and Jeff very good friends.

In their own words:

"We first learned about Change The Truth when Gloria visited our church in Olathe. Having traveled to South Africa and Lesotho, we were interested in an organization that was committed to building relationships and providing educational support for children.  As members of Team 4 in 2010, we led computer classes and education around HIV-AIDS, drugs and alcohol, and healthy relationships. More importantly, we began building relationships with the children. We returned to Saint Mary Kevin in July 2012 and participated in the school day observing classes, organizing the library, and even teaching a few lessons. We traveled to several secondary schools to see CTT sponsored students and tour their dormitories, classrooms and college campuses.
The children of Saint Mary Kevin have imprinted our hearts as the red soil of Uganda marks our shoes and clothes. We are honored to lead Team 7 and can’t wait to see our friends in Kajjansi again. Tubagala nyo! (We love you!)"

Tomorrow you'll meet team member Cynthia.

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