As a volunteer at JBFC, my experience was more than I could have ever asked for. From farming, to cooking, to spending time with the girls, everyday in Tanzania was a day that I will remember for the rest of my life. Although I traveled to JBFC to help the girls who live there, they were the ones who ended up helping and inspiring me. I continue to think about JBFC and the lasting memories of the beautiful smiles and overwhelming happiness we shared together in Tanzania.
Our family has been connected to Mainsprings: JBFC since 2012. Founder, Chris Gates is an alum at my children's school in Tulsa. One day after hearing Chris speak to the student body, my daughter came home and said she wanted to go to Tanzania. Well, five years later and four trips to the Tanzania campus, you could say our family is committed. I am amazed, in awe, and inspired by the work and vision of Chris Gates. I become emotional when I think about what would become of these girls if they did not have the security of Mainsprings. Not only do the girls benefit from the Mainspring family, but also, the people of Kintongo, Tanzania. Locals are employed, children are educated, health issues addressed, and new farming techniques implemented. What a beautiful community of people!
My wife and my four adult children and I had the pleasure to spend a few days on the campus of Mainsprings: Janada Batchelor Foundation for Children in June, 2017 in Tanzania. We were able to witness first-hand the great work being done by this organization. Their mission is 4-pronged, with the ultimate goal to eliminate extreme poverty in Tanzania. We witnessed how their home for disadvantaged girls helps these girls understand what it means to have a loving, caring family. We experienced how their school is educating hundreds of local boys and girls throughout their region. We got to see how their healthcare organization is bolstering their health and well-being, and also how their on-site perma-culture farm is helping, not only those in Mainsprings' home and school, but also those in the surrounding community, learn better ways of producing what they consume and sustaining it. It's an absolutely wonderful organization, doing great work. I'm proud to be associated with the organization, not only as a donor, but also a board member and one who provides professional services.
We've known Chris Gates, Founder and Exec Dir of JBFC, for years and years. He is one of the most dedicated and caring people I've ever been privileged to know. My family and I spent a few weeks on the Mwanza JBFC campus a few summers ago, volunteering with the students, Mamas, and staff. We planted crops, constructed bunny hutches, fed livestock, painted walls and floors, cleaned, harvested, ... while benefiting from a life-changing experience and bonding with the students who were all smiles and very grateful. JBFC has changed countless lives for the better. If you ask, JBFC can tell many success stories about lives they've saved. Literally saved! Children - both girls and boys - women, men.
Since our time on JBFC's campus, we've hosted several fundraisers in our town to support this amazing organization. In fact, one year we raised enough money for JBFC to purchase and install a UV water filtration system across the entire campus, which provides enough safe, clean drinking water for the entire campus AND neighboring communities. We have also made introductions for Chris Gates to various foundations for grants so he can continue his life-changing, life-saving work.
When our boys were in high school, they were required to do 40+ hours of community service before graduation. Our time with JBFC fulfilled those hours - and then some. Both of my boys received the Jefferson Award for community service during their time in high school.
Having visited Mainsprings 2 summers in a row, I have had the privilege of seeing first hand the impact that this organization has made, and continues to make on the people who live and work there, and the people who live nearby. Being there is a feeling that is unmatched by any experience I have had in the US. Mainsprings has undergone a tremendous amount of growth in the past few years. Their growth and desire to change and make themselves a better as an organization is why I am proud to say I have been a part of this organization and the difference that it is making.
What an honor it has been to work with Chris Gates' Mainsprings. The dedication to its mission that Chris and his staff exhibit is truly inspirational. It has achieved so much in the short time since its founding, and it continues to expand today to address needs in rural Tanzania. If you want to be around truly inspiring, brilliant and down to earth people, I highly recommend getting involved. I love the organization's new cookbook A Taste of Tanzania!
I have visited the campus and home for girls a number of times, and have seen firsthand how lives are being changed every day. Girls who had been on the streets or abandoned by family now have a home and family. The school is nationally recognized and educating over 300 Tanzanian students. The farm and agricultural program is thriving and providing employment and training.
Each time I am there I am so moved by all that is happening. Mainspring/JBFC has and continues to make a difference in the lives of the Tanzanian people.
I visited JBFC for the first time this past summer and completely fell in love with it. As an education student, I was so impressed with how they teach the residential girls and the other students at the Joseph and Mary school more than just what they're required. Learning life skills and practical lessons is such a game changer for those kids and JBFC does such an amazing job not just helping them be better students but be better humans. JBFC has my heart!
I have visited JBFC's campus for the past 2 summers in a row and both experiences have been incredibly fulfilling and life changing! This summer (2017) I served as an intern for JBFC, so I had the opportunity to stay on campus for a full 8 weeks and it was no doubt the best 8 weeks of my life. JBFC's holistic approach to alleviating poverty is unique and effective and I was able to witness first hand many of the lives that JBFC is changing as we speak (including my own). The staff, girls, students, and community are so beautiful and happy and the whole campus exudes pure joy! JBFC holds half my heart!!
We have been so very impressed with JBFC. Our two high school daughters visited their campus in Tanzania this past summer and it was life-changing. JBFC's mission to end poverty in rural Africa by providing education, sustainable food, and medicin, to some of the world's most needy and vulnerable children is both noble and pragmatic. Everything we have seen out of JBFC has been top notch. The organization is responsibly run with integrity and transparency. The staff is a compassionate and friendly "family." If you ever doubt how much good ONE PERSON can do in the world, I urge you to learn more about Chris Gates, and his founding and nurturing of JBFC. We are wholly impressed, and look forward to continuing our association, as donors, volunteers, and friends of the JBFC family. Just can't say enough good things about JBFC!
