A few of our favorite things…and other random facts about our team.

A few of my favorite things…

Chocolate. My dogs. My red couch. Sunsets. The smell of dryer sheets. –Dana

Books. Greek Yogurt. A long conversation over a steaming cup of chai  (generally at Starbucks). That moment when the wheels of a plane first lift off the ground. Advocating for women and children. –Kimberly

Chocolate. The beach. Making a difference. Family. Bella (my dog). –Terri

Chockit cookies. Grey’s Anatomy. Autumn. Traveling. Fun family gatherings. –Christina

Reading. Traveling. Playing with Millie and Lucy (my dogs). Sports (particularly basketball, volleyball, and AU football). Swimming. –Katie

What story does your family always tell about you?

The one where days after I graduated from high school I flew (for the first time) to Alaska to work in a fish cannery in order to pay for college.  Of course, that happened to be the summer the fishermen decided to go on strike on our tiny Island, Uganik Bay, and only those who woke up really early were given work. I spent the summer waking up far too early to do whatever was available that day…painting the landing dock (aka airport), driving a pallet jack, etc. –Dana

When I was around 2-3 years old, my mom walked into the kitchen and found me on top of the refrigerator.  Initially, she thought that my dad had put me there as a practical joke (which she didn’t think was very funny), but quickly realized that I stood on the back of a chair, crawled into the freezer, and then pulled myself up to the top.  This, after my dad had informed me a few days before that he’d put my doll on top of the refrigerator if I didn’t behave.  I decided to do a test rescue mission.  Let’s just say that “The Strong-Willed Child” by James Dobson became one of my parents’ most referenced books. –Kimberly

About the time I ran away from summer camp with a chicken…. –Terri [note: We ALL want to hear more details on this…]

How I hated eating and found many ways to dispose of my food secretly.  You see, I thought I was smart about it, but I got caught half the time trying to shove food in my brother’s plate or simply wasting half of my meal under the table.  It took me two hours to finish my meals, and I have many childhood pictures left alone at the dining room table.  The thought shocks me now because I sure love food and my veggies!! –Christina

One time, I spent the night away with a friend.  I was in the first or second grade.  When she was busy, I snuck downstairs to use the phone to call my mom and ask “if she could bring my blanket?”  She didn’t answer, so I left it on an answering machine in a very hushed, secret voice. For some odd reason, my parents LOVE to tell this story. –Katie

If you could choose anyone, whom would you pick as your mentor?

Mother Teresa. –Dana

Christine Caine.  I love her passion for mobilizing the church to do what we are called to do, and am rarely left unchallenged by what she has to say.  She also loves Starbucks, perhaps even more than I do, so really, who could ask for more. –Kimberly

Jesus first…then Margaret Thatcher. –Terri

Anne Ledet (a member of my Church).  I have known her for 5 years and absolutely adore her. –Christina

Good question, but I feel like I have a pretty good one in my mom. –Katie

If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?

Sing and play an instrument. –Dana

To speak French and Italian. –Kimberly

Scuba diving. –Terri

Speak three other languages, and I would love to learn how to play the guitar. –Christina [note: We thought you should know, Christina speaks Chichewa and English, and has a good understanding of French, as well as ancient and classic Latin.]

Heart surgery. –Katie

If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would you choose?

Oprah. –Dana

It is a toss up between Eleanor Roosevelt and Harriet Beecher Stowe – both women used what was in their hand to catalyze change in their generation.  I love that. –Kimberly

Corrie Ten Boom. –Terri

Oprah Winfrey and/or Nelson Mandela. –Christina

Mother Theresa or Florence Nightingale. –Katie

When you have an hour of free time, how do you pass the time?

I read. –Dana & Terri

I love to find a comfy chair (either at home or a coffee shop), and dig in to a good book.  I almost never leave home without a book, pen and highlighter—just in case the opportunity presents itself. –Kimberly

Take a good ol nap! –Christina

Reading or sleeping. –Katie

What was the last book you read?

