Nearly 4 years ago I began volunteering at events and fundraisers alongside my friend, Karen Osborn, founder of Kusewera. As I became more aware and educated on the reality many young kids faced in Malawi in Villages like Mtendere, I was struck by the fact that the life expectancy there is 35 years old (the life expectancy has improved in some places over the last 10 years to 54!). I had just entered my 30's when I started on my personal mission to make a difference in the lives of these youth when I learned that some of the Villages had 5-6 adults taking care of nearly 70 kids. In January of 2011 I decided that summer would be when I made my first visit to Malawi in person. Karen and a team of us organized a red carpet star studded event at the W Hotel in late January of 2011. Since my father was a celebrity photographer for Getty Wire Images, I convinced him to get involved and shoot the red carpet to help promote the event. It was an awesome night and me and my father's 1st time working together side by side in our elements, his photography and mine with humanitarian service initiatives. I was beyond thrilled to have my popz see my efforts to make a difference as he and my mom sparked that flame in me as a kid taking me on missions trips to Nigeria in West Africa in the late 80's. The event was a huge success and raised awareness about Kusewera in the community!
Little did I know that evening would be the last time I would see my popz alive as he passed March 8, 2011. As his unexpected death rippled through the Los Angeles community, my family and my life would be forever changed. This was my second parent in almost 5 years to die young by American standards. I decided to delay my trip to Malawi that summer for a multitude of personal reasons yet I still actively supported Kusewera's fundraising efforts here in the USA. However, after this life changing event I now more than ever could relate even more to these children and kids who lived the majority of their lives without their parents. I have decided that this summer I am now ready to meet these kids and impact their lives with my personal story as well as with the program Kusewera has designed to empower kids and give them hope through active and creative play. I look forward to helping to teach basketball clinics on our basketball court that was built last year, using my musical talents to do some hip hop music workshops as well as sharing some life skills for leadership development. Because the bottom line is that even after tragedy you still have a life to live so why not enjoy it and live it up to the fullest! I plan to spread love and give hope to all the kids I meet while in Malalwi! I can't wait!!
My good friend and songwriting partner Jevon McGlory and I wrote a song called "Tomorrow" that will be added to this page soon as a short video. The 1st 25 donors who give at least $25 will receive an advance signed copy of the CD single that will be featured on my new album to be released in 2014. The 1st 10 who give at least $100 will be receive a VIP invitation to a private fundraiser bbq #RIBS4KIDS at La Maison Ingram on Memorial Monday, May 27th 2013. All donations of $25 and up will receive admission to #RIBS4KIDS #PartyWithAPurpose on Memorial Day!
Malawi is known as one of the world's poorest nations, and has close to a million orphans due to a nationwide famine in 2004 and the HIV/AIDS and malaria outbreaks. With Kusewera, our mission is to enrich the lives of the children in African orphanages and their surrounding communities through active & creative play. We create affordable humanitarian trips for volunteers of all walks of life, so that they can personally help implement the Kusewera program. This sustainable year-round program empowers the children to learn, laugh, play:and hopefully gives them the ability to dream and hope for a better future. We encourage and invite anyone to volunteer, and in turn, gain valuable perspective while making a long term difference in the lives of the children.
All monies raised will go to cover trip costs, expenses and items to donate to the children.
Please visit www.kusewera.org for more information about the programs.
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