Doing Good Together

By Kate Flanagan

Photo by Janelle Pol

Photo by Janelle Pol

Escaping New York to save the world sounded like a great idea. I heard about an organization called Many Hopes looking for volunteers to go to Kenya. Many Hopes rescues girls from unfathomable, difficult circumstances and gives them a loving home and a world-class education.

 Anything with the word “hope” sounded like an excellent opportunity, and I figured I knew all about orphanages. Had I not watched Annie every weekend of my childhood?

 To be part of a Many Hopes trip, I had to raise $4,000 to put one girl through school with room and board for a year. This amount seemed laughable compared to the cost of a New York private school, but less laughable when I thought about shaking down my friends and family for money. In fact, I felt nauseated at the idea of writing some “hopey changey” email asking for thoughts, prayers, and earnings. If I was going to commit, I needed to get it done, and fast.  


TAKING A BRAVE STEP

I dashed off a quick email to the people in my life whose unconditional love I was ready to test, asking them to rally around the cause of a girl’s education. If it didn’t work, I’d figure it out after I got back from Kenya. 

The next morning I set my expectations to lower than low, around the barometer of “incredible disappointment” to be exact. A couple of generous friends had already donated $50 and $100 and I was sure that would be it. Before leaving for work I dropped to my knees and asked God to “please handle this.” I was already embarrassed and it was only nine am.  

BEING AMAZED 

As I walked out the glass doors of my downstairs lobby a few minutes later, my email pinged with a subject that made my jaw drop: “Congratulations! Your goal has been reached.” I stopped in my tracks as I clicked through to make sure it wasn’t a mistake. An angel donor had covered the entire cost of the fundraising goal. I hadn’t been aware this person even knew about the campaign, but she’d found out through a family member. In a great act of generosity, she had donated more than enough to give a girl a new chance at life.  

 It didn’t stop there. By the end of the day, the friends and family around me had raised enough money to send two girls to school for one year. If I had been looking for confirmation that other people were similarly motivated to do something new to create hope, this was it.

Now I was going to Kenya for sure.

Come back next week to discover HOW HELPING OTHERS CAN BRING US HOPE in the second part of Kate’s story.