The MENTOR Network Charitable Foundation is pleased to announce its Community Champions for the second quarter of FY16. These employees were nominated by their colleagues and are being recognized for their work with local non-profit organizations, where they donate their time and energy to improve quality of life for their neighbors. The Champions’ chosen nonprofits will receive a $500 grant from The MENTOR Network Charitable Foundation.
Hanna van der Walt
Hanna van der Walt volunteers through Foundation For His Ministry (FFHM), an interdenominational organization providing homes and outreach services for children and families in need. Twice a year, Hanna travels to “Cristo Por Su Mundo,” one of FFHM’s missions located in Vicente Guerrero, Baja California North, Mexico. The mission provides many valuable services to the community, including a soup kitchen, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center, free clinic, and a daycare center for children with disabilities. The reach of the mission is wide, providing services to thousands of individuals in Vicente Guerrero, many of them migrant workers.
Throughout the year, Hanna collects necessity items such as clothing, non-perishable food, diapers, medical supplies and toys that are later distributed to children and adults at the mission in Vicente Guerrero. During her trips to Mexico, Hanna and a team of volunteers dispense the donated items and help out wherever they’re needed -preparing meals at the soup kitchen, supporting the staff at the clinic, playing games with children or even assisting with the construction of buildings.
“Children are very dear to me,” said Hanna. “I’ve always been driven to helping young people grow and be the best they can be. Volunteering at the orphanage was one of the main reasons I became involved with the mission.”
This past July, Sara traveled to Iglesia Santiago Parish in Boaco, Nicaragua, to complete a mission trip through her local church, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish. In preparation for the trip, Sara and 20 other volunteers collected clothing, toys, medical supplies and personal items to share with the community in Boaco, a rural and mountainous region of Nicaragua.
Iglesia Santiago serves nearly 10,000 parishioners in Boaco, and Sara’s group was there to support them. Sara spent eight days on the mission providing outreach, sharing the gifts that were brought as well as participating in construction work on an apartment building that will house nuns at Iglesia Santiago.
“I remember visiting a nursing home to deliver supplies, and nobody spoke English,” she recalls. “I sat with an elderly gentleman who talked excitedly at me for the longest time. I didn’t understand a word he said, but he was so excited to have the companionship. It was wonderful. We didn’t speak the language with community members we met, but between the smiles and the hugs, we didn’t need to. We shared a connection anyway.”
MeMe Perdue is a strong believer in all aspects of healthy living – spiritual, mental, physical and social. She is constantly promoting healthy lifestyles through her church, her job, and her volunteer work through Action for Healthy Kids (AHK), the nation’s leading nonprofit and largest volunteer network fighting childhood obesity and undernourishment. AHK strives to make every child healthy, active, and ready to learn by helping schools become healthier environments.
AHK mobilizes school professionals, families and communities to take action that leads to healthy eating, physical activity and healthier schools. They provide nutrition classes for students and parents, create community projects such as constructing walking trails near school property, raise funds for indoor playground equipment in areas that experience poor weather, and provide healthy breakfast options to be available at schools, in addition to various other projects.
“I’ve always been focused on physical activity and nutrition, and I’m constantly encouraging others to live that lifestyle,” explained MeMe. “Our physical well-being is critical to our social, emotional and spiritual satisfaction. It affects so much of our lives, especially how we heal.”
About The MENTOR Network Charitable Foundation
The MENTOR Network Charitable Foundation is committed to transforming the delivery of human services through the generation of new ideas and best practices. We seek to advance an agenda based on quality, accountability and respect for the individual. The focus of our giving is on organizations that take a fresh look—through research, innovative thinking, direct care and programming—at how people with disabilities and youth and families facing emotional, behavioral and other challenges are cared for in our society. The Foundation also works to expand opportunity for the people we serve through employment and educational support.