August 11, 2013
It was maybe a month ago when I learned our Program Director in charge of Summer Day Camp at the Jackie Robinson Family YMCA would be traveling to Africa for three weeks. While July 24 - August 19 is the peak of our summer camp season, I could not begin to tell you how thrilled I was to hear more details about this fascinating project.
Unrelated to the YMCA, Justin Reeves and his wife Lauren personally raised over $10,000 to join members of their church and Orphans of Uganda. Their team would be serving 350 orphans in Lira, Uganda by teaching sustainable art that could one day create their own revenue.
After talking to Justin, I knew it would not be long until he found a way to work the YMCA into this fantastic voyage. Ideas ranged from replicating Jackie Robinson Family YMCA Day Camp Programs for the orphan children to creating a "Cyber Center" that could connect with our Y kids in San Diego. That was my idea. Justin quickly reminded me there wasn't any electricity at their final destination. No running water either.
Prior to departure, a member of my San Diego Rotary Club, Walter Lam, who is the President of the Alliance for African Assistance, generously took time to meet with Justin and brief him about his native Uganda. And, yes, Justin managed to meet the Executive Director of the Kampala YMCA who also serves as the Country Director for all of Uganda. Justin added, "the Kampala YMCA is huge, serving 4,000 members and running tons of amazing programs that serve the community. It is also the largest adult education center in the country."
Today, I received pictures.
Children in Barlonyo (A town that experienced one of the wars worst massacres) learned how to play Red Light/ Green Light. Justin summarized, "My time in Uganda has been amazing, overwhelming to say the least. It has truly changed my life."
The Jackie Robinson Family YMCA is dedicated to a mission of improving the quality of human life and helping all people realize their fullest potential as children of God through the development of the spirit, mind, and body. I thank God for Justin, Lauren, and all that were a part of this mission to serve orphans in Uganda and pray for their safe return.
Jackie Robinson said, "A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives." I've seen Justin do just that for the kids and families at our YMCA. Now, add Uganda to his season of service!
"Well done good and faithful servant!"