Partner Profile: Abide Family Center

Abide Family Center Partnership

We are proud to support Abide Family Center in Uganda as one of our charity partners. Abide empowers vulnerable families to keep their kids at home and out of orphanages. Co-founder, Megan Parker, shares more about the purpose and vision of Abide below.

 

Every day 5:00 eventually rolls around and at Abide Family Center we start packing up our bags and locking up the classrooms and saying our goodbyes.

At 5:00 the moms start trickling through the doors and the kids in our daycare start to notice. And then there’s running and jumping into arms and excited squealing. Like most kids around the world they missed their mamas- and like most mamas- they missed their babies.

This scene plays itself out every day all around the world in schools and daycares and babysitter’s houses, but every day it happens at Abide it holds a much more important meaning to us. Because at Abide these kids were almost in orphanages and these mamas almost stopped being mamas.

At Abide Family Center we receive referrals of parents who are in the process of putting their children in orphanages because they simply cannot care for them. We offer them another option. We come alongside them and give them the services they need to keep their babies at home. Through parenting classes, business and vocational training, free daycare, emergency housing, counseling, and medical care we help keep families together and children out of orphanages.

And it’s working.

Through our 93% success rate of keeping families together we are proving that poverty should never be the reason a child is raised by an orphanage instead of their family.

Families like Rachel and her daughter Sumi. Rachel was living with family and struggling to make ends meet. Her family was abusive towards her and her daughter. She felt trapped and didn’t know how to keep her daughter safe and be able to continuing supporting her. When she was referred to Abide we were able to move her and Sumi into our emergency housing and enroll Rachel in parenting, bible study, and business classes. Right now Rachel is working hard to start her own business, move out on her own, and start a new life with her daughter where she can mother her in a safe environment.

Abide Family Center Uganda
Rachel and her daughter, Sumi, at Abide Family Canter, Uganda.

This holiday season we are so excited to be partnering with Ornaments 4 Orphans to give you a unique way to support two great organizations and join us in our journey to support vulnerable children in holistic and family based ways.

When you sign up to host an ornament party you can indicate in the “additional comments” section that you would like a portion of the proceeds to go to Abide and then your ornament sales will specifically benefit Abide, Ornaments 4 Orphans, and the artisans they work with!

This Christmas give the gift of family! [and decorate your tree with some gorgeous fair trade ornaments too… it’s an all-around win!]

  • Megan Parker

Co-Founder and Director of Abide Family Center

We encourage you to visit Abide’s website and consider them in your charitable giving this Christmas season. And if you would like to specifically support Abide by hosting an Ornaments 4 Orphans event in their honor, sign up on our website.

2016 Fall Events

Ornaments4Orphans Events

With Christmas only weeks away, Fall is a busy season for Ornaments4Orphans. Keep reading to learn where you can catch the #o4o traveling marketplace in the weeks ahead!

 

Hearts at Home Conference, Rochester, MN (October 14-15)
Hearts at Home

www.heartsathome.org

 

Pop-Up for Purpose (October 25)

Beacon People Pop Up

www.beaconpeople.org

Transformed Conference, Charlotte, NC (October 28-29)

PCA Transformed

http://www.pcacdm.org/transformed2016/transformed-charlotte/

 

 Christmas Village, Birmingham, AL (November 2- 6)

Christmas Village

http://www.christmasvillagefestival.com

 

 Gifted, Birmingham, AL (November 3)

Shades Mountain Baptist

https://www.facebook.com/shadesgifted

 

Magical Marketplace, Vestavia Hills, AL (November 18)

 Magical Marketplace

https://www.facebook.com/MagicalMarketplace

 

Don’t forget – you can bring the #o4o market to your front door by hosting an Ornaments4Orphans party this year. Give your friends and family the opportunity to shop a variety of our East African ornaments that all benefit vulnerable families and children. The only cost is your time! Click HERE to learn more.

