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August 13, 2010

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August 13, 2010

Upon just finishing my first summer (of what i anticipate to be many!) volunteering with Fount of Mercy, I left both beyond satisfied with my experience and teammates, as well as inspired and rejuvenated in life. I had a year in preparation for my Uganda trip, and one would think that after a year of anticipation that i would be disappointed. It was the exact opposite. I don't think my mind could have possibly imagined the joy i would find in volunteering, and especially with such a well organized, understanding and professional group. While in Uganda i photographed the 6 grassroots organizations that Fount partners with. Not only did i feel prepared for my adventures thanks to the amazing staff, but i also felt comfortable talking with the team before, during and after. Fount of Mercy is really doing something right when it comes to volunteer work. The level of compassion, responsibility, love, and passion that is put into their work is very moving, and i am honored to be a part of its history and future.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Just after i left Uganda, i discovered that the woman in one of our groups learned to make unique new pieces of jewelry and were connected with a shop in Jinja to sell!! benefits were reaping before our eyes and providing instant income!

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

try to get the staff paid for their work.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

i had a sense of freedom while working, but i also felt safe. Also, the organizations that Fount has chosen to partner with are incredible people.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

motivated, inspiring,talented, hard-working and compassionate

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

easily change the lives of everyone in Uganda, and perhaps beyond.

Ways to make it better...

i felt 100% satisfied with my experience, the only things i would have changed would have been on a personal level as a photographer. however, we learn from our experiences.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

funding, and expanding the network to get more donors.

One thing I'd also say is that...

if your heart wants to volunteer, start here!

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

June 8, 2010

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June 8, 2010

In the summer of 2007, I traveled to Uganda on a Travel with Purpose team and had my life changed through that experience with Fount of Mercy! While in Uganda, I spent time facilitating education training workshops for Ugandan educators. Once I was back in the USA, I had the privilege of working with Fount of Mercy as the Educational Development Director, overseeing the overall educational development program. The organization does an excellent job of connecting stateside volunteers with Ugandans in a way that the stateside volunteers can use their skills to strengthen Ugandans. Fount of Mercy focuses on empowerment of the Ugandans it connects with. I have loved my time and experiences volunteering with Fount of Mercy!

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the various workshops I have planned over the past 3 summers.

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How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

June 1, 2010

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June 1, 2010

I was honored to help Fount of Mercy raise awareness and funds for their work in Uganda by assisting Tara Hawks with planning the first Sewing Hope Fashion Show in New York City. Working closely with Ms. Hawks and other Fount of Mercy Staff I was able to get a very close look at the work they have accomplished in Uganda. Their unique partnership approach is truly about empower the people of Uganda and helping build their capacity. The work Sewing Hope has done has had a direct impact on women, by teaching them how to sew. This skill is then used to help fuel the economy in their communities and also pass along the skills they learn to others. The Fashion Show Fundraiser is an incredible way for the Sewing Hope project of Fount of Mercy to showcase their work and encourage people in the United States to either travel to Uganda to help with the partner organizations there, or to help support their work financially. I was honored to help with this Fundraiser and continue to support the work Fount of Mercy is doing and plans to do. They are an incredible group of women and I hope to join them on a trip to Uganda to see the women and orphans they have been helping first hand.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

seeing the effect the work has had on the staff of Fount of Mercy. Their ideas, enthusiasm, care, cultural considerations are truly an inspiration.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

help them acquire more funds so they could accomplish more great work in Uganda. They are a new organization, full of young, talented, hardworking women, yet they are doing a variety of work to help fuel the work they truly care about, helping Ugandans.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

getting to know the incredible staff and learning about their work in Uganda.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

amazing. They are really hardworking, caring, intelligent and inspiring people. I have been honored to know them.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

really accomplish and incredible amount of work affecting many people's lives. As a new organization they have been on a shoestring budget and it would be a great thing for them to secure funds to implement more great ideas and projects.

Ways to make it better...

I had more time to volunteer with them! I really enjoy working with them I wish I could give them more of my time!

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

financial, but all new non-profits face that challenge. I know they will get past that because they have work with integrity and longevity. They have begun great work and it will continue!

One thing I'd also say is that...

if you have a chance to either attend the Sewing Hope Fashion Show Fundraiser in New York City - you should...or want to go to Uganda to do skill building, you should go with Fount of Mercy.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

