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Restoring Amidst a Pandemic

August 2021

These last few years have been some wild times to live in. Throughout the pandemic, RICC has been hard at work to rescue, rehabilitate and restore the street boys of Bungoma.

In November of 2020, our first group of boys was restored back to their families! This was a bittersweet moment for the RICC staff. Bitter because we developed a strong bond with the boys who were leaving, and sweet because the results of our work have now been realized. We are so pleased to report that none (zero) of the restored boys have recidivated back to the streets. Since the inaugural group, 13 boys have been rescued and restored!

All three parts of the program (rescue, rehabilitate, & restore) are now running simultaneously. As exciting as this is, it is also daunting and requires substantial funding to do this well.  As a result, we will be launching a fundraising campaign very soon! This campaign will bring in the resources necessary to operate with excellence and take care of our expanding alumni of boys.

In addition, we have added a brand new well to the boy’s home which will allow for them to have a constant source of water. This new resource will promote more hygiene and allow for further additions to the home.

We need your help

There is still a lot of work to be done to the home to make sure it can handle twenty boys living there consistently (which is no easy task). We continue to monitor and assess the needs of the property and program amenities so that we can provide the best possible experience for the boys.

Whether you are a current partner or not, we hope you will consider giving toward this project as we continue to rescue, rehabilitate, and restore these young boys in Bungoma, Kenya!

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A Fantastic Visit from ALC!

February 2020 (Part 2)

After many smiles and much fellowship, our friends from Abundant Life Church have made their farewells and are back on their way to the USA. Their visit was indeed a successful one!

Property Assessment

We were happy to hear that they agreed with us on the needs for the property. The road to the home is quite difficult, in a literal sense, and after just one time down its bumpy causeway they were emphatically pointing out that something has to be done. Likewise, our need for an incinerator and a new roof. Pray for us (or donate) regarding finances so that these repairs can be made.

Meetings and Presentations

Pastors Mark Haywood and Amy Carter made their visit to Kenya this time around with many items on the agenda, but the priority was discussing the notion of foster care with both local government officials, and with the local pastors in the greater Bungoma area. It was unclear up front how this concept would be appreciated by the Kenyans, as the history and impression of this idea is very different than in the United States.

As it turned out, God was with every meeting and every presentation, and all ideas and notions were very well received! There is still a long ways to go to bring foster care and the precedent for foster parenting in Kenya to where it needs to get to, but much support was offered by everyone who heard the heart and passion inherent in this project, and we are all very excited for what lies ahead. As they say in Kenya, things happen “slowly by slowly,” but there is no doubt that great things are happening.

Fun Times

In addition to business, this past week was a lot of fun. One of the visitors from ALC, Christopher Getman, happens to be a former martial arts instructor, and gave the boys a lesson in the Brazilian style of Capoeira. The boys were also given an opportunity to enjoy an extended visit to the swimming pool, after which Pastor Mark treated all of the youths to some delicious ice cream.

The guests from ALC were able to spend a lot of quality time with the leader of ALC’s sister organization (King Jesus Faith Ministries), Bishop Emmanuel Mayako, and Pastor Mark Haywood was even asked to preach on Sunday (which he did without hesitation). There were meetings with the staff, wonderful explorations into what the boys are doing at the home – including dance class, music lessons, and more – and there was a chance to meet and visit with the three new boys who moved into the home recently.

Moving Forward

There is much to do. The local pastors who heard from both Mark and Amy need to spread the RICC vision with their congregations, and God willing, some congregants will raise their hands with the desire to be foster parents. In conjunction with that, RICC needs to work on the official foster home/parent process, and write the book on the foster parenting process. Financial support needs to be gathered so that construction can take place repairing the road, the roof, and more.

Pray for us that 2020 is a successful year, and that everything planned and set in motion comes to fruition!

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Visitors from ALC are on Their Way to Discuss Foster Care

Art Wall

February 2020 (Part 1)

The boys are excited. Guests are coming! Arriving February 18 (and staying for a while) are guests from Abundant Life Church, including Pastors Mark Haywood and Amy Carter, and others. The visit is intended to have several purposes. For starters, they need to see how the boys are doing. Secondly, the property itself could use a fresh set of eyes, so that determinations can be made as to next steps, what could be improved, what additional resources may be required to bring everything up to an ideal status, and so on. Thirdly, and arguably most importantly, the pastors from ALC are coming to visit with local Bungoma officials, both in government and the church body, to discuss the third and final phase of the RICC project vision. As the slogan states, the three core aspects of the vision are: Rescue, Rehabilitate, Restore. At the time of this visit, eighteen boys have been rescued, many have been rehabilitated, but now, the time has come to restore those who are ready to family, and society.

This idea of restoration can go two ways. Ideally, the boy will be returned to family, whether under immediate parents, or possibly under aunts and uncles, grandparents, etc. Unfortunately, not all families are viable options. Sometimes the boy doesn’t even have a family. Sometimes it’s not safe. Sometimes the family wants to care for the child, but there’s an issue in the home with alcohol… and so on. That would bring the process to the second option, and that is, foster care. A rehabilitated boy could be moved to a family unit that is safe, checked out, and most importantly, loving. The hope and desire for this project is that local, Kenyan families would take the children in and love them as their own.

But there’s the tricky part. The notion of foster care is understood in the United States of America, but is it a recognized and practiced concept in Kenya? Should it be treated instead as foster care on paper, but with the spirit of adoption? What sort of awareness in the community, and in the church, needs to take place so that viable families are even made familiar with the boys, and their history? There’s a lot to explore, and the representatives from ALC intend to do just that.

