For my first blog post as a board member of Ethiopian Orphan Relief, I thought it would be prudent to take this opportunity to introduce myself to all of you – the wonderful and generous people that help EOR do amazing things each year.
Originally from Ohio, I have been a musician for about as long as I can remember. I received my Bachelor of Music from The Ohio State University, and then was incredibly lucky to be able to attend Eastman School of Music for both my Masters and Doctorate degrees. On a whim my sophomore year in college, I decided to get a job at a Subway sandwich shop on campus. There I met Kevin and just over 2 years later we were married. Yep, we were pretty young (of course, we didn’t think so at the time!). After graduate school we began to build our family through adoption. We brought home our daughter, Lila, from Ethiopia in January 2008, and our son, Elijah (also from Ethiopia), in June 2010. During those trips to Ethiopia I not only fell deep in love with my two incredible children, but I also fell head over heels for Ethiopia. The people, the culture, the coffee, the smells, the colors, the food…I was a goner. At the same time, I was overwhelmed with needs of the children and families I met. It is a powerful thing to encounter such spirit, graciousness, and friendliness from those that live in profound poverty. Those that must walk for miles to collect water. Those that must beg on the streets to afford food. Children that cannot attend school, but instead must put themselves at risk on the streets in order to help provide for their family.
I went back to Ethiopia in 2011 with Ethiopian Orphan Relief and was blown away by the amazing work that YOU, the donors of EOR, have done. The girls of Children’s Heaven receive daily nutritious meals because of you. The adorable children of LOLA have transportation because of you. FOVC has a brand new building, a safe place to be especially during the rainy season because you built it, brick by brick.
I was honored to join the board of Ethiopian Orphan Relief because I simply love what EOR stands for and what they do. The projects EOR funds are achievable and concrete so that even my modest donations truly make a BIG difference. Even better, I love the fact that EOR is comprised entirely of volunteers. That means that every dollar donated goes directly where the donor intended. While at FOVC in 2011, I remember taking pictures of each child that received a backpack for Project Gena so that every donor could see the face of the child they helped. It is that level of commitment and accountability that makes Ethiopian Orphan Relief a truly amazing organization, in my humble opinion.
Ethiopian Orphan Relief has given me the opportunity to give back to the country that has entrusted me with the two most precious gifts of my life: my children. It is my job as their mother to make sure they keep Ethiopia and its people in their hearts forever. Working with EOR helps me do all of those things and it is a privilege I will never take lightly.