May 31, 2010

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May 31, 2010

I think Fount of Mercy is an amazing organization. My first experience with Fount was when I traveled with my church's youth group to TAOST. Fount set our youth group up at TAOST where we assisted the teachers during the morning lessons. Teaching English was a huge focus and we utilized fun games, songs, and readings to help the children learn. During the afternoon sessions we led vacation bible school activities (i.e. games, arts and crafts,...) and played a lot of football (or soccer :)) As a chaperon, I was extremely nervous to take these youth to a third world country that none of us had every experienced. Fount of Mercy met with us multiple times in order to prepare us for this trip. They covered everything from team building exercises, to differences in the culture, to what to pack, to even going over our lesson plans and activities. Once on the ground in Jinja, Uganda Fount's attention to detail continued. Lori, an employee of Fount, handled our lodging, transportation, food, and also planned activities away from TAOST for our youth to see even more of Uganda. I was so impressed with Fount of Mercy's mission of assisting grass root African organizations to care for and educate orphans that I immediately began planning a trip for the following year. I felt a bond with the children of TAOST so me and two friends decided to travel back. Fount of Mercy representatives were just as awesome if not even more so in planning for this trip. They took the skills of our three person team and focused on how we could best benefit TAOST. With Fount's help we set up lesson plans to include a variety of instructional strategies for the morning sessions and the afternoon sessions would then be spent with teaching the teachers how to incorporate these strategies into their lessons. While the trip was a lot of work, it was extremely rewarding. I often wonder if the trip did more for me then my work did at TAOST. However, I do know the lessons the teachers of TAOST learned from our time there will benefit the children for years to come. Fount of Mercy allowed me to use some of my skills and education to help others. Fount made the trip planning easy so we were able to really focus on the mission of helping. Looking forward to my third trip back!

Photos

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I have seen the smiles and felt the hugs of the children of TAOST. I taught lessons to orphans in an old barn and gone back the following year to teach these children with four walls and a blackboard. The work that Fount does in tangible and meaningful.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Give them more money. As with all non profits, Fount of Mercy is limited on how many organizations they can assist in Uganda because of money. I feel the ground work for Fount has been set. Now they just need the means to continue their wonderful work.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

everything. I know this is very generic but it is honest. The time with Fount of Mercy in Jinja, Uganda has influenced all areas of my life.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

compassionate, kind, and fun.

Ways to make it better...

the airfare to Entebbe is cheaper so I could go back more often.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

fund raising. Because Fount is working with local African organizations it is hard to engage citizens in the U.S. The whole "out of sight out of mind" mentality.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

May 29, 2010

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May 29, 2010

Wonderful people to for/with. A HIGHLY organized and hard-working group of people, and, most importantly, a cause this is so worthy. Tell your story here and help others understand this charity

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

changing the lives of women in Uganda by helping purchase sewing machines, and offering training so that these women can start their own small business...and it's working!

More feedback...

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

May 28, 2010

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May 28, 2010

I have had the absolute pleasure of working with Fount of Mercy's project Director for Sewing Hope, Tara Hawks, in planning and executing the annual fashion show fundraiser in New York city. From day one, Tara and her team had a clear vision and passion for this project that was easily contagious. Seeing the need in Uganda for women to have marketable skills, Sewing Hope has found a way to turn the NY fashion industry into their source for support. It was inspiring to see some of New York's talented and acclaimed designers create and donate garments made from African fabric to raise money that will go directly back to purchase sewing machines, fabric, and support the training of women in Uganda. What's even better is that Sewing Hope is seeing these women form partnerships and support each other. They are actively encouraged to reinvest in their growing garment businesses. I am so impressed with how Sewing Hope/Fount of Mercy shows stewardship of its funds. Every decision in the planning of the event was focused on how it will best serve the women in Uganda. From the raffle, to the guest refreshments (our wine sponsor was a company owned and operated by two women out of CA), Sewing Hope has aligned itself with donors, volunteers, and vendors that support empowering women and are eager to see growth for Sewing Hope and, therefore, Fount of Mercy's global impact.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Showing annual growth in numbers of attendees, donors for the fashion show, and net amount earned. Also, the event went so seamlessly... truly a testament to the exemplary nature of the team at Sewing Hope. I want to bring them to every event we do!

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

make it bigger so it can make a larger impact on more women!

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

they are grateful. Everywhere you turn, your efforts are recognized. It is well managed, and from the top down they foster a culture of thankfulness.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

one-of-a-kind awesome. I wish I could work with this exact team on every event we do!

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

change the world. They really need to have the Director on salary so she can work on this full time. But of course, most of it would go to expansion of teams in multiple countries.

Ways to make it better...

We could have more awareness of the event and get more people there, but we've seen growth, so I have confidence we'll see more next year!

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

limits with funds. A little more funding support would go a long way with this project.

One thing I'd also say is that...

I'll be a life long supporter :)

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

May 28, 2010

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May 28, 2010

I had a unique window into the Sewing Hope wing of the Font of Mercy organization. I watched 24 hours of random footage detailing the women involved in a tailoring program which was set up to train AIDS widows in sewing so that they'd have income and can keep their families together. I was impressed by how Fount of Mercy finds ways to fund and provide supplies and technical assistance to already existing organizations which are run by Ugandan nationals. That way, these orgs are on their way to self-sufficiency. I was really impressed with all I saw in this footage, and how the women are drawn into the process of deciding what they need.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the stories of the women who have been through the Sewing Hope program. I also went to Uganda in January 2011 and experienced their programs and people first hand. I even met one of the graduates of the Sewing Hope program and we became friends. It was great to hear first-hand about how the program helped her, and to see her set of fierce skills!

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

If I could, I'd fund them better!

More feedback...

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

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