Dear MADE IN THE STREETS Family and Friends,
Like many of you, we are prayerfully navigating the current COVID-19 global pandemic and learning to operate in a “new normal." We hope and pray that this finds each of you safe and healthy. Last week we were all faced with changes and disruptions that led to the cancellation and postponement of many trips and events scheduled for the next few months. The MITS team in the US and in Kenya has been monitoring the virus outbreak and working thoughtfully to address current and future challenges – and determine the best paths forward.
Here’s an update on the current situation in Kenya:
Regarding other issues:
There are still many unknowns at this time. Dealing with change and navigating these unknowns is tough, but we feel optimistic and ready to keep the students and staff at MITS healthy and well - which is our number one priority. We also feel concerned and uneasy about this pandemic and how it may negatively impact this year’s fundraising and our ability to provide all the necessary resources for MITS’s mission of loving and serving street kids in Kenya. We covet your prayers and appreciate your continued support. We have a great global family of MITS partners and a great hope in the One who guides our path. As we say often at MITS, “God is Good….All the time.” We will be providing additional updates as they become available and reaching out soon to ask for your assistance. Stay tuned for additional emails and follow MITS social media pages for more news and information.
Thank you for your continued prayers and support for MADE IN THE STREETS. And thank you for showing and sharing the love of God to street kids!
With much love and thanks,
At MADE IN THE STREETS, we believe student sponsorship is incredibly rewarding for both you and the students, but don't just take our word for it! See what one of our sponsors, Alex Lamb, has to say about her experience:
Why did you decide to sponsor a student at MITS?
I decided to sponsor a student after visiting MITS. I was in graduate school for Marriage and Family Therapy at Lipscomb University, and my professor arranged for me and a classmate to use a mission trip to MITS as credit for a course. We were able to go to MITS and conduct group counseling with the new students that had recently arrived to MITS and who were adjusting as new students. It was in the group counseling sessions where I connected with many, but specifically with one of the students. I found out she did not have a sponsor yet, and I knew in that very moment I had to sponsor her.
Why would you recommend sponsorship to someone else?
Sponsoring a student at MITS has been one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life. It is not only investing financially but emotionally and relationally. Every encounter I have with Susan, I realize that she teaches me and impacts me more than I could ever impact her. She has become one of my most treasured relationships in my life.
As a sponsor, your monthly contribution plays a vital role in meeting the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of a student at MITS.
If you are interested in becoming a sponsor like Alex or would simply like more information, click the button below!
Still have Christmas shopping to do? Want to make an impact on the lives of street kids? Why not do both at the same time?!
Check out the options below and make your gifts go further!
Amazon will donate 0.5% of your purchases to MITS if you designate us as your charity organization through AmazonSmile? If you do your online shopping through Amazon, please take a moment to select MITS as your charity and AmazonSmile will do the rest!
Christmas pop-up store
Open for one more week, our Christmas store is a great place to get gifts for everyone on your list!
Did you know thousands of employers will match donations made to non-profits? Is yours one of them?
Talk to your HR department to find out if your company will double your donation!
The month of December includes some of the best seasons of the whole year. December means winter weather season; the holiday season; and Giving Season. As we close in on the end of 2019, there are some great giving opportunities that will make a lasting impact on kids who are currently living on the streets of Nairobi.
In a matter of minutes, you can give a secure donation online and make an immediate impact. You may also choose to give your gift in honor or memory of someone, and your loved one will be thrilled to know that their impact on you prompted you to be generous toward street children in Kenya.
With the current success of the US stock market and the change to rules for itemized deductions under the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act, stock donations are one of the best ways to maximize your impact and reduce your taxes. MADE IN THE STREETS makes it simple and easy to donate stock and make a life-changing difference for street kids. Due to the new rules, stock donations can significantly reduce your taxes by giving you deductions that exceed your new increased standard deduction amount. Stocks held for more than a year that have risen in price can be donated to MADE IN THE STREETS and provide a tax deduction equal to the fair market value of the stock at the time of the donation. For more information on making a stock donation to MADE IN THE STREETS before the end of the year, contact MITS’ Executive Director Brad Voss (email@example.com / 817-688-6675) or MITS’ Finance Director Ericka Maple (firstname.lastname@example.org / 615-300-5724).
Monthly Partners are the Champions of MITS who go above and beyond to considerably impact the monthly operating expenses of loving and serving former street kids who are enrolled in the MADE IN THE STREETS boarding school program. Monthly Partners can choose a monthly donation level that helps to cover the ongoing costs of food, housing, education, and mentorship, and more for each of the students seeking to change their life in the MITS program. MITS Partners are paired with a current student and agree to donate monthly at one or more of four different levels ($25, $50, $75, $150). Some partners even choose to cover the entire monthly expenses for one student ($400). In addition to the essential financial support, MITS Partners also send and receive letters and updates from the MITS students, along with special news and fun surprises.