Pay it Forward by Catherine Ryan Hyde & Have a New Teen by Friday by Dr. Kevin Leman. –Dana

The Harbinger by Jonathon Cahn. –Terri

I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced by Nujood Ali. –Kimberly

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba.  It is a very good book – it took me back to childhood, and really provides a good understanding of typical life in Malawi for a lot of kids. –Christina

ZOO by James Patterson. –Katie

What is one of your favorite scripture verses?      

You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world.  God is not a secret to be kept.  We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill.  If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you?  I’m putting you on a light stand.  Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine!  Keep open house; be generous with your lives.  By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.  (Matthew 5:14-16) –Dana

The one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.  (1 John 2:6) –Kimberly

Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary. (Isaiah 40:31) –Terri

It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.  They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.  (Lamentations 3:22-23) –Christina

And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.  (Romans 5:3-5)  –Katie

What’s the most played song on your iPod?

O Praise Him (All This For A King) by David Crowder. –Dana

It is a tie – Hands and Feet by Audio Adrenaline and Indescribable by Chris Tomlin. –Kimberly

Above All by Michael W. Smith. –Terri

I have two – Lengoma by Zahara and Beautiful by Phil Wickham. –Christina

10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord) by Matt Redman. –Katie

The 100X Team

P.S. We’d love to hear your response to these questions…leave a comment here or join the conversation on Facebook or Twitter!

The Definition of Nursing

What is nursing?  Nursing is the protection, promotion, and optimization of health and abilities, prevention of illness and injury, alleviation of suffering through the diagnosis and treatment of human response, and advocacy in the care of individuals, families, communities, and populations.

To be a nurse, or to study to become a nurse means that an individual must encompass a desire to help others in a holistic way.  Being a nurse means caring for someone physically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally, and medicinally:  in other words, to care for the mind, body and soul.

In my most recent trip to Malawi, I was privileged to witness these definitions of nursing first hand.

Let me back up a little.  As most of you may know, after being an RN in the ICU for over three years,  I have recently transitioned into a full-time job at 100X Development where I will coordinate various nursing projects to help improve the healthcare system in Malawi.  One of the first ways that 100X moved forward in improving healthcare delivery was by developing a consortium of universities, both stateside and in Malawi.  Auburn University (my alma mater) and Kamuzu College of Nursing (KCN) in Malawi, two leaders in the development of improving the nursing standards both in the classroom and at the bedside, were among the first to join.

One of the most obvious ways to get this started was to send a group of US nursing students to Malawi to work alongside Malawian students–we knew this would stretch, mold and challenge students in a way that far outreaches ANY lesson that can be taught in a classroom.  By traveling to a developing nation where needs are overwhelming and resources are scarce, students would be pushed to the brink of communicating beyond just words, to think beyond the medicine and the machines, and treat over 100 people in a matter of a few hours.

Auburn University School of Nursing (AUSON), under the guidance of Dr. Constance Smith-Hendricks, was ready to meet this challenge head-on, and Kamuzu College of Nursing, under the leadership of Madam Address Malata, welcomed the idea of hosting a group of students that would also provide a new learning experience for her students.

So on September 7, Dr. Hendricks, Dana Blanchard, eight nursing students and I departed for what would be one of the greatest learning experiences any student could ever imagine.  Over the next 10 days, these students witnessed more need and poverty than one could think of.  They treated anywhere from 550 to 700 (hard to keep track of the exact number due to the large crowds) women, children and babies.  Their skills, knowledge and perseverance was challenged as the crowds lined up to wait for hours to see an American nurse, and yet they responded with professionalism and grace.

The AUSON students also experienced the challenges of being a college student in a developing nation by being partnered with a nursing student from KCN. The relationships formed between these student pairs was just another positive outcome in one of the most successful and educational trips that 100X has ever taken part in.  As the days of the trip continued to pass by, the students were able to experience clinical settings ranging from home-based care out in straw-roofed huts, to rural clinics in the middle of villages, a health care center, and even some time in a labor and delivery ward.

