|Posted on March 20, 2014 at 9:30 AM|
Thanks for hundreds of special friends and supporters, the CTT’s 6th Annual Fundraiser held last Friday night was a whopping success. Due to the 8 hour time difference, this event happened in the middle of my night. But that night I drifted off to sleep as I thought about all of the special people that I have had the privilege to know because of CTT. The mission of CTT is clear and transparent… to love and support the orphans living at SMKOM. Once you meet Gloria Feinstein, any member of CTT’s Board of Directors, or a person who has visited SMKOM, you will see a definite glow about them. Their lives have been forever touched and enriched by the love and friendship of the children living at SMKOM. That glow becomes infectious, and others want to join, too, by sponsoring children, writing pen pal letter, gathering supplies, or sharing the vision of CTT with their loved ones. The ripple effect is really remarkable.
The photos really illustrate the great time at the KC’s Boulevard Brewing Company with delicious Spin Pizza and entertainment from the Traditional Music Society. In addition, Lynne Melcher debuted another incredible and touching short Change The Truth documentary highlighting the importance of education in Uganda and the gift of CTT sponsorship.
Hope you enjoy, too!!
Link to Lynne’s CTT documentary on You Tube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dipsM3ggH-8 (Prepare to watch this video more than once!!)
Thanks to Gloria’s blog (http://gloriainafrica.blogspot.com) and photographer, Michael Spillers,for the event photos.
|Posted on March 11, 2014 at 10:50 AM|
There are always great things happening with Change The Truth. It is an organization that I continue to be so proud to be associated with. Education in Uganda is a privilege, not a right. Not even a Primary Level Education is assured to any child. There are costs associated with every aspect of education (school tuition, uniforms, school requirements, school supplies, boarding section materials, and many more), and most families have great difficulties meeting those responsibilities. The higher the education level, the more challenging, expensive, and exclusive the opportunity becomes.
Change The Truth has committed to providing sponsorship within a respectable boarding school for the duration of a student’s educational career (Senior 1 through Post-Secondary). There are some requirements that students commit to attaining (like passing grades, communication with their sponsor, sharing their school reports). CTT Administration makes exceptional attempts to secure sponsorship for as many of the brightest, most-promising orphans living at St. Mary Kevin Orphanage Motherhood after the completion of their Primary Level. Unfortunately the reality is that not every orphan can be sponsored, which is one of the most heart-breaking aspects of this system for all involved.
However, this academic year the fruit of tremendous efforts and strong partnerships is CTT’s commitment to sponsor 28 Secondary students, 1 student who completed Secondary level with high hopes of joining University when her Senior 6 National Examination results are released, and 4 University students. Of those students, 5 of them are NEW Senior 1 students just beginning their Secondary level journey; while 2 young men are closing their educational journey during their final semester of University studies to obtain a Bachelor’s degree. Finally, more CTT Alumni are added to a growing list, as 2 students complete their Vocational Certificates and internships. They will now venture into Uganda’s job market to pave their path for a bright future.
NEW CTT-Senior 1 students (from left: Oscar, Rordirick,
Beatrice, Tina, and Lillian)
Saka at Vocational Graduation Day
CTT is also hosting their 6th Annual Fundraiser this Friday night, March 14th at Boulevard Brewery Company. If you happen to be in the Kansas City area, you will not want to miss this event. Paintings from the talented artists at SMKOM will be for sale, as well as original Ugandan craft items. In addition, a riveting short documentary will allow another glimpse into the lives of SMKOM orphans and the profound works of CTT. Don’t miss this event.
Issy working on one of the exceptional pieces of artwork for sale at
If you are interested in learning more about Secondary level sponsorship or would like to have more details about CTT’s upcoming Fundraiser, please visit Change The Truth’s website at www.changethetruth.org
|Posted on December 7, 2013 at 5:35 AM|
In two short weeks from now, Change The Truth’s Team 7 will be arriving at St. Mary Kevin Orphanage Motherhood. Over the years, this annual visit is one of anticipation and excitement for the orphans, staff, and Administration alike. It becomes the pinnacle event of the long holiday break and joyous occasion to welcome back old friends, as well as make new friends!
