With Thanksgiving just weeks away, many people look beyond their festive table to find alternate ways to make an impact and give a little thanks. Some families host visiting soldiers at their dinner tables, others foster children while some donate food or money to causes that are special to them. And there are plenty of organizations out their making a positive impact in the lives of many, each and every day.
Building a Global Community (BGC) is a non-profit organization that strives to assist children, families and their surrounding communities worldwide with spiritual, educational and health needs using advanced approaches. Based in Minooka, IL, the organization offers assistance worldwide to people burdened by poverty and illness. Led by directors Jennifer Fleming and Angela DeCraene, they work alongside Dr. Will Cobbs, Jr., BGC board member and medical social worker, to develop affective solutions for the communities they work in.
Long time friends, Angela and Jennifer brainstormed the vision for this organization after dedicating many years traveling and offering humanitarian services to people in need. They traveled to countries like South Africa and worked with orphanages that house children affected by the HIV/AIDS virus. After sharing their experiences with others, they received such a positive response that the pair decided to start their own non-profit, allowing others to join them on their trips. In 2007, Building a Global Community was established and began working in countries like Swaziland and Lesotho, to name a few. They believe that “a country(U.S.A) so rich in resources should have the opportunity to assist the underserved communities around the world in tangible ways.”
So whether through a financial gift or in-kind donation, each year, the organization collects goods to use at the projects they support around the world. And they recruit volunteers interested in dedicating 2 ½ weeks of their time to travel and work at the projects they serve. As each year passes, they receive so many applicants, that at times they have to turn people away. This past summer, the organization took a group of 17 volunteers to South Africa where they worked at two orphanages that house children severely impacted by HIV/AIDS and other debilitating illnesses.
One of the communities BGC worked with was, Botshabelo, an orphanage that cares for over 100 children and provides educational resources for even more. Offering shelter to children of all ages, the orphanage keeps the children active through physical activity, by exercising their minds and providing them with good, wholesome meals. They also disperse new clothing, toothbrushes and other products when they have them. While there, BGC was able to donate some hygiene products through the generosity of individuals and corporations alike. Overall, the children at Botshabelo are delightful and are always thankful when their receive gifts that help them to care for and feel better about themselves.
The team also traveled to Charlene’s Place of Safety to work with Thembi and Louisa Hobson. Thembi is a four year-old boy, who was born with arthrogryposis and left up for adoption by his birth mother. Louisa Hobson, director of Charlene’s Place of Safety, adopted Thembi and has been caring for him ever since. BGC cleaned out their garden and planted new vegetables for the family; a great way to ensure fresh food for the upcoming year. And a useful agricultural process for them to adapt. Caring for Thembi is a full time job and all government funding and donations they receive go directly to Thembi’s care, supporting surgeries and his overall wellness.
For more information on how you can apply for a service trip with Building a Global Community, offer in-kind donations or make a financial gift to their various projects, just click here. BGC is just one of the many humanitarian organizations out there set-up to help hundreds of people each day. Offering people a great way to give thanks this season not only to their immediate families but also to the larger community around the world.
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