Ever since I heard about JBFC, I've always been wanting to travel to the campus in Tanzania. When I was able to go, it was a dream come true and was more that I could've ever imagined. Prayer time every day was so memorable for me, hearing all of the girls' beautiful voices and worships. Everyday I think about the bright smiles of pure joy from those grateful girls and nothing could make me happier. My experience with JBFC , and the girls at JBFC impacted me greatly in such a positive way. I can't wait to go back!
I have been to JBFC four times, and will continue to go back at every opportunity time gives me! The structure of volunteering at JBFC is a combination of giving the volunteer a life changing experience while actually helping the community. Living conditions are definitely do-able, food is AMAZING, and the girls will change your life. Being apart of the JBFC family is a huge part of my identity and I pray that everyone who has a hunger for helping others and seeing the world gets the opportunity to go to JBFC!
My involvement with JBFC began near its inception. I must say, the vision Chris Gates (JBFC CEO) had at that time seemed, at least to me, almost unattainable. It was a grand vision - to provide a home for orphaned girls that would give love and care to children whose lives were often shattered, to build a school to bring education and life skills to the girls at JBFC and the wider community, to become self-sustaining in terms of farming and permaculture, to bring medical services for the health and well-being of the girls and community, to give the girls at JBFC a bright future. Fast forward to now, all that has been attained and much more. It is a privilege to be on the Board of JBFC. I continue to be amazed at the vision cast for JBFC and thankful to be a small part of making that happen. Lindsay Hurley Fick
My experience with JBFC began with my son's desire to volunteer for JBFC. As I researched the organization, met with the staff, and helped my son prepare for his summer experience, I found this organization to be all that is says that it is. The impact on my child has been remarkable. He is forever changed by his experiences and he fully intends to return to JBFC again. I have since spent time volunteering for JBFC here in Tulsa. I continue to be impressed with this organization. They are doing amazing things in Africa and throughout the world.
I'm a two-time summer volunteer with JBFC. I am unbelievably confident that the work JBFC does is worthwhile and truly impactful. I must say that I most respect JBFC for its unwavering commitment to its mission and its absolute dedication to the people it serves. Further, I am impressed by how much the organization has grown in the past 5 years or so.
JBFC is completely committed to their mission and is an extremely well run non-profit organization. I am always hesitant about international volunteer programs because the opportunity for people acting like tourists in someone else's oppression is very real. However, JBFC mitigates the risk of this happening through educating volunteers and openly discussing expectations for volunteers coming to their campus in Tanzania. Furthermore, their goal of sustainability and their conscience effort to engage the surrounding community in their work shows a cultural sensitivity and a self-awareness that many NGOs lack. The organization highly values and respects their volunteers and provides many volunteering opportunities both for groups and individuals with specialized interests and expertise. The staff members, both in the USA and in Tanzania, are welcoming, knowledgeable, and helpful.
I have recently returned from my third visit to JBFC. My experience with the girls, the students and the organization have changed my life. I never expected that this would become an annual pilgrimage for me but now I can't imagine it not. The girls are incredibly grateful, respectful and passionate. To watch them grow over the years has been a true blessing for me, and they have voices of angles when they sing - moves my heart! The students are awesome, whether working one on one, in the classroom or serving breakfast and lunch their smiles are infectious and their gratitude felt. For the organization, I haven't see anything like it! Their holistic and self sustainable approach to life on campus not only has a positive impact on the girls but the entire community. What JBFC has done and is doing I simply remarkable. I am proud to be a part of such an incredible family. Thank you for the opportunity! xo
I spent a month at JBFC during college and was blown away by the girls, the mission of the organization and JBFC's leadership team. They are an amazing group changing lives in Tanzania. I volunteered at the Joseph and Mary School and saw firsthand what Chris and his team are doing in the community. They are giving these children the gift of an education.
It was a blessing to volunteer with JBFC. The group is well-organized and strategic about its work to help the children of the Foundation. I hope to always remain connected to my friends at JBFC and am counting down the days until I go back!
I have been involved as a volunteer and ambassador for JBFC since 2011. My first experience was a six week trip to the first campus in 2011. At the time, I was relatively blind to the work being done by the organization. Over the past 5 years, I have witnessed incredible growth by the organization which has already made a positive impact on the surrounding communities. I think this has been accomplished because Chris started by understanding the culture and the resources available.
Chris Gates has been able to execute a vision that is creating a platform for real change in Tanzania. The donations received by this organization are used in a way that invests in the future sustainability to ensure they make a meaningful impact long term. As the organization continues to expand, I remain impressed by the execution of the JBFC model by the leadership and staff of the organization.
I have spent two summers on-site at JBFC. The way this organization has changed me is almost indescribable. I was fortunate enough to receive funding through Duke University to help JBFC implement a science lab curriculum to their schools. The girls at JBFC and the schoolkids had a level of enthusiasm and eagerness when it came to learning that I have never experienced before. Relative to what I'm accustomed to as an American, the kids there had very little material belongings. However, they were some of the happiest, most resilient, and grateful people I have met. I vividly remember leading a particular lesson plan involving baking soda and vinegar. This lesson, which is a staple of beginner science labs, incited such excitement within the students. I could see that they truly were able to learn so much when given the opportunity. I can say with certainty that JBFC has changed me as a person. The community and the students at JBFC will always be part of my life, and I can't wait for the chance to go back!