The Boys are Thriving

Pictures of health and happiness, the boys in Reach International Children’s Center are well fed, educated, and in great shape. They participate in dance class, soccer lessons, art, music education, Bible study, and more. There are becoming quite good at riding bicycles (a Christmas gift from ALC). Their days are structured, but not without a good balance of fun. When appropriate, the boys are taken off-site and get a chance to play, swim, enjoy a nice treat, and more. They are well-behaved, and continue to receive counseling from professionals, in the home. It’s very clear that several of these lads are fully rehabilitated and ready for the next chapter in their lives.

The Property Needs Help

As with any piece of land, or any building, there is the topic of maintenance. Things break, and they need to be fixed. Sometimes, they need to be replaced altogether. Sometimes, something new needs to be purchased. The boys are doing great, but aspects of the property in Kenya are cause for concern.

For one, the driveway is in very rough shape. It’s a bit of a stretch from the main road to the property itself, and that stretch… is quite difficult to navigate. A vehicle traveling that driveway is subject to highly unpleasant bumps and dips, and really can’t proceed much faster than a crawl. After a rain, it’s even worse. There is a significant need for funding to help repair and rebuild the path to the home.

Secondly, the roof needs work. It doesn’t do well with water, and yes, it rains in Kenya, especially at this time of year. The wear and tear is starting to get noticeable, and if it isn’t addressed soon, the damage will only get worse.

Thirdly, there is no incinerator on the property. Now for Americans, the idea of an incinerator is not a common one. After all, they have a municipal garbage service, and trash is taken away weekly. Such is not the case in Bungoma. Trash, quite frequently, needs to be burned. Without an incinerator, there is no choice but to simply make a pit, and regularly burn the materials from there. But a pit is far from ideal. The smoke can spread, filling the air around the home. And there is the risk of someone falling in. Boys run, they play, the jostle around, and if one of them were to slip and fall into the burn pit… that would be terrible.

If you would like to help support the RICC vision and lend a hand towards the needs of the property, we would greatly appreciate it. Click here to donate, and we thank you in advance!

Yes, indeed there is much to discuss. Pray for all involved that the visit is a successful one!

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Outreach Continues, Field Trips for the Boys

September 2019

The boys are doing great! However, it’s important to remember that the effects of Reach International continue to help those not just in the home, but also in the community. There are others in need in Bungoma, and while we can’t take them all in, we can still help.

There are those who are hungry. We feed them. During an outreach session (which we conduct on a regular basis), over a hundred hungry are fed and cared for. Then there are those who need medical attention. We help there too, assessing medical needs in conjunction with the local clinic, and providing whatever free care we can. Then there are basic material needs:clothing, toiletries, etc. We gift and give away what we’re able, including soap, shirts, underwear, and beyond.

Still, more importantly than any of the above, is our drive to spread the Word of God. Local churches join us during these sessions,sending their youth pastors to minister the gospel, offering nourishment to a whole other kind of hunger. It wouldn’t do to merely feed the body, when the soul is in need as well. We are there to educate, to pray, to teach, and more.

What’s New With the Boys?

Back at the home, the boys to continue to grow, and to thrive. We are proud to report that not only are they in school, but that some of them are at the top of their class! And not only have the boys rehabilitated to the point where they can go to school, but now, they’re going on field trips! To parks, pools, and beyond, acclimation is taking place, which is exactly what the program was designed to do.

Heading into 2020, we are looking forward to implementing the next phase of the program, which consists of getting the boys into foster homes. The plan and process is currently being mapped out that will allow for registration and certification of foster parents, with in-depth strategies for ongoing mentoring, detailed follow-up, and proper care and compensation. This step is a crucial one, so great care is being taken to ensure that it is done right. (Stay tuned to this website for updates!)

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Construction, Growth, and More

March 2019

Well, it has been nearly a year since the home opened, and things are going very well! Today, the home is now host to no less than 16 boys!

Over the summer of 2018 a series of construction projects took place on the property, resulting in the completion of a new basketball court, a soccer field, a dining pavilion, and more for the boys. As anyone who has taken care of boys – or has even been a boy – knows, there’s nothing more important than healthy activities to help get all that energy out. (And then fueling that energy with a proper diet, of course.)

Speaking of nutrition, the boys are responding quite positively to a balanced meal plan, and in turn they are growing. Bodies that were a bit stunted in terms of growth early on from the streets are now reaping the rewards of quality food, and are making up for lost time through some serious growth spurts.

In regards to education, 14 of the boys are now in school. And we’re not talking about classes on the property, but actually attending the local school, off-site, and the best news is this: they are excelling. Some of the boys are – quite literally – at the top of their class. Tutors are helping, and boys who basically have had to start over are also jumping grade levels quickly, catching up to their peers.

At the home, the boys are also taking music classes and dance lessons. Some of them have even taken up and instrument or two!

The boys are also growing in their understanding of the Lord. Between daily devotionals and Sunday service, the young men are getting filled with scriptures with a focus on the Fatherhood of God. It is reinforced consistently to these boys – who had no home – that they are loved, they are children of the most high, and they are not alone.

We are excited for next steps. In the days ahead we will be assessing which boys may be ready for the third phase of the rehabilitation, in that they move out of the home into a family setting. (Whether it’s real family or foster care will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.) As mentioned previously, it was never the intention that this home be an orphanage, rather, a rehabilitation center that could save these boys from the streets and prepare them to thrive in society. With the help of God and a dedicated team, we are on track for just that.

We also hope to soon have the donation and “sponsor a child” portions of this website ready to go, so please, subscribe for update and we will keep you posted as soon as those features are functional!