Facing the Future has been very busy expanding their facilities to keep as many children active and alive as possible, providing them with a safe place to go to each day enabling their caregivers to work. With the help of our Y and through generous member contributions, FAFU has grown to presently serve 350 children and has just completed a second school. A medical facility has also been built on site with medical staff for the children.
Inside Facing the Future:
Facing the Future Music Team Continues Reign as National Champions
FAFU’s music team continues to reign as Champions of the National Music Festival in Kakamega, Kenya. The team earned the highest mark from any team in recent years. At FAFU, the students practice music every day.
The First Playground of its Kind in Kibera
Due to the generosity of our Y Board of Directors, staff, members and community members, groundwork and playground installation was completed in January 2017. The most difficult part of the project was transporting the playground through the streets of Kibera and trying to keep the FAFU excited children off of the equipment when it arrived. This addition to the school has brought much joy to the teachers and children alike.
Facing the Future continues to be a resource for its children, staff and community by opening an on-site medical clinic which serves their students, staff as well as Kibera residents by providing them with emergent and non-emergent medical cafe and prescriptions. This clinic is supervised by a doctor and the on-site FAFU school nurse. Not only is the clinic an asset to the Kibera community but a revenue producer to provide the school with continued monitory support for the kids to learn and grow in a happy, healthy and positive environment.
Inside our Community:
Community Presentations and Projects
The Y’s Kibera Connections Committee has gone out into the community to speak to local schools and groups to build awareness about FAFU and the work that we have been doing. If you would like members from our team to present to your group or organization or if you would like to host a project/fundraiser to support the children at Facing the Future, please contact Diana Riolo by email, subject line should state FAFU Presentation/Project Interest, or at 203-920-1653.
West School’s 4th Grade Lends a Helping Hand
The 4th graders at West School were so intrigued by and interested in the children at Facing the Future that they decided to help us collect school supplies to present them with on our March 2016 trip. The FAFU teachers and children were so happy and extremely excited to receive the collection, while the students at West School experienced their own excitement at a successful philanthropic endeavor. In addition to hosting a school supply collection, the 4th graders have run successful Walk-A-Thons to raise funds for FAFU. We thank West School from the bottom of our hearts for giving your time and talents to raise awareness of FAFU and bring other children across the world much needed supplies.
One of our global goals at our Y is to build relationships between our Y Childcare participants & their teachers and their counterparts at FAFU. Virtual calls between our Rainbow Station 4’s class and FAFU’s own preschoolers are a meaningful step in learning about other cultures.By communicating with and learning about each other via these virtual calls, we hope to build long lasting, positive relationships.
In addition to the virtual calls, local elementary schools and our New Canaan YMCA preschool programs have taken part in making picture collages and writing letters as part of a cultural exchange project with FAFU.
Lemon”aid” Stands for FAFU
With a Lemon”aid” Stand starter kit provided by the Y, local families volunteer to host lemon”aid” stands, either at the Y or in their own neighborhood, to raise funds each summer for FAFU needs. This fundraiser serves as an opportunity for our youngest philanthropists to show their support. In addition to these families, Kids Unlimited participants, Camp Y-Ki’s Leaders in Training (LIT’s) and our YSN Teen & Young Adult Campers tap into their charitable nature by running lemon”aid” stands at both the Y and at Kiwanis Park.
Coffee for a Cause to Benefit FAFU
Each holiday season, our Y hosts a fundraiser to support our friends at FAFU by selling fresh, organic Kenya Coffee. These 1/2 pound bags of coffee make great gifts for teachers, friends and coworkers. They are also a great way to thank holiday hosts and are great stocking stuffers.
The intent of our third and most recent trip in March, 2016 was to build upon the relationships that have been established and to spend quality time with the children and staff. The group that attended this trip was comprised of five YMCA directors, one Board of Directors member and three community members, the largest group to date having visited from our Y. Two members of our group brought duffle bags filled with collected school supplies, t-shirts, soccer balls and books for FAFU’s library.
Once on the ground and inside FAFU’s walls, we were greeted with jubilation, songs and dancing, a testament to how much our work and dedication are appreciated. The week was filled with getting to know the teachers, working beside them and learning and growing with the children. When we were not playing, singing, dancing or writing, we painted the FAFU cafeteria, set up their library with the donated books or organized the school supplies collected from our community members here in New Canaan. Lastly, one of the biggest projects we had set out to do on our trip was to install a playground. Unfortunately, the playground was not released from a Kibera holding yard and the project was not completed at that time. Since then, the playground has been released and was installed in January 2017 to the extreme excitement and joy of its beneficiaries.
Prior to this trip, the Y staff reached out to the community and met with fourth graders from New Canaan’s East and West Schools as well as a first grade class from Jefferson Science Magnet School in Norwalk. The Y staff presented information about FAFU to the students who then wrote letters and drew pictures to present to the children from FAFU. In addition to this, the students were so interested in the lives of the children from FAFU that they were inspired to help. The West School fourth graders held not only a school supply collection but also a walk-a-thon to raise money for FAFU. The Y’s Rainbow Station 4’s were also involved by creating collages for the children from FAFU. Upon the Y staff’s return from Kibera, the New Canaan and Norwalk school children were presented with letters written to them by their new friends from FAFU.
We were able to bring back with us not only memories that will last a lifetime but knowledge based on experience of how simple human connections can make a huge impact on a person’s life. The things we take for granted in this amazing country in which we are fortunate to live are the very things that the people of Kibera are in desperate need of to just survive each and every day.
In 2011, a second trip was taken with a focus on building a site for the school. Our Y would come to see first-hand the impact of our support on the Kibera children and their community. We spent time with the Facing the Future (FAFU) staff and their board of directors to assist with developing self-sustainable projects through multiple ventures.
Since the first day we stepped on Kibera soil in 2007, we knew that we needed to support Simeon the best way we could so that his dream of helping the children and giving back to the Kibera community would be a reality. The need for human connection, not to mention a new school building to teach and house as many children as possible with whatever resources Simeon could obtain, was apparent. In good conscience, we could not sit back with this knowledge and do nothing. So we decided to Do something.
To make a donation to FAFU through our Annual Support Campaign, contact Diana Riolo at 203-920-1653, or click here and enter “FAFU” in the “I’d like to help:/Other” section at the bottom of the form.