Blog

Dreams Fulfilled!

Before coming to Angels' Place, these children you see pictured would never have dreamed of becoming a teacher, a social worker, or a bank officer.  They knew well, without an education and support, it could never happen, so they pushed their dreams aside.  But just last month, they completed a career survey, the first step on a path toward fulfilling those buried dreams.

One of the most important things we do at Angels' Place is help the children become successful and productive members of their community.  Of course, providing a good foundational education is a big part of achieving that objective.  But that is just the beginning of what we do.  There is much happening inside the walls of Angels' Place you may not even be aware of - far beyond the basics of math and science.  Career counseling is just one example.

First, the children from classes 8-12 completed the survey to assess their personal strengths and interests.  In addition to obvious questions about their favorite subjects in school and extra-curricular activites, there were also questions like:  "What challenge excites you?" and "What impact do you want to have in the world?".   There were also questions designed to help counselors identify potential psychological and emotional barriers to their success so they might better guide them through these obstacles.  Once the surveys were complete, each individual child had a one-on-one counseling session to discuss their responses and help them develop some career goals suited to their unique interests and personality.  As of this date, counseling sessions for all children in classes 8-9 have been completed and upper grades are currently in process.

We are so proud of the many children of Angels' Place who have gone on to successfully pursue their dreams, to become productive healthy members of their community  - and the world.  But there are so many more still waiting for someone like you to open the door of opportunity for them.  To learn more about what you can do, visit our Ways to Help page today.

Angels’ Place Gets a New Vocational Director

This year Angels’ Place added a new staff member, Sangi Duhlian. Sangi’s primary responsibilities will be overseeing the new vocational program at Angels’ Place and providing academic counseling and mentorship to support the learning of the children there. She was contacted about the position in early 2019, and the opportunity to help the children held immediate appeal. She began her new position earlier this year, and we are delighted to report on the expansion of the staff and the program growth that comes with it.

Sangi comes to Angels’ Place with substantial credentials in education and work experience. She holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in social work, and completed a second master’s degree (MPhil) in December 2018, right before coming to the orphanage. Her years of education and work include participation in multiple conferences, where she has explored issues of social services and health care in rural India.

Her position at Angels’ Place follows a family history of service to the community. Sangi says that she grew up in a family that always puts faith into action. Her grandparents and parents are “always accepting and helping the needy,” and she continues by saying “they always believe in the principle that when you serve the needy, you serve God.” In her childhood, her father would bring her to spend time with orphans and destitute children, and as she grew, the wish to serve continued. In college and then in her graduate studies, she has pursued study of social work in order to help those in need, especially women and children. “I started developing a strong determination for working for society and giving back to the community to weave change.”

It is wonderful to add Sangi’s sense of generosity and caring to the community of Angels’ Place. In our next article, we will talk more about the program where Sangi will be working.

Executive Director Jan Swensen Returns from India

 

James Connection Executive Director Jan Swensen has returned from India, and he is very pleased with how things are progressing at Angels' Place. He reports that the children look healthy and well nourished, and they have a lot of energy for the many activities at Angels' Place. He also commented on the sense of community among the children, saying "It was wonderful to see how the older kids accept and care for the new children. There is a good family attitude among the kids."

The staff at Angels' Place continues to grow in positive ways, and Jan commented on the outstanding work done by the continuing staff and on the recruitment of committed and caring new staff. "I commend Englian and Siam on their fine work. Each year I see improvements in Angels' Place, which is good for the children," he observes, and then continues by saying that the staff in general "all appear well motivated and qualified." 

Jan met with the principals of the Hermon School and Rayburn College, in order to review the education being provided to the children of Angels’ Place and beyond. The children attend Hermon School from pre-school through class 10. If they qualify to continue their education, they go to Rayburn College High School for classes 11 and 12. Rayburn also provides a college education that many of the children have attended. Education for the children is a high priority for James Connection, and these visits monitor both current learning and future prospects. 

The trip also included a survey of the buildings and grounds, and a review of the children's activities while at Angels' Place.  The goals of these regular visits are to ensure the physical safety of the children, the progress of any construction, and a regular review of maintenance needs. Jan has prepared a maintenance task list and shared it with the staff of Angels’ Place. 

We will be sharing photographs from the visit over the coming weeks. Above you will see an image that attests to the success of Angels' Place made possible through your generosity: this year's graduating class. These are the children who have been shepherded through their childhood, nourished and sheltered at Angels' Place, and now ready to move on to their next steps as young adults. 

We thank you for your ongoing support to make possible this valuable work.  To learn more about ways to help the children in India, visit our Ways to Help page.

 

Angel of the Week: Lal

Meet Lal, a cheerful young boy who dreams of being a scientist one day.

You see, Lal loves animals and he wants to help protect them.  He also knows it takes hard work and a good education to achieve this goal.  It was an impossible dream two years ago before he arrived at Angels' Place.  Today, thanks to his sponsors and the loving support of the caregivers at the orphanage, he dares to consider such a path.

Two years ago, before Lal lost his father to cancer, he was living with his family in a small poor village near the border of Burma (Myanmar).  Food was scarce and Lal remembers often being sick from malnourishment.  Things were pretty bad.  They became even worse when his father passed away and his mother was left with no source of income.   She had no choice but to give up her son.  He had dreams and she could barely feed him let alone get him the education he deserved.

Flash forward to 2019 and Lal is thriving at Angels' Place and talking about his future in a way he would never consider before.  He loves to read and play with his new friends.  The caregivers know him as "a cheerful boy with good leadership qualities".  Most importantly, he is getting the education he needs to pursue his dream of becoming a scientist and helping animals.  His dreams are no longer just the wishful imaginings of a poor destitute child.  Today, thanks to the James Connection, they hold real possibilities and he has the support he needs to make them come true.

There are hundreds of children, just like Lal, on the waiting list to get into Angels' Place.  Children with big dreams but no resources to realize their true potential.  Won't you consider helping one?  Visit our Ways to Help page if you want to learn how.

To read more stories about the children living at Angels' Place, click on "Angel of the Week" under Categories to the right of this page.