The eight student nurses who travelled to Malawi with me were truly impressive young ladies.  While their eyes were opened to an entire new setting of healthcare and a totally new definition of “need”, it was their souls that were touched by the people of Malawi.  They will without a doubt be some of the best-prepared nursing graduates, but even more so, they will be part of forever changing the health care system in a country that so desperately needs a positive change.

Nursing care comes in many forms.  Sometimes it is the ability to make someone feel physically comfortable by various means.  Other times it is the ability to improve the body’s ability to achieve or maintain health.  But often it is an uncanny yet well honed knack to see beyond the obvious and address, in some way, the deeper needs of the human soul. 

~Donna Wilk Cardillo, A Daybook for Beginning Nurses

Katie Sanderson, Program Director for Nursing Education


Buy a shirt = Feed & Educate Orphans in Malawi

Hot off the press!  We’ve received such great feedback on our new t-shirts, and we’re so excited about what we’ll be able to do with the proceeds.  All of the funds generated will go to our nutrition and education programs in Malawi.  Questions?  Email Info@100XDevelopment.com.

Buy a shirt = Feed & Educate Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Malawi.

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Winnie’s Footprint

It is with a heavy heart that I write to you today.  On Friday morning, I received word from our team at Mtendere that one of our children, Winnie Kate, passed away from complications of HIV.  She was three months old.  This is not the update that I hoped to share.

From the time Winnie came in to our lives, just one week after her birth, we prayed that she would defeat the odds and be our miracle baby.  Although she was only with us for three months, the footprint that Winnie has left on our hearts is deep.  Today, I rest in the knowledge that He has a plan far beyond what I can imagine.

As with every story, Winnie’s began far before she drew her first breath.  She was born to an alcoholic mother that did nothing to prevent the transmission of HIV during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.  At first glance, it is very easy to invoke criticism; however, as we look closer, the picture that so quickly forms in our minds begins to blur.

Winnie’s mother is 16 years old.  She is the daughter of a prostitute.  She is the third “wife” of a man twice her age.  She is HIV positive.  She is an alcoholic.  She is a reflection of what 100X is fighting to prevent – a young woman who stares into her future and sees only darkness.  A child with no hope.

I do not believe it was a coincidence that Katie was volunteering at Lumbadzi Clinic on the day Winnie was brought in.  It was quickly apparent during her wellness checkup that Winnie’s family was not equipped to care for her.  Her mother, already in despair, had left her to return to the bar, her father was detached, and the aunt caring for her considered her a burden.  When Katie mentioned Mtendere Village, there was no hesitation to allow us to care for her.  After confirmation from the social welfare office, Winnie legally joined the Mtendere family.

Winnie was meant to know great love – and she received it at Mtendere Village.  Her 147 new brothers and sisters celebrated her arrival, and our team quickly made room to welcome Winnie and create a plan to ensure she receive the best care available.

We were blessed by the medical team who took care of Winnie – Dr. Hans, the German pediatrician who oversaw her care, the team from Baylor that ensured she received her ARV medication and proper nutrition, and Dr. Bruce Smith who did more than I can possibly express here, all deserve recognition. Amayi Eunice became Winnie’s primary caregiver, and was so dedicated to her that she slept on the floor by her bedside each time she was admitted to the hospital.  For three months, we had the great privilege of investing in Winnie’s life and we cherish every moment.

Looking at the circumstances surrounding Winnie’s birth, our team is reminded that there is so much that needs to be accomplished and we are pressing forward.

To honor Winnie, we have established the Winnie’s Footprint fund to provide pregnant and nursing women with proper nutrition and education on healthy pregnancy practices, as well as the resources necessary to prevent them from transmitting HIV/AIDS to their children during pregnancy and breastfeeding.  This will ensure that children like Winnie are given a fighting chance.

Despite the heartache that the 100X team and I feel in this moment, we are encouraged by the knowledge that He that has begun a good work will complete it.  Although short, Winnie’s life was not without purpose—she has stirred our hearts and strengthened our resolve.

With great expectation,

Lindy

If you would like to donate to Winnie’s Footprint, please visit our giving page and select “Winnie’s Footprint” from the designation menu.  Thank you for your kind support in honor of Winnie!

