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Jun 30, 2020

Keeping the drawbridge down

Children line up to wash their hands
Children line up to wash their hands

The Children and Youth Empowerment Centre, like the rest of the world, is facing both a health and an economic crisis. The shuttering of the Kenyan economy dried up their local sources of support and resulted in most of their ‘graduates’ losing their jobs. Rather than turn inward and ‘pull up the drawbridge,’ the CYEC has responded by reaching out to the community and taking in more children in need. They have received more than 30 additional young people, and they continue to provide medical care to the local community.

As noted by Paul Maina, founder of the CYEC, “Refusing to accept the children would signal withdrawal from the community’s struggle; it would be a succumbing to fear, understandable though this may be. Accepting the children at such a time signals commitment to the future of the community. It is an act of faith in times to come. As with any act of faith, there is not much for reassurance about the future. It is the commitment itself, and the will to succeed that comes from such commitment, that is the reassurance.”

Please join in this commitment to our shared future by supporting the work of the CYEC as you are able.

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Mar 31, 2020

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

These are unsettled and unsettling times for all of us. We're reminded of how we're connected as we share fears, but also as we share caring and compassion around the globe. 

The Children and Youth Empowerment Centre, along with the rest of Kenya and the world, has had to make adjustments to ensure the safety of the young people in our care. We've ensured we can maintain distances, and we're planting more vegetables and tubers in anticipation of future food shortages. We're also reaching out to highly vulnerable families in our neighborhood to provide what support we can. While shutting down the economy helps slow the spread of the virus, it's devastating for families that literally live hand to mouth.

Your support allows us to keep our children safe with nutritious food and medical care, and to provide a bit of a safety net for our youth who have lost their jobs. Together we can protect the people and institutions we love.

Jan 5, 2020

The 12 Days of Christmas

In honor of your support of the Children & Youth Empowerment Centre in Kenya, we’ve composed a special version of The 12 Days of Christmas.  We think even those of you who don’t celebrate Christmas will enjoy! 

“On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me a new polytechnic to equip and empower.”

In 2019, the CYEC opened a polytechnic to provide 21st century skills for youth from the Centre and similar programs. Current programs include catering, tailoring, computing, masonry and life-skills and leadership, with an agriculture program in development. 

"On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me two prefects leading and a new polytechnic to equip and empower.”

Over the past three summers, Kansas State students in the Staley School of Leadership Studies program guided the prefects through workshops to enable them to be effective leaders. Prefects mentor younger children and play a key leadership role in the functioning of the Centre. KSU students also led the first set of classes in leadership at the new polytechnic.

“On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me three acres of vegetables, two prefects leading and a new polytechnic to equip and empower.”

Penn State ag students worked with youth in 2016 and 2018 to improve soil health in the shamba (garden) through mulching, composting and crop rotation.  Youth help grow veggies for the Centre year-round, earning income for themselves and providing healthy food for the children.

“On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me four outreach programs, three acres of veggies, two prefects leading and a new polytechnic to equip and empower.”

The CYEC is a resource for local low-income families, providing fun days focused on literacy for young children. By supporting local education, they can help more children succeed, beyond those in the Centre, and help ensure fewer children end up on the streets.

“On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me five collaborators exploring food security, four outreach programs, three acres of veggies, two prefects leading and a new polytechnic to equip and empower.”

In 2019, students from Penn State and Kansas State collaborated with local community health workers to carry out an assessment of food security in Nyeri county. The study sought to identify the prevalence and depth of food insecurity and to identify factors that lead to food insecurity, potentially contributing to the population of vulnerable children. Future outreach will target those at risk.

"On the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me six students a-studying, five collaborators exploring food security, four outreach programs, three acres of veggies, two prefects leading and a new polytechnic to equip and empower.”

Public education in Kenya is free through 8th grade, but secondary schools charge tuition. Local and international ZFI sponsors provide scholarships for CYEC youth as they further their education. Our kids regularly rank at the top of their class!

“On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me seven children breakfasting, six students a-studying, five collaborators exploring food security, four outreach programs, three acres of veggies, two prefects leading and a new polytechnic to equip and empower.”

ZFI donors ensure CYEC children have a healthy breakfast before school at least 3 days a week.  We also provide medical and educational supplies and clothing.

“On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me 8 youth a-milking, 7 children breakfasting, 6 students a-studying, 5 collaborators exploring food security, 4 outreach programs, 3 acres of veggies, 2 prefects leading and a new polytechnic to equip and empower.”

Over several years, Penn State students worked on improving the diet of the cows, planting napier grass, making silage and developing a strategy to ensure forage availability even in years of drought. The Centre’s two dairy cows provide milk for the children with surplus to sell to neighbors, supporting both nutrition and income!

“On the 9th day of Christmas my true love gave to me 9 innovations in waste-management, 8 youth a-milking, 7 children breakfasting, 6 students a-studying, 5 collaborators exploring food security, 4 outreach programs, 3 acres of veggies, 2 prefects leading and a new polytechnic to equip and empower.”

Youth at the CYEC are community leaders in waste management. They asked Penn State students to work with them to develop and build a prototype landfill, ensuring consideration of air and water quality in both the design and management of the site. Their experience helped them put in a bid for a larger project.

“On the 10th day of Christmas my true love gave to me 10 volunteers mentoring, 9 innovations in waste-management, 8 youth a-milking, 7 children breakfasting, 6 students a-studying, 5 collaborators exploring food security, 4 outreach programs, 3 acres of veggies, 2 prefects leading and a new polytechnic to equip and empower.”

Friends of the CYEC in Kenya have formed the Zawadi Society, a group of local volunteers who mentor and tutor children at the Centre. It’s so important for the kids to have a special someone who cares about them!

“On the 11th day of Christmas my true love gave to me 11 children playing, 10 volunteers mentoring, 9 innovations in waste-management, 8 youth a-milking, 7 children breakfasting, 6 students a-studying, 5 collaborators exploring food security, 4 outreach programs, 3 acres of veggies, 2 prefects leading and a new polytechnic to equip and empower.”

After school activities include sports, reading, arts, music, and an environmental club to help CYEC children and youth develop their self-awareness and have fun!

“On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me 12 youth succeeding, 11 children playing, 10 volunteers mentoring, 9 innovations in waste-management, 8 youth a-milking, 7 children breakfasting, 6 students a-studying, 5 collaborators exploring food security, 4 outreach programs, 3 acres of veggies, 2 prefects leading and a new polytechnic to equip and empower.”

The CYEC strives to develop the potential of these children & youth so they can lead happy, productive lives. Your support helps us meet this goal! Thanks for your support in 2019. Help us start the New Year right with support today!

 
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