 

 

Coordinator Testimony: An Interview with Jamie Raab

paper bead ornaments gift wrapping

Want to learn more about what it really takes to host Ornaments4Orphans? We talked with 2015 Coordinator, Jamie Raab, about her hosting experience. Read her testimony below about her #o4o home party last year.

Q: What compelled you to sign up to host Ornaments 4 Orphans?

A: The first thing that captured my attention was the beautiful collection of ornaments and nativity sets. I loved the products and immediately began thinking of what I wanted to buy for myself and for gifts. As I stood at the display table admiring all the products, I began talking with the volunteers who told me about the ministry.

As a mom of 5 kids it breaks my heart to hear of mamas in other countries struggling to care for their babies. Compared with their lives, mine is easy. I knew I wanted to do something to help those mamas take care of their children. It was a no-brainer…set up a tree, decorate with the beautiful products, invite friends to come shop and then send the money to help other mamas…what’s not to love??

Q: After you signed up, what did the process look like for you?

A: Through email I set up the inventory and delivery of the box of items, and then once received, I decorated my tree with the ornaments and displayed the nativities and then took a bunch of photos that I posted on Facebook and Instagram with an invitation to come shop. I also invited my bible study group to shop before and after our regular meeting at my house.

It was simple. The products sell themselves! People are very happy to buy the ornaments, and even happier to hear about the blessing of the ministry itself. I was truly surprised at how quickly I sold everything! The angels were a huge hit! Friends bought them for their children, for teacher gifts, for gift decorations, and for themselves. I even bought a large nativity set as a wedding present!

Q: What was the best part about hosting?

A: I loved sharing the vision of o4o and talking with people about keeping families intact by helping the mamas work and earn a living. I talked about leveraging our American shopping dollars to help others. And it’s always fun for me to have guests drop in for a chat while looking at the items. It was easy, fun, and meaningful.

Q: What would you say to someone who is thinking about getting involved with O4O?

A: Try it! You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain! People are looking for creative and meaningful gifts at Christmas time and hosting a tree was a great way to share the vision and provide a meaningful shopping experience, and to enjoy seeing friends who stop by.

We are so thankful for Jamie and the multitude of volunteers who bless others by hosting a tree. If you’ve hosted Ornaments4Orphans and want to share your story please contact us at host@ornaments4orphans.org. And if you’d like to join in the Ornaments4Orphans experience you can sign up to receive ornaments at www.ornaments4orphans.org/signup. It’s easy, free and impacts families around the world. 

O4O Headed to Pennsylvania for Creation 2016!

creation fest 2016

We’re packing up the ornaments and road tripping to Mount Union, PA for Creation Fest! Creation is one of the largest Christian music festivals in the country, attracting thousands of people to hear headlining bands.

O4O will be there with our fair trade merchandise, sharing the opportunity of empowering others and signing up volunteers to host trees in 2016!

Learn more at www.creationfest.com! If you will be at Creation Fest, we hope you will come visit the Ornaments4Orphans booth in the long building above the main stage area.

We Gave It All Away!

celebrating

We are delighted to announce that in 2015…

Ornaments4Orphans donated 100% of our profits to our non-profit partners in Uganda. Thank you for celebrating dignity and generosity with us. As a customer, coordinator, party host, volunteer or advocate, YOU enable us to better enrich the lives of our artisans and the children in their communities. Thank you for standing with us to forge paths of hope for families abroad.

Our profits benefited Pearl Ministries and Abide Family Center, both non-profits working in Uganda.

Pearl Ministries partners with Ranch on Jesus, a Ugandan ministry that operates a primary school, social services program and emergency children’s home. The primary school provides free and affordable education to orphans and vulnerable children within the community. Ministry social workers partner with local families to provide support during difficulty and a children’s home exists to provide a safe haven for kids during times of crisis.

Boy in Ranch on Jesus School

Operating in Jinja, Uganda, Abide Family Center focuses on empowering vulnerable families to keep their children at home and out of orphanages. Abide Family Center comes alongside at-risk families in Uganda through programs including Case Management and Counseling, Small Business Development, Parenting Classes, Early Childhood Education, Emergency Response Housing, Pastoral Services, and Medical and Nutritional Services.