This year, Team 7 will be mainly a family affair. The team leaders, Jeff and Jennifer, are a dynamic husband-wife duo. This trip will make their 3rd visit to SMK. Previous, they were a part of Team 4, as well as an independent visit. Then, there is an entire family. Josh and his daughter, Leah, were members of Team 6. Their time at SMK was so meaningful that the whole family wants to return together. Joining this year will be Josh’s wife, Jane, and twin sons, Max and Sam. Also, Dawn was a member of Team 5. She is returning this year with her youngest daughter, Emily. Finally, Cynthia, a photographer and CTT supporter, will be rounding out this year’s team.
Personally, one of the most meaningful visits to SMK was Team 3. It was that year Antwain was also a member of the CTT team. Being able to introduce two important components of my life to one another was really an incredible experience. I was profoundly proud to watch Antwain experience SMK for the first time. While I shared countless stories and photos, nothing could compare to the reality of Antwain hanging out with special friends like Henry or Saka. I will enjoy witnessing a similar experience for Josh and Dawn.
Each team member will arrive with their bags packed to capacity with arts and craft materials, medical supplies, Christmas gifts, pen pal letters, digital cameras, few computers and software, and lots of other goodies. The days will be jammed packed with individual projects (like photography classes, computer classes, counseling sessions, arts/craft time, book clubs, recreation activities), group projects (installing new mattresses in dormitories, hosting Spirit Day), holiday celebration on Christmas, showcase of entertainment, a few fieldtrips, and endless hugs/walks/talks/holding hands.
The calendar to countdown the days until CTT Team 7’s arrival will go up this week, as there is a daily onslaught of inquiries about their arrivals. The decorations will be prepared to welcome our friends both returning and new as they once again share a memorable holiday season at SMKOM.
Stay tuned for more updates and photos. To see a more detailed introduction of Jeff, Jennifer, Josh, Jane, Sam, Max, Leah, Cynthia, Dawn and Emily, visit Gloria’s blog at in the upcoming week.
|Posted on November 19, 2013 at 7:25 AM|
A few months ago, SMKOM had the pleasure of hosting the Strings for Uganda team (Nick, Lindsey, Hannah, and Amaya). Their time is still fondly remembered by the students, as they forged some really special friendships. During their 2 week visit, 20 students from Primary 3 and Primary 4 had the unique opportunity for violin training. These students would eagerly await their lesson time during the school day and literally run to the music room for their daily training. It was the highlight of their day! Afterwards, they were reluctant to leave, and many sought out additional violin practice after school.
While the Strings for Uganda team sparked an interest in the violin for their students, they knew that cultivating a musical talent is not a short-term process. It takes months for their students to learn the proper skill sets to proficiently play the violin, as well as establishing a deeper appreciation for their instrument. They needed someone here in Uganda to continue their work.
During their planning process, the Strings for Uganda team managed to link with the only musical institution offering private musical training within Uganda. The Kampala Music School has a long and well-respected history, providing musical training from classical, orchestra, or vocal training to musicians of all levels of skill set. Beginning with email correspondence and then a personal visit, the Strings for Uganda successfully formed a partnership with the Kampala Music School offering violin rentals and continued instruction for SMKOM’s violin students.
Last month, violin lessons began on a weekly basis right here at SMKOM. A music teacher with the Kampala Music School travels to SMKOM during the school day to offer 30 minute lessons for the 20 violin students. Students leave their classroom during their group lesson time and then return afterwards with minimal disruption to their studies. The violin students have picked up right where they left off. They have not missed a beat or forgotten their initial training by the Strings for Uganda team. With each new lesson, their skill set is growing. They are playing with confidence. They are practicing during the week. They are proud to be a member of this class.