Prefer to send a check in the mail? That's great!
Make checks payable to MADE IN THE STREETS and mail to the following address:
MADE IN THE STREETS
409 Franklin Rd
Brentwood, TN 37027
Anyway you give, it matters to street kids; thank you for for generosity!
What is #giving Tuesday?
Celebrated globally on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, Giving Tuesday kicks off the season of end-of-year giving. People all over the world come together online to give to others.
This year by December 3rd, MADE IN THE STREETS is hoping to raise $48,000!
$1600 covers all the costs associated with moving a child from the streets to MITS boarding school program. We are trying to bring 30 new students off the streets and into school!
What is this "Never Give Up" thing?
The students at MITS have taught us what it looks like to never give up. We want to join them and share a message of hope to those still on the streets - never, never, never, never give up!
We need your help! Will you join us??
how you can get involved:
1. Spread the word. #GivingTuesday is spread and fueled by the power of social media and digital platforms. Post on your social media, email or text people you know. Get the word out about street kids! Use any of the images below to share on your social media:
2. Make a donation. You don't have to wait until December 3rd to give...give today!
3. Become a fundraiser. It only takes a few minutes to set up a fundraising page. If 30 people raise $1600, we can meet our goal! Click the link below to get started:
Once you've opened our #GivingTuesday campaign, click the "become a fundraiser" button:
Create a fundraising team or set up a page as an individual:
Follow the next steps to set up an account and start fundraising!
Katie Harvey, Storyteller Intern
This year one of the new girl students brought her precious baby, Angel, with her. When they first came to MITS, Angel was so little one might think that she was a newborn. We estimated she was around 3 months old. Angel was born on the streets and lived there for the first few months. Because of this, she was extremely malnourished. I learned over the summer that when babies are malnourished, they can’t laugh a ‘normal’ laugh. Which made sense to me because sometimes I couldn’t tell if she was laughing or crying.
While Angel has been here I have seen her grow and become stronger. One night when I was at the girls' place for a bible study I was holding Angel while the girls were finishing dinner. I will never forget this night because it was the first time I heard her laugh! I was filled with JOY to hear this sound! This laugh meant so much.
This got me thinking about the joy that God must feel when we have our ‘firsts’. Sometimes we might face trials and fall off track with our relationship with God. We become malnourished from lack of His word in our life. We’re fighting to stay alive. To be rescued. Once we come back and have our “first laugh” with God, like reading the Bible, I can only imagine He is overwhelmed with JOY. He is joyous because His child is coming back to Him.
So, I challenge you today if you feel like you haven’t laughed with God in a while, talk to Him. Say a prayer. A simple prayer. Open your Bible, read a passage that once moved something in you. Find your way back to God. He hasn’t gone anywhere!
Darlene Coulston, Founder
Laurent is here on his leave also – he was in our very first “school” in 1996. My mom taught him to read. He has been working in Kenyatta University catering dept. for all those years. He too is happy to come help.
I read Narnia tales to the newest students, have for years. While I was gone, an intern, Madeline, read to them – the kids loved it. I can see a three-month improvement in these students’ manners and especially their English. Wow.
Last week, we had some of the single MITS Team over. We talked about the students, told funny stories, and Charles and I shared some early stories of MITS. We fed our guests hamburgers, and then we wanted them to experience roasting marshmallows. To start with, our “marshmallows” are from Mumbai. Then, we didn’t have enough charcoal briquettes and no charcoal lighter (only thing we had was “surgical spirits” – bad idea), and only old files to use as paper kindling. So imagine lots of smoke, and marshmallows that won’t lightly brown…..! We still had fun but won’t do that again, ha.
We love our two lives. This ministry is a joy to us. We rejoice in the Team; they truly love the students and each other. They have fun with them. They know how to do “LIFE.” It is wonderful to see teens come in from the streets, learn and grow, and go out to honor Jesus in the workplace.
Brad Voss, Executive Director
When I was much younger I loved sleeping outside. It was so much fun. I slept in the backyard, on porches, in treehouses, on trampolines, in state parks, on football fields, in tents, in hammocks – even on the side of a mountain (or two). Anytime I got the chance, I was so happy to sleep outside. On balmy summer nights growing up in Texas I was thrilled to sleep outside with little more than a blanket of stars across the sky as cover. As I grew a little older I was lucky enough to travel to places like Colorado and New Mexico and Alaska where warm nights were replaced by much cooler nighttime temperatures and thin quilts were replaced by down sleeping bags and four-season tents. Waking up on those crisp mornings and crawling out of a toasty sleeping cocoon was the stuff of dreams. For most of my life sleeping outside was incredible. It was romantic and exciting and fueled some of my happiest memories.