Abide Family Center

Read more about our 2015 non-profit partners and explore their websites HERE.

We are eagerly looking forward to our 2016 season and hope you will join us in making it another awesome year. You can visit our HOST page to learn how to host an Ornament Party in 2016. The only cost is your time and the impact is immeasurable.

On behalf of all those we serve, THANK YOU!

The O4O Team

VOTE FOR Ornaments4Orphans / FedEx Small Business Grant

artisan at Ugandan market

Vote for Ornaments4Orphans to help us win one of ten small business grants from FedEx, including a $25,000 grand prize!

Ornaments4Orphans has been approved for an exciting opportunity. This summer FedEx is giving away a total of $140,000 in grant money to ten small businesses via the FedEx Small Business Grant Contest. Ornaments4Orphans has been approved as a participant! Visit our contest profile here.

How Can You Help?

VOTE! Voting is open now through June 14th. Each individual can vote once per 24-hour period.

SHARE! You can also help us spread the word by visiting the O4O twitter and Facebook pages to share this opportunity with others.

www.twitter.com/o4orphans and www.facebook.com/ornaments4orphans

Help us extend greater opportunity to families and children in East Africa. Vote here.

How will we use the grant money if we win?

We would use the money to help expand our business in new regions. Currently O4O is working with artisans in 5 countries in sub-Saharan Africa (Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Malawi, and Swaziland), with 14 artisan groups, that employ over 90 people. These artisans represent an immediate impact of over 500 individuals, not to mention the ripple effect on their communities, countries and generations to come. This year Ornaments 4 Orphans hopes to expand our impact with new groups in Burundi and Ethiopia.

This grant would enable us to widen our impact and bring opportunity, hope and change to many families and communities in Africa.

Thank you for being a part of our mission of dignity and generosity.

We’re Giving Away Two Passes to CAFO Summit!

CAFO Giveaway

Christian Alliance for Orphans’ Summit is less than a month away! The CAFO Summit inspires and equips Christians to care for orphans with wisdom-guided love. Join thousands of foster and adoptive parents, orphan advocates, pastors and leaders from around the world to explore effective foster care, adoption, family preservation and global orphan ministry. (Learn more HERE.)

We’re giving away two free CAFO registrations ($410 total value) in a Facebook contest this weekend only! Enter for a an opportunity to win passes for yourself or to gift to another. Visit our Facebook Page for more details.

Ornaments4Orphans CAFO Booth

If you attend Summit make sure to stop by our exhibit booth for giveaways, fair trade shopping and information about Ornaments 4 Orphans’ work to combat the global orphan crisis in East Africa through dignity and generosity!

 

Ornament Stories: a message from a founder

ornament stories

I grew up in an ornament family. Any time we went somewhere special, any time we did something special, there was a Christmas ornament to remember it. 

The numerous ballerinas representing my years performing in the Nutcracker. The various Disney characters from our trips to Florida. The little lobster on a crate from Boston where I, as a skinny twelve year old, ate two entire lobsters in one sitting. My teapot from the year I performed in the Importance of Being Earnest. And the pink Rwandan basket ornament bought to commemorate my first college trip to Uganda. The sweetness of this gift is not lost on me considering how my life turned out.

Contributions came from outside our family as well, from friends, family, teachers and neighbors who gifted us with ornaments and ended up embedding themselves in the cultural heritage of our family. When I hang these ornaments I am reminded of people who cared for me deep in the past. My wooden bear with the pull string came from my mother’s friend, Mrs. Donna, who died of cancer when I was very young. I cannot recall her face, but because of the ornament I remember her kindness.

Our family Christmas tree was not themed or planned. It was eclectic, personable and fully ours.

j and g in dresses

family christmas

Then in December 2005, my parents packed up all my ornaments and said goodbye. I was just married (as in hours) and was honeymooning with my new husband at his family’s cottage up north. My husband, Scott, also grew up in an ornament family. His box was in the back of the car along with mine. Christmas was only days away and it wouldn’t be Christmas without our ornaments.

