Thursday, February 25, 2010

Dominican School

Every day I am more and more convicted about our opportunities to help others. The more places I visit, the more I experience, the more I learn about other cultures, I realize how MUCH we have here in Canada. How blessed we are, even when we think we have it "rough". We have been talking a lot about this with our children and trying to find hands-on ways to share other people. And it certainly doesn't have to always be in another country. There are lots of ways to help right here. But, I also think it's important for us to experience other cultures (especially since we are a multi-cultural family) and to keep in mind that other people do not have the luxuries we have, let alone basic necessities.

Besides keeping up-to-date on the orphanage needs in Alyssa's area, our family has also decided to help out a local school in Dominican Republic. When Chris and I decided to take a vacation to DR last year, we decided to see who we could find to show us what "real" life is like for Dominicans, not just the luxury resort life! Through various contacts we found Punta Cana Mike - he is originally from Ontario and has been living in Domincian for some time. He loves to help the children and families as much as he can.

When we met up with Mike last year, we asked him to take us to a school that could really use some help. Those of us who traveled down on the trip took suitcases filled with school supplies and medicines. Chris and I visited a village school and immediately knew we wanted to do more for them. We were able to visit the village, meet some of the students and their families and see the school first hand.

The school is non-profit - every teacher and helper is a volunteer! There is a morning school and an afternoon school so more children can attend. They have plastered the outside walls of the schools with learning materials so the adults in the community can learn too! We loved this! We loved the passion the village had for their children and for learning, even if the conditions were very, very bare! The school had just recently gotten running water but there is no electricity. There are 3 small classrooms. But the children LOVE to attend. They can go to this school even though they can't afford school uniforms. (In DR, students have to have shoes and a uniform to attend school)

When Chris and I visited the village we noticed how little there was there. Very tiny (shack size) store, some huts, rusted out buses that were made into homes, a small church and the school. There were many children around but really nothing for them to do. We thought it would be so fun for them to build a playground - not just as something to do for the school but something for the WHOLE community. A place where kids could go together and socialize, where parents could take their children and play, a place for teens to hang out....The school is right in the center of the community so if children are playing there, the adults can see them from their homes while they work.

We are heading back down to visit in April and are hoping to get things going with the playground! We are using our Annual Kids Carnival this year to raise money for this playground. I am also using part of my commission from Silpada to raise money. I can't wait to see this done for the children in this community! They are going to love it!

This is the school - I'm with Punta Cana Mike and he is telling me all about the school and how great a playground would be there!

This is the spot we want to build the playground. The community is all around the school . The locals are more than happy to build the playground themselves if we can purchase everything that is needed. I love their commitment and passion for their families!

One of the classrooms in the school.

One of the precious, amazing village kids. He was too cute! I couldn't resist a kiss!

This is a "bus village" located just beside the school - many children and their families live in these buses as they have no other home.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Slowly but surely...

Has it really been 4 months? We haven't forgetten our mission or those amazing children in Yongzhou!

Life has been incredibly busy and unpredicatable. We are still in contact with Susan in China to see how our orphanages are doing. We didn't have our Annual Kids Carnival yet as my co-planner had a new baby during our regular Carnival weekend. We are definitely planning one and this year we will hold it in the Fall.

One of my biggest goals right now is to help with medical surgeries for the children at Alyssa's orphanage. I have seen many photos of the children living there and all of them (except 1 or 2) are children with medical needs. Many children have cleft issues and I know first hand how surgery can dramatically change a child's life.

I am looking into some other ideas as well to continue raising funds. Once I know for sure what we can do to help with medical surgeries, I will know more about how much we need to raise. I'll keep updating here and spreading the word through emails and facebook.

For updates on the kiddos you can visit our family blog.

Take care!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Getting rolling again!

Things have been quiet on this site for awhile...things have been a bit quiet with our work with Two Homes One Heart. When we came home in June with Evan, my husband really stressed the importance of taking a step back from many obligations to get our family transitioned, adjusted and back to a new "normal".

I have been itching to get back at it and am happy that we are at a place where I can commit some time and energy to our orphanages again.

We have 3 PEI families heading to China at the end of February and they have been kind enough to agree to take 3 bundles of donations to the orphanages for us! We have some beautiful fleece blankets, hats, mitts, baby items, etc...and we will distribute them to 3 separate orphanages.