When I made my first trip to Kenya in 2016, sleeping outside took on a whole new perspective and meaning. It was during this trip that I first came face-to-face with children and teenagers who sleep outside every single night. And not because it was fun or adventurous. And not inside a nice tent or wrapped in a down sleeping bag. It was on this trip that I learned and understood for the first time that thousands of kids go to sleep - no, try to sleep - outside on the streets of Nairobi, Kenya (and in many other cities around the world). It’s not romantic. It’s not filled with happy memories. It’s cold. It’s dangerous. And it’s real.
Each night tens of thousands of kids in Kenya and millions of kids around the world will lay their heads down on cold ground – not because it’s fun to sleep outside, but because there is no inside. They didn’t plan to be there, but because of abuse or neglect or lack of resources or a myriad of other reasons, they are there. The nights are cold and scary and very dark. They will hopefully find friends with whom they can share the night. They will huddle close together to increase warmth, and they will take turns staying awake to fend off the dangers that often appear in the darkness. And they will pray. They will pray that the night passes quickly and that the sun shows itself sooner rather than later. These precious kids love the mornings. They love seeing the sun come up and feeling the heat that it brings. And they love seeing people (like the team at MADE IN THE STREETS) who love and care for them.
I still really like sleeping outside. I like camping under the stars and the moon with friends and family. But now, on every night I sleep outside (and on most nights that I sleep inside) I’m mindful of the many incredible kids that are also out there. I pray that they find warmth. I pray that they find friends for protection. I pray that they find a softer, more comfortable spot than the one they found last night. And I pray that somehow, someway, with God’s help and all of us working together, more of those kids can find their way off of the streets and into the exciting, fun, romantic, and adventurous life of sleeping inside.
For more information about how you can help street kids move from outside to inside check out the Plan A Fundraiser or Serve In Kenya pages on the MITS website.
Lauren Meandro, Filmmaker Intern
R - RAIN
The rainy season came late this year and the roads around here get pretty muddy. The mud sticks to your shoes and if you don’t have “gumboots” (rain boots), clean feet will be a thing of the past. While the rain has been an inconvenience, it has helped the farms and we are thankful.
S - SICK
If you don’t get sick here at least once, then I feel like you really haven’t been to Kenya (it’s pretty much unavoidable, since you’re exposed to so many unfamiliar bacteria). I might as well have been here four times then, since that’s how many times I’ve been unwell! Being sick away from home is never fun, especially in a foreign country, but I have been well taken care of here. I even got to experience a Kenyan hospital - which I can happily say was not a traumatic experience.
God also sent a little blessing my way after all my suffering. While bedridden, I craved chicken noodle soup. When I showed up on Monday to work, the visiting group had made Chicken Pho for lunch! I could have cried I was so happy.
T - TIME
Kenyan time and American time are different things. As I’m typically late to everything and patient with those who are like me, I figured I would fit right in. However, turns out it’s harder to escape my American roots than I thought.
U - UNIVERSAL
Another one of my favorite parts about traveling is just discovering how small the world is. Some things that I’ve found to be universal are a baby’s love for silly noises, the love of a good beat, and sharing good food together. Oh, and all small children love the Baby Shark song. You can’t convince me otherwise.
V - VACATION
While on the outside it may look like a vacation, living and volunteering in a foreign country for the summer is definitely hard work. That’s why a break every now and then is so important. Our intern team was able to get away a couple of times to not only rest and be restored, but also to experience other parts of the Kenyan culture! Here are a few pictures from our visit to the coast and our safari in Maasai Mara.
W - WORSHIP/THE WORD
Listening to people praise and learn about the same God in another language. There’s nothing quite like it. I think I really developed this love when I attended a German church when I lived in Leipzig. Seeing others praise His name in their native tongue, praising Him alongside them, though I don’t know the meaning of the words, learning the countless names for Him (Yesu, Bwana, Mungu, Baba)… It never gets old.
X - EXTRA
Sometimes you think you're going to need a lot more of something than you actually end up using. I for one brought so much sunscreen it’s not even funny. Guess how much I’ve used of it?
Y - YUM
Kenyan food is heavy, but it’s good. Chapati (which is kind of like a thicker tortilla) is a favorite. Also, like, all of the fruit.
Z - ZERO POWER
The power will go out a couple times a month. Sometimes for a couple hours, sometimes a couple days. It’s been an adventure cooking in the dark or coming home to charge a device only to realize you can’t. It’s just all part of living here so you just gotta be flexible.
When you do this for 20 years, you're bound to pick up a few stories and lessons along the way. Thoughts, impressions, news, and highlights from our staff, visitors, donors, students and alumni.