We were so young and poor, but on our drive we spotted a farmhouse with a hand painted sign out front. “Cut your own Christmas Tree.” The woman who lived in the house handed us a saw and pointed to her backyard. “Pick your favorite.” My unsteady southern feet crunched behind Scott in the snow as we set out, a friendly golden retriever eagerly jumping around our tracks. We cut our tree, paid seven dollars and took it to the cottage to enjoy. We hung every ornament for the first time together on that beautiful, bargain tree. Just the two of us.

laslo first christmas

 

These days I’m up to my elbows in Christmas ornaments all the time. It’s my job. Each Fall Ornaments4Orphans imports boxes so large you can swim in them like those giant ball pits at Chuck.E.Cheese. By December, I’m a little burnt out.

Just when I’m sure I never want to see another ornament gain, it’s time to set up our Christmas tree. Scott anchors it in the corner then goes out to the carpscott and vivort to bring in our family ornament boxes. I watch our daughter ooh and ahh and rush to touch them all, to hang them all, all these ornaments we’ve kept and loved since we were kids. She insists on hanging my Han Solo, the ballerina mouse, Snoopy at his typewriter. We tell her where each one came from and why it matters to us.

She has her own ornaments too, collected since her birth to one day remind her of how she was precious to us and what was precious to her.

We outgrow our childhood clothes and toys, but we do not outgrow our ornaments.

Our Christmas trees tell the story of our lives. Of our families. Where we’ve been, who we love and who loves us. Each year we haul out the ornaments and hang them up, rediscovering their stories, elbowing one another for the best branches, cursing the tangled lights beneath our breath, bickering, laughing, celebrating with our people.

our tree

 

I think about this as we box up our Ornaments4Orphans and ship them out across the country.

africa ornamentI wonder who they will end up with and what meaning they will take. The Hope Ornament given to a discouraged neighbor, the Paper Bead Africa given to an adopting family, the Stuffed Elephant given for baby’s first Christmas or the Angel Ornament gifted to the NICU nurse. I imagine the memories that will be attached to those ornaments and the stories they will represent. My prayers are with each one of them as we pack them up and send them on their way.

Christmas Ornaments can seem like such small, inconsequential things. But I know better. Maybe you know better too.

love ornament

Merry Christmas!

Jamie Laslo

Co-Founder, Ornaments4Orphans

 

 

 

This Woman Can

this woman can

This Woman Can:

1. Pay Her Rent

2. Feed Her Family

3. Afford Medicine

4. Send Her Children to School

Empowering Mothers Through Ornaments

Life is especially challenging for Ugandan widows. A widow without an education or family support can easily fall into poverty. In desperation she will likely take her children to an orphanage where she believes they will have better access to food and education. At Ornaments 4 Orphans we believe that no mother should feel the need to give up her children because she is poor.

Our Stuffed Animal Ornaments are made by a special group of Ugandan widows who joined together to create economic stability for their families.

Using their sewing skills, these ladies create products which empower them to provide for their children. Stable work makes a world of difference for mothers and children longing to stay together. Shop now!

stuffed animal ornament trio

Our First Instagram Flash Sale!

instagram flash sale

Our recent fall shipment from East Africa contained a large box of beautiful woven bowls. These bowls are a traditional basket craft that has been passed down through the generations. Using local grasses, artisans weave the bowls into unique creations that can be used around the home or displayed on a wall.

african baskets

Because the baskets we received are each one of a kind we are unable to list them in our web store. But they are too beautiful not to share! Therefore we’ve scheduled our very first Ornaments 4 Orphans Instagram Flash Sale! Tonight from 7pm – 10pm CST we will offer up a selection of these incredible treasures on our Instagram profile @ornaments4orphans. Follow along for your chance to purchase a totally unique handmade, fair trade basket that empowers artisans and blesses children in Uganda.

We can’t wait! Join us! www.instagram.com/ornaments4orphans

african basket