Blanchards Meet with President Joyce Banda of Malawi

With the critical needs of vulnerable children and families, the ongoing impacts of poverty and disease alongside the ever present challenges of human conflicts, the development sector needs to expand leveraged approaches.  Such approaches must maximize the value for money and multiply resources through collaboration, innovation and effective execution.  

– Lindy Blanchard

In February 2005, at the opening of Mtendere Village, 100X Development’s orphan care program in Malawi, John and Lindy Blanchard met then Minister for Gender and Community Services, Joyce Banda, for the first time. The past seven years have shown that the vision President Banda shared on that day – for the well-being and empowerment of women and children – was more than simple words. She has proven that she is dedicated to them, and is willing to leverage every resource available to her to help improve their circumstances. We are kindred spirits on this.

We were honored that President Banda extended an invitation for John and Lindy to meet with her last week while in New York for the UN General Assembly. During the meeting, they were able to share about the programs that 100X has established in Malawi and about our vision to expand programming to empower women and children for a more hopeful future. We look forward to the opportunity to work with President Banda to help the women and children of Malawi, and are excited to move forward and expand our outreach in the Warm Heart of Africa!

For additional press on this meeting, please visit the following websites: Nyasa Times, Malawi Democrat and MW Nation.

Media Contact: Kimberly Casey, Media@100XDevelopment.com or (202) 509-6005

LEVERAGE: Beauty of Life

As I sit here back at home, all I can think about are my adventures back in Malawi. How truly blessed I am to not only have gone once, but twice. Traveling to Malawi has allowed me to discover the beauty of life. It reminds me that I am not complete without these beautiful people who live half way across the globe. There is nothing like sitting on the porch of the guesthouse, overlooking Mtendere Village, and just spending time with all the wonderful kids. Even the amazing photos I have of the kids do not do them justice. Their beauty is something I have experienced first hand and it is these moments that will stay with me through the rest of my life.

While at Mtendere I had the opportunity to do some tutoring, help out in the preschool, and help out anywhere else it was needed. There were always opportunities to help out. Working in the preschool room was such a joy! I am amazed by how much the preschoolers know! It brought me great joy to watch Lovemore, the preschool teacher, share in his students’ successes. As a first grade teacher, having the opportunity to work with these children one on one is amazing. I had the chance to tutor a lot of the students in standard one, which is comparable to first grade. I have never seen such passion and excitement to learn. When we provided manipulatives and hands on learning materials the students’ eyes lit up. I love seeing such excitement to learn. The students are so resourceful and I know they will continue to work hard on their studies.


Traveling to Malawi has changed me forever. It has shown me to truly care for issues that are bigger than myself. In life, I think everyone has a special issue close to their heart, and I have found mine; those kids who have been left alone in this world. Mtendere Village is a place for some of these children and if you spend even a day there you can see how much love can do for a child. As my professor, Dr. Tony Kline said, “It’s amazing what a year of love can do.” This quote has stuck with me since this trip and I realize how truly profound love can be.  During my trip I witnessed this first hand.  A beautiful, 10 day old girl, named Winnie was given a chance at life in Mtendere Village. She was brought home, and immediately surrounded by family. It was a miracle, a chance for a child to grow up in a world where she is cared for. While there, I also got the chance to meet and spend time with the girl I sponsor, Eneles. At the beginning she was very shy and timid, but as time went on she opened up to us. I cannot even begin to describe her true beauty and joy. She has this smile and laugh that are just contagious. I am so proud of her and can’t wait to watch her grow as a person.

The world is a beautiful place, full of works of art. Throughout my entire trip, I experienced these first hand. Mtendere Village is a piece of this. There is nothing like walking the kids to school on the dusty African paths. Watching kids study and work so hard. Teaching the kids new things. Staring off at the mountains in horizon. Swinging at night and gazing at the stars. Laughing and being a kid. Hugging kids every single day.  Singing and praising God, who has given us this wonderful life. Seeing the smiling faces of kids who have gotten a second chance at life. This is my life, my chance at getting to know the world and some of the magnificent people that fill it. I can’t wait to go back again.