I have also contacted our "regular" orphanages - Feng, Dao and Jiangyong to see what assistance we can provide. We are trying very hard to arrange medical surgeries for children at these orphanages because we know it will mean a better chance for the orphanage to put them foward for adoption. I will keep everyone updated on what the needs are and how we can best care for these children!

My husband and I are heading back to Dominican Republic and we are arranging a visit with the local school to see how we can help care for those children as well. There are many children waiting to attend school and sometimes all it takes is a uniform and a pair of shoes to be "allowed" to attend. There are many needs at the schools such as school desks, basic school supplies, spanish reading books, educational books and learning toys. We will do our best to take as many donations as we can and then find out what the needs are when we are there.

Please keep checking back for updates and fundraising initiatives!

The MacKinnon Family

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Jiangyong received the donation!

We sent a donation to Jiangyong Orphanage awhile back and we are happy to see they have put it to good use to buy baby food, toys and new clothes for the children. Our contact in Susan sent us these photos while we were in China adopting (in June) but I just remembered today and had a chance to look through the pictures. There are some pictures below of some Jiangyong children! Thanks to everyone who gave for this project!!!!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

News on donations...

We heard from Northern Asia Compassionate Touch about the money sent for the earthquake orphans. They have been putting the $5000 + to good use to care for many children after the earthquake. We received an upate on what was purchased and were told pictures would be sent to us soon.

The money was used to purchase beds, tables, mosquito nets, shoes, clothing, fly traps, shampoos, lotions, toothpaste and other hygiene items.


We also sent off a donation to Jiangyong Orphange and it has been wired to the Director. She will send us the receipts and some photos so I will post those as soon as I get them.


We are heading to China in just a couple of days but I will update when I return. We have a few events planned over the summer as we are hoping to focus on our local foster children and families with young children in PEI. Stay tuned....

Monday, June 2, 2008

Our Adoption Blog!


We leave in 12 days to meet our son, Evan Jun.

He is 5 years old, from the Waiting Child program in China!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Helping China's Earthquake Victims

I had the honor of helping 2 very special Chinese friends plan a Candlelight Vigil in honor and in memory of the thousands of families affected by the earthquake in China (May 12). It was a very special night where many people gathered in an emotional time of prayer, reading stories and sharing our sadness and hope for the many, many victims.

Although we didn't promote this event as a fundraiser, many people were moved to donate and $5200 was raised! Wendy, Ling and I talked about how we could use this money to directly help children who were affected by the earthquake. God certainly moves and hears our prayers because the next day I received a phone call from a friend saying there were 100 earthquake orphans being moved to Kunming Orphanage (Yunnan) and they desperately needed financial assistance to care for these children.

What joy to be able to give the $5200 to care for these children!!!!!

I have also agreed to join the Yunnan Kids International Board to help with other needs the orphans may have. I will continue to share these needs as I hear about them.


$2000 Raised!

Our Kids Carnival was a great success with lots of families coming out for some fun! THANK YOU to everyone who came and supported this event. Thank you to Mari Lynn for all her hard work and commitment to this event and with Two Homes One Heart!! A special thank you to Gail Hodder for donating her talents again with her amazing cookies! Yum!!

THANK YOU to Wendy, Ling and all their friends who made the amazing chinese food!!! It was so delicious!

Thank you to our local business sponsors - you are all terrific!!!

Charlottetown Vision Care
Cabinet Master
Cornwall Esso
Vogue Optical
Lewis Moudlings (NS)
Split Endz
Diana's Grooming

We have changed our original plan for using the funds...originally we were going to build another outdoor playground at an orphanage but we didn't raise the full $4000. Instead, we will be providing TONS of play equipment, books, tables, etc.. for an orphanage to use INDOORS. Our son's orphanage (Liuzhou, Guangxi) has told us they desperately need some indoor toys (ride on cars, etc...) for their children. We were not able to build an outdoor playground at this orphanage as there are many special needs children and not enough nannies to properly supervise outdoor play such as this. But, we can certainly provide fun, educational, stimulating toys for the children to use indoors!!!

We (Chris, Caleb, Evan and I) are making arrangements to buy the toys while we are in China (in June) and then deliver them to the orphange so we will be sure to take lots of pictures and post them when we return!!


Our wonderful friends setting up the Chinese table...they spent hours making spring rolls, dumplings and a noodle dish. So good!

People ready to purchase their tickets...let the fun begin!

Families enjoying the Carnival!