Seventeen (17) year old Elle McLaughlin came to Kenya from the USA in July 2019 to attend a one week Swamp Camp – a teen mentorship program that is organized by the International Churches of Christ in partnership with Nairobi Christian Church. She had just graduated from high school and wanted to spend her summer break in a different part of the world and experience something new before starting college. This was the first time she would be away from home for 6 months.
She had no idea where her desires would lead her and went forward in faith. She has an interest in Early Childhood Development and was eager to get experience in this area. After Swamp Camp, Elle requested to be a HOPE worldwide Kenya volunteer for 6 months. We approached Gacharage Primary School who graciously accepted the request for Elle to volunteer and work with the teachers in their pre-school classes where she served 3 times a week. Despite the language barrier, Elle soldiered on, learning a little Swahili and teaching the children a few words in English. Even though the cultural barrier was huge, smiles and a great attitude go a long way. In humble situations like this, lives are transformed forever. The teachers and children grew very fond of Elle and looked forward to the days when she would be at their school.
Elle mobilized USD 800 from her friends and family in the U.S. to provide needed supplies for the school and a few of the neediest children. On 10th January, 2020, Elle and members of the HWWK Team presented gifts to the school which included footballs, hula hoops, crayons, colored pencils, notebooks, children’s books, coloring books, pencil sharpeners, zip pouches and posters, among others. Several of the neediest children received uniforms (including shoes, socks, sweaters, shirts, and shorts). The day was a special celebration for the children and their heartwarming smiles were contagious. They will always remember their mzungu friend from the U.S. We celebrate you Elle for your heart of service at such a young age, and believe that you have already started your impact on making the world a better place. HWWK wishes Elle the very best in her studies and in life as she continues to spark warmth everywhere she goes.