Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Lesson in Abundance

Of the 168 days I’ve been working as DHF’s Field Program Manager, Friday was by far the best day of this entire experience. Literacy is one of the pillars of the plus side of microcredit. Currently we have 10 students who religiously attend class once a week in the hope of learning how to sign their name, read short stories, and complete simple addition and subtraction problems. In May of this year, our literacy teacher, Lily Perez, brought to my attention that almost all of our students were having difficulty advancing due to a single problem—poor vision. Being the problem solver that I am, I began to ask around Cajamarca about any vision campaigns, prescription glasses donations, or reduced rate vision tests to get our women help. With no luck, I decided to try one last place. When Maggie visited the project in April of this year she stayed at a beautiful hostal called Los Jazmines. The owners are German and have spent over two decades helping Cajamarquinos receive medical attention and services to improve their health. With my heart heavy, I visited Los Jazmines and shared our situation with the head receptionist, Miss Lucy. About half way through my story, Lucy interrupted me and mentioned that two years ago Los Jazmines had organized a massive vision campaign and box of reading and prescription glasses was leftover. After a few phone calls, Lucy shared the good news… the hostel was donating more than 300 pairs of glasses to our cause! All I wanted were 10 pairs and now I was receiving 3oo! So on Friday we tested our literacy circle students from Tartar Chico for their first pair of glasses. It was an amazing experience to see the women’s reaction as they were finally seeing for the first time in years. This was the first time in my life that I asked for something and in return received so much abundance. This Friday our second literacy circle, which meets in the Hope House, will be tested for their glasses. I’ll be sure to include more pictures.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Week in Review: Butterflies, Tiaras, and Blouses

Hello DHF Family,
It’s Desireé signing back in. This week it’s been business as usual here in the Hope House. Due to high demand and constant requests by our jewelry students to build butterfly earring holders, we finally obtained the materials (thanks to Carmen Pajares who traveled to Lima two weeks ago) and made it happen. With 26 participants, the women we’re all about business. Each uniquely painted and designed their butterfly to reflect their sense of style. And I must say, there was paint everywhere but with a little soap and water, our classroom looked just as lovely as before. Now our jewelry students have beautiful displays that they can use when either selling jewelry or organizing new models that design in the Hope House.
In other news, yesterday’s theme was tiaras. Here in Peru, for birthdays, first communions, quinceañeras, weddings, and other special occasions, women often like to wear fancy up-dos with glitter, flowers, and the works. In 30 minutes our students learned how to make a simple and economical flower tiara that can be sold at S/.30 (approximately $7.00). Instead of renting a tiara, now our women can either make one or gift one to a family member or neighbor in need.

Lastly, today we started a three class module for the month of June in which crochet students will learn how to design a fashion-forward blouse with flowers. We had visitors from our newest bank “Las Hortensias.” They were excited to finally visit the Hope House and meet our crochet instructor, Charo Yupanqui. The students take their classes very seriously and already have offers to buy the blouses they are just now starting to make. I’ll keep you posted once they fiso you can see the final results in two weeks.


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

DiscoverHope Proudly Hires New Executive Director: A Letter from Founder Maggie Miller

Dear DiscoverHope Family,

Thank you to your continued support, this spring marked the fifth anniversary of DiscoverHope! We are fortunate to have grown at a pace that has far surpassed our goals and expectations. On behalf of the Board of Directors, I am so proud to share with you that an organizational dream has come to fruition. To compliment and encourage the upward movement DiscoverHope has experienced, we are elated to announce that we’ve hired a new rock solid, light-filled, Executive Director— Jennifer Edwards.

The privilege of a lifetime is being who we are. On my list of decisions that have enriched and changed me forever, being the Founder and five-year Executive Director of DiscoverHope is right there at the top. Creating and growing an organization from the still small voice of an idea into where we are today is indeed an Odyssey. The entrepreneurial journey is intoxicating, exciting, intense, tough, lonely, electrifying, uplifting, and an endless list of emotional expressions that span the continuum of being human. In any journey, the fabric of the people woven into that adventure is forever changed. I see clearly that DiscoverHope is the living example of loving transformation that people gift to this world. Every one of you has helped people radiate!

Inevitably, the natural questions of “what now” and “what next” will be asked. There is no juicy gossip in the Austin pipeline on this one. What next for me, as Founder, will be to continue my role with DiscoverHope as an integral part of the Board of Directors. I am truly excited to fulfill this strategic role and will be focusing on our vision, growth, fundraising, and program development. I hope my conviction and faith in this organizational decision being the right one is highlighted by the fact I wrote myself out of my own job.

Just as DiscoverHope was created by listening to the inner vision of the still small voice, once again, after seven years (including two spent living in Peru) of pouring my heart and soul into the fabric of DiscoverHope, I KNOW we are in a very healthy place to allow someone with an incredible set of experiences to take over the operational helm of leadership. Through my own prayer and reflection, it comes down to the fact that sometimes you “gotta get out of the way” to allow fresh perspective and new growth. So many young nonprofits don’t get the chance to experience this next level of growth. I feel ecstatic that DiscoverHope has grown to the place where we can hire an expert Executive leader to continue guiding our team and simply shift over my role onto the Board where my greatest strengths will compliment the organization.

Replacing yourself is an intriguing learning process. As we sorted through resumes (more than 200!)— the one requirement was to find someone who could hold the internal Light of DiscoverHope that is so inherent to our family.

Jennifer Edwards shines with the executive energy we were seeking. Under her guidance, we look forward to growing into a more mature, well rounded nonprofit. Jennifer has spent her career working to help people achieve success and has expertise in fundraising, operational excellence, and strategic planning. She boasts more than 15 years of nonprofit executive experience in Central Texas; most recently as the founding Chief Executive Officer of United Way of Williamson County. Other organizational leadership positions with Helping Hand Home for Children, Paramount Theatre, and United Way Capital Area highlight her ability to lead and strengthen nonprofit fundraising. Jennifer is a special woman and we are very grateful to have her.

You are endlessly special to me and I know that in Jennifer, you will continue receiving the reflection of Love that you deserve. For those of you who have grown accustomed to getting some doses of love and light from me, I’m still here for you! I hope that as Founder/Board Director/Friend I can count on each of you to continue to hold and grow this vision with us through your continued generosity of time, talent, and financial contributions.

Please celebrate this exciting chapter of growth with us knowing that we believe in the decision with every ounce of who we ARE.

I have so much Love for you,