Maura Sawicki graduated from Ball State University in 2011 and is in her second year teaching 1st grade.

LEVERAGE: The Warm Heart of Africa

The Warm Heart of Africa

by Blair Brendle 

The “Warm Heart of Africa” is this country’s nickname

The beauty in the faces has given it its fame

A place of peace, jokes, and constant smiles

A place of strength, endurance, and perseverance for the miles

But most importantly to me, this country holds a special place

A village full of children that could have easily been erased

Because though this country is beautiful, it is struggling all the same

Not enough food, too much disease, poor education, a cyclic game

But this one special village is trying to make a break

To the cycle of helplessness, loss, hunger, disease, and mistake

This village has a dream to empower and equip

The next generation to get out from under injustice’s grip

This dream is big and lofty, of course this much is true

But one day at a time, they’re doing all that they can do

Within this village resides almost 200 of its nation’s best

Whose pasts are full of darkness, but whose futures can be blessed

This village’s name means peace; in Chichewa it’s called Mtendere

But it’s more than just tranquility or resting for the weary

It’s a place where within the peace, true restoration occurs

Where what was, is replaced with what can be; where true redemption stirs

Where acceptance, adoption, and forgiveness are part of each day

Where The Truth and The Life are ever exposing The Way

It’s a tiny little village in stark contrast to a great big earth

But to all who step foot on it, it grants a chance for new birth

It’s a slice of kingdom on this side of glory

And I’m so thankful that for three weeks I got to be a part of its story

Blair spent three weeks at our orphan care program in Malawi this summer.  She drafted this poem shortly after her return.  We are always very excited to see people leveraging their talents for good!  

IMPACT: From Dasa

We received the following letter from Dasa, and wanted to shared how your support has impacted this young girl’s life.  It is YOUR support allows us to reach children with stories similar to Dasa, so we believe this letter is for you as well.  Thank you for your partnership!

Dear 100X Development Team,

My name is Feodosia Rosca but everyone calls me Dasa Cameron.  When I was born, my father rejected me for not being a boy, and at two years of age, my mom abandoned me too.  I stayed in my uncle’s house for a few years, where his wife started each day by telling me that I was a mistake.  She would tell me that I was going to grow up and became “nothing” like my mom.

After a few years, my uncle sent me to the largest orphanage in Moldova, a place with 850 children—my “home” for the next seven years.  I hated the world.  I hated myself.  All I knew at that moment was that I wasn’t wanted, accepted or loved.

Being an orphan is not easy no matter where you are in the world, we all feel the same, we all have the same questions inside our hearts, we all share the same fears, and we all shared tears for years and years.  We have no hope.  When kids think of themselves as nothing, they never dare to dream.

In my country, when you turn 16 you have to leave the orphanage and manage in life on your own. Most of the kids never make it.  Life is so rough on us that most give up even before they start.  When you go into the world, everyone sees you as a thief, liar…you are the worst there can possibly be.

When my time came to leave the orphanage, I thought my life would end.  I had nowhere to go, but I am thankful to Jesus that he had a plan.  Through 100X’s partnership with Stella’s House, I was given a place to live.  I learned that Jesus is real, that he loves me like no one else, and that has a great plan for my life.  Most of all, I learned that I was not a mistake.  God doesn’t make mistakes.

I want to say thank you to 100X for giving me the opportunity and honor to study in America.  It means a lot that you believe in me—that you don’t look at me as an orphan.

I never dreamt when I was an orphan, but since I have Jesus in my heart, He has allowed me to dream…and dream big.  He took me from an orphanage school desk to a university in America.

100X, you are amazing.  You give kids like me hope; you take us in your arms and don’t let us go until you are sure we can fly on our own.  I want to say thank you for being His example on earth.

–Dasa Cameron

Will you give a gift today that will help us reach more children like Dasa?


