We would now like to introduce you to Sam Stevens! I have personally known Sam since he was 10 or 11 and helped in our toddler room at church on Sunday mornings at Westside Church. He was good friends with one of my younger brothers and in a lot of ways felt like another younger brother to me. He is currently in Guatemala as a missionary and has used many skills there gained by both volunteering and working for Keipos.
Sam has told me that he learned how to take care of animals, weed, harvest, build things on the farm, etc. He learned not only how to take care of those things but also learned what a permaculture cycle looks like, how to design with permaculture principles, and how to watch the nature of the cycle to maintain and improve on it. He has taken that knowledge with him to Guatemala. There he has planted a garden on some land owned by the local church. They plan on using the garden for teaching as well as for raising animals. He also planted a small personal garden off his patio.
Sam has shared with me that his training and time with Keipos not only gave him valuable agricultural and farming skills, but helped him to solidify a strong work ethic and a deep respect for the land. He has learned how to work with nature to identify problems and keep them from recurring. This is exactly what Keipos is all about - training up people to use agriculture to positively impact their home, city, and the world. Sam is doing just that in Guatemala! When you support Keipos, you support students like Sam. I am sure the impact of his time at the farm and with the Dodds will be felt and visualized for years to come. If you would like to learn more about what Sam is doing in Guatemala, you can visit his team's facebook page, Guatemala Team: The Cinco. Or you can support him at gpvalley.com/give!
I would like to take a minute to introduce myself… Hey-oh! My name is Jessica Hudson and I have recently been hired as a part-time assistant for Keipos. I’ve been married to my husband, Graden, for 13 years and we have 3 boys together. I have known Jonathan and Catherine for a few years and we’ve grown to be close friends. When they told me what Keipos had planned for 2017 and that they needed an organized, people-oriented assistant, I signed up without hesitation!
As you’ve probably heard by now, we have a HUGE project gearing up in Papillion. We are going to plant two new gardens- 1) VEG (Volunteer & Education Garden) Patch at Heartland Family Service (Papillion), and 2) Zauha Family Garden off 1st Street in Papillion. We will use the produce grown to feed 60+ families in Sarpy County. And if that wasn’t enough, we’ve also decided to put together programming and classes for at-risk youth at the Justice Juvenile Center (JJC), incorporating that with the gardens. Oh, and classes at Heartland Family Service (Papillion) on nutrition, recipes, and food preparation for the families receiving the CSA boxes. We will also offer a 12 week internship program for students wishing to learn about sustainable and organic farming practices. Whew! Obviously, this takes a lot of hands, hearts and time to make this dream a reality.
And money…. This is the part of non-profit work that people don’t want to talk about, unfortunately. To tackle a project this size, it takes a village: a director, an assistant, a people care manager, a garden manager, a team of interns plus countless volunteers. They give of their time and resources for extremely modest wages. They sacrifice time with their families, often work evenings and weekends, have other part-time and full-time jobs and pour their blood, sweat, and tears into their work. They run on adrenaline sometimes, hoping that maybe, just maybe, the work they do will impact people, their community and hopefully, the world.
To know Jonathan and Catherine is to know their hearts. Using food and farming to transform lives is their passion. They throw themselves into their work wholeheartedly. They are up early, go to bed late and rarely get a break from the end of March to the beginning of November. And you might wonder, why are they adding to their plates? Because they are crazy! Haha. Ok, maybe crazy awesome. But in all seriousness, it’s because it isn’t about them. It’s about others and their mission: the families that will receive the produce, the interns they’ll commune with for 12 weeks, the youth they will minister to at the JJC, and the community they will see changed through this project.
The truth is, this project will cost tens of thousands of dollars and we aren’t even close to reaching our goal in fundraising. We need you and frankly, we need your money. Will you consider giving so that a family may get a box full of organic, fresh produce for 20 to 25 weeks? Will you give so that a young man or woman who’s had a rough start in life will learn valuable skills and build meaningful relationships at the JJC? Can you commit to supporting an intern for 12 weeks? Will you give so that we can give everything we have to this venture?
Keep checking back to the blog in the next few weeks as I continue to highlight some of the people you will be supporting through your generous giving. And if you can’t give monetarily, please consider sharing this with others, volunteering this season and praying for us. We need all the support we can get!