Friday, June 28, 2013

Update from Caregivers!

I always love to get updates from our care giving program. It's a great feeling to think that you might be making a little bit of a difference for the kids. The update I received yesterday is really encouraging...and heartbreaking at the same time. 

Our volunteers are busy working with children daily. They are not always able to do all the things that they would like, like playing with children who have a tendency to get over excited, but they are welcome in the facility and that is a great start!

We know that the regular caregivers are overworked and under appreciated. One group of twelve children has only one caregiver assigned, so an extra pair of hands is gratefully accepted. Sometimes the children are treated roughly, and our volunteers have had the opportunity to come to their defense.

The children are very excited to see our volunteers, who treat them tenderly and try to communicate with them. This has made a tremendous difference in their lives in just a short time. Even more encouraging is the fact that we are seeing a shift in the attitude of the caregivers! They are speaking to the children with more kindness and the rough handling is diminishing. 

In light of this update, we would like to expand this program and add more volunteers. I plan to visit with these ladies in the fall and try to get some photos. This is a closed facility, so we must take little, tiny baby steps. 

Each little step is a mini-miracle and we are so grateful to God for making a way for us to help the kids here. He wishes for each of them to have life, and to have it abundantly! Thank you for joining us to help make this happen.


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Request for prayer...

One of our Project TLC leaders and her family is in need of our prayers. She is expecting a baby soon, but has experienced preterm labor. In addition, the baby has some heart conditions. Thank you all!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

While we are waiting...

We seem to be waiting a lot these days! We are waiting on letters to finally arrive from our pen pals in Ukraine. I've not given up hope yet that we can make this work.

We are also waiting on an update on our care giving program at the children's asylum in Ukraine. We will have ministry partners visiting the facility this month, so we should hear more this month.

So, as Mr. Rogers used to say, let's think of something to do while we're waiting!

We are preparing for our Wichita area cupcake competition, Cupcakes for a Cause - TLC Edition, which will be September 7th.

Not everyone knows about the desperate condition of disabled orphans in Eastern Europe, but everyone LOVES cupcakes! Right?! We really enjoy the opportunity to put on a fun event for the community and raise funds for our special kids at the same time. Funds raised at this event will serve to continue and expand our care giving program over the course of the next year.

New this year, entrants will receive an event t-shirt and goody bag! Also, our guests will vote by ballot instead of cash in the bucket. This will prevent teams from "buying" a win. Tickets for the event will be sold in advance for $7.00, or $10 at the door on the day of the event. Professional and amateur registration is $25 per team and includes 2 event tickets. Your registration fee will be REFUNDED to you if you sell 10 event tickets in advance! Ad space on our t-shirts and goody bags is available. More details coming soon.

Now, here is where I need input...

We can serve full size cupcakes again this year, and each guest will be entitled to sample three cupcakes. However, if we serve mini-cupcakes, our guests will have the opportunity to taste TWELVE cupcakes per ticket purchased. Obviously, our guests will be able to better judge if they get to taste more different entries. So what do you say? As a guest, which would you prefer? As a contestant?

Tickets go on sale and registration will open mid-July. We would love for you to join us!

Friday, June 7, 2013


It is way past time for an update, isn't it?

The past four months have been very busy for the Project TLC families. I'm so proud to be ministry partners with the Laughrey and Burman families. Each of us are, or have been, expanding our families through birth or adoption. This takes time to adjust and get a feel for the new normal, but now that we are finding a groove in our house, I need share with you how God is expanding the ministry of Project TLC!

In 2011, when we visited the children's mental institution in Crimea, bringing all the school supplies, pull ups, handmade hats, and more, we knew that we wanted to do more. Much more. But we didn't know if the relationship would blossom.

Thanks to our generous supporters, we were able to fund some sorely needed window repairs. Just a few months ago, God answered our fervent prayers to help the children in a more direct way. We now have three to four local volunteers who visit and care for the children on a regular basis. This takes some of the load off of the poorly paid and overworked employees, and it gives the children some things they have likely never had l someone to talk and sing to THEM, to provide them with loving touch, healthy snacks (additional calories!), and time to savor and enjoy those snacks. If you are familiar with typical orphanage feeding methods you will understand this.

The staff report that child children are enjoying the extra attention, act differently and feel better after the volunteers visit them. We have enough funds to sustain this program until the end of the year.

TLC Pals has twelve typically developing children in an orphanage in Ukraine matched with twelve pen pals in the USA. There are many upsides to a program like this, but the greatest, in my opinion, is that the kids know there is ONE person who cares about them enough to take the time to write and send gifts. One person who has chosen to care. It's really huge to these kids who may not have any other positive influences.

So happy to get a letter from the USA!
The program is getting off to a slow start. The logistics of getting the letters from the children over to the USA has been a problem. Our first set of letters was apparently lost in the disappointing to us all. We are having a new set of letters hand carried to us by a returning mission team. God willing we will be able to distribute these letters to our American pen pals this week! Please pray for us to find better shipping solutions. More children would like to be added, but we need to work the kinks out first. This program could be self-supporting if we have enough participants.

We are expanding in other ways that I must wait to tell you about. In the meantime, we are also planning a fundraising event for the Wichita, Kansas area. We are preparing to hold our second Cupcakes for a Cause - TLC Edition on September 7th. As I make a list of all the things that need to be done, it is clear that I need to put together a team to help us on the ground here in Kansas. Pray that I would find passionate and organized people to help pull this event together. I'm not a natural party planner and the stakes are very high.

Thanks for your support ~ Stephanie