LEVERAGE: Lindy’s Birthday Wish

Dear friends,

In 2004, John and I started on a journey. At that time, I can honestly tell you that I did not have any idea that it would lead us to where we are today. God has been faithful and our vision continues to expand! 100X Development is based on the principle of Mark 4:8, “Other seeds fell into the good soil, and as they grew up and increased, they yielded a crop and produced thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.” A hundredfold. We’re all about leverage—maximizing our gifts and resources to benefit the children and families that we serve.

As I prepare to celebrate my birthday on July 4, these children and families are ever present in my mind. I am reminded of the many children that do not live to see their 5th birthday, and the heartbreak and challenges of families that endure the loss of a child or a mother. I am reminded that there are so many more that we must help.

In the spirit of our founding principle, I want to “leverage” my birthday. Instead of gifts, I am asking my friends, family and supporters of 100X to donate during the month of July towards the 100X project of their choice. Will you join me? Whether you are able to give $10, $100 or $1,000, your gift will change lives. Together, we can make sure that others are able to celebrate many more healthy and happy birthdays!

Many blessings,

Lindy

P.S. If you’re interested in giving up your birthday, you can use our Razoo page to get started. If you have questions, just email Leverage@100XDevelopment.com.

Give a gift

A Spark of Hope

There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.  Nelson Mandela

One of my most vivid memories is standing on a pier in Elmina, Ghana and looking into the eyes of a child slave.  I imagine the experience is similar to meeting a child that is entrenched in any abusive situation and does not believe there is any hope for the future.  Everything within me was urging me to take him and flee, but as I looked around it was evident that there were dozens more just like him.  At that moment, I felt as hopeless as he appeared.

I have also had the privilege of meeting survivors of both sex and labor trafficking, and while that does not remove the ache in my heart for the young boy in Ghana, it does renew my hope.  Each person that I have met has been in various stages of recovery—some so recently freed that they still bore physical marks of their abuse—but each has had, at minimum, a spark of hope in their eyes.  Proof that restoration is attainable.

At 100X, we are working hard to make sure that vulnerable children never experience the abuse of human trafficking.  We focus primarily on prevention because we’re aware of the harsh reality that 99% of victims are never rescued.

In the United States, it is estimated that a runaway (or homeless) youth is approached by a trafficker within 48 hours of living on the street.  One in three will be exploited for commercial sex.  The average age of entry into commercial sex?  13.

We also know that children that have been in the foster care system are especially vulnerable—both circumstantially and emotionally.  This is one of the reasons that we are so pleased to have Adullam House as one of our partner organizations.  Adullam House is a 100X partner whose mission is to care for children whose mothers are in prison.  Children at Adullam House are loved and protected—and they are taught that their life has purpose.  Very quickly, the vulnerability created by their past begins to lose ground, and they become less susceptible to recruitment by traffickers.

The vulnerability of youth is compounded in developing countries—especially for young orphans.  The children that we work with in Malawi, Peru, Mexico, India and Uganda face the same challenges as children in the US, but there are even less safeguards and fewer laws to protect them.  In many cases, law enforcement is corrupt and often contributes to the problem.  Exploitation begins at a younger age, and children are often forced across borders—away from all that is familiar.  The same is true in Moldova.

Our work in these countries aims to protect those that traffickers will target most.  In some cases, children have already been exploited before they enter our care.  This is where restoration takes place.  We believe that every child, regardless of past circumstances, has been created for a purpose and we are committed to providing the resources and education they need for a hopeful future.  Last year alone, we were able to protect more than 400 children.

Every child has the right to grow up without fear of exploitation and abuse.  Will you help us reach one more?

How YOU can help LEVERAGE…

Speak UpPost a message on Facebook or Twitter (mention @100XDevelopment or #100X and we’ll respond), send an email, or talk to your friends and co-workers. The more people who know about and support what we are doing directly impacts how much we are able to accomplish!

Givewe want to reach as many young girls as possible, and we cannot do it alone. You can make a donation, give up your birthday, run a marathon—be creative!  We’ve designed a Razoo page to help you get started.

Praypray for the children, for those working to help them, and for exposure of those who are exploiting them.

If you have questions, or want to run an idea by us, email our team at Leverage@100XDevelopment.com.

Kimberly CaseySpecial Assistant and Program Manager