Facility Update: The Y will be closed on Monday, 9/6 for Labor Day to allow our employees to enjoy the holiday with their family and friends. Looking to squeeze in a workout
or for some fun activities for kids and families? Check out the brand-new library of virtual classes and activities available to New Canaan YMCA members at www.ymca360.org.

Social Responsibility

FAFU News, Events, & Service Trips

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 330 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 continue 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 children off of the equipment when it arrived. The children were so excited, this addition to the school has brought much joy to the teachers and children alike. They now have a place to run, jump, climb and swing during their school day.

Medical Clinic
Facing the Future continues to be a resource for its children, staff and community by getting ready to open a medical clinic which will serve their students, staff as well as Kibera’s people by providing them with emergent and non-emergent medical cafe and prescriptions. This clinic will be supervised by a Doctor and the onsite FAFU school nurse. Not only will the clinic be 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
Prior to our March 2016 trip, the Y’s Kibera Connections Committee went out into our 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. In addition to hosting a school supply collection, the 4th graders ran a successful Walk-A-Thon. 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. We thank you 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.        

Picture Collages and Letters
Both East and West Elementary Schools from New Canaan, Jefferson Science Magnet Elementary School in Norwalk and our New Canaan YMCA preschool programs took part in making picture collages and writing letters which were presented to the children of FAFU on our March 2016 trip. Letters were exchanged back upon our return.

Lemon”aid” Stands for Kibera
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 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.

Holiday Coffee for Kibera Fundraiser
Each year, our Y hosts a fundraiser for Kibera by selling fresh, organic African Coffees to provide monitory support for our friends at Facing the Future. These funds assist the school with purchasing school supplies and equipment that are desperately needed. Coffee for Kibera begins in November and continues through the end of December. These 1/2 pound bags of coffees make great gifts for teachers, friends and coworkers. They are also a great way to thank holiday hosts and are overall yummy holiday gifts.

Skype calls
One of our global goals here at our Y is to build relationships between our Y Childcare participants and their teachers and those of FAFU. Constant communication and learning with each other is what makes global relationships thrive and can assist in building long lasting, positive relationships for years to come. We kicked off our first of many skype calls between our Rainbow Station 4’s class and FAFU’s own preschool class participants. The first call was spent introducing each other and singing two different versions of the same song. The next call was spent talking about their favorite subjects in school and the things they like best and, of course, more singing. 

Service Trips

2016
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.

2011
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.

2007
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.

For more information about our partnership with Facing the Future, contact Diana Riolo at 203-920-1653.