Thanks to the Strings for Uganda team… Nick, Lindsey, Hannah, and Amaya. Your love for the violin has been transferred to each of your students. They are proud to be YOUR students, and your initial influences will never be forgotten. And additional thanks to the Kampala Music School, director Kiggunda Fred, and teacher Phoebe. The torch has been passed to your capable hands to train our violin students. The passion your school has demonstrated for teaching Ugandans about the beauty of music has been inspiring. Thanks for believing in SMKOM’s violin students!
|Posted on December 13, 2012 at 2:15 AM|
Just this past week, Henry completed his vocational training in Electricity. For the past 2 years, he has been studying the fundamental theories and practices of Electrical Installations, Industrial Sequencing, Heating/Cooling, and Motor Rewinding at Nakawa Vocational Training Institute. At the culmination of his training, Henry was busy completing 3 rounds of examinations… Internal Examinations for Nakawa, as well as External Practical and Theory Examinations for Uganda’s Business and Technical Education Board (UBTEB). And now certificate in hand, Henry is ready to enter the job market!!
The job market in Uganda is fierce regardless of the vocation or craft. There are literally hundreds of candidates that apply for a single job, especially within Kampala. Nepatism heavily influences the hiring decisions within any company. Some skilled professionals can wait years for a job within the trained field. Henry is very fortunate that Nakawa offered assistance to each of the graduates by securing their first job interview. Immediately after finishing examinations, Henry traveled to a small town by the Kenyan border for possible employment. (Fingers crossed for him!!)
Change The Truth has sponsored Henry since his Senior 2 year of Secondary School. As a matter of fact, Henry was amongst the very first students to be sponsored. Henry was not a naturally gifted academic student. There were several gaps in his foundation studies awaiting school fees to be paid that he could never quite overcome, and his learning style was always more hands-on than theoretical. Electricity became a natural gift/skill that Henry acquired from paying attention to other workers in Kajjansi. Prior to his vocational training, he was already repairing electrical problems at SMK, as well as other local residence and businesses. Both SMK and CTT never gave up on Henry, despite his academic struggles. And now they proudly share in celebrating that he is DONE!!
For those of you that know me well, you already know that Henry was my first love in Uganda. I anticipated that it would be the younger orphans that would tug on my heartstrings, but much to my surprise, it was the Big Boys (with Henry at the helm) that captured it (hook, line, and sinker). When I met him, Henry was just on the cusps of manhood at the tender age of 15 years old. He was shy, stoic, and watchful, and I made it my mission during Team 1’s visit for him to talk to me. It has taken lots of years and efforts (and sometimes I still fall short), but I am so proud of this young man. I now introduce him as my ‘oldest Ugandan son,’ as my affections for him are such. So while Henry may have grown up as a small boy questioning his purpose and validity within this world, it fills me with such hopefulness and gratitude that as a young man he is confident in himself, his abilities, and the love of SMK & CTT in his life. What a great send off into life with a future so full of potential. There are amazing things awaiting this young man. Just watch and see!!
|Posted on September 16, 2012 at 12:00 AM|
Late tonight our beloved Mama Gloria will return to Uganda. She will spend a full week at SMKOM give lots of hugs, love, and encouragement to some of her favorite friends. She will be sharing this visit with her sister, Bobbie. I am sure that Bobbie has heard a story or two (or hundreds) about SMKOM and CTT sponsored students, so she will finally be able to meet the children behind the photos. This experience will likely be different for Gloria, as she is visiting during the school term while CTT students are away boarding. It will be just the opportunity to introduce her to the ‘Next Generation of SMK.’
Gloria is one of those ultra-cool, composed, laid-back, comfortable people to be around. Her energy and positivity is contagious. Her playfulness and tenderness is infectious. Her fearlessness and openness is awesome. While Change The Truth started simply, organically, and out of the purest love within Gloria Feinstein’s heart, it has now grown. It is shaping futures. It is transforming lives. It is giving hope to the otherwise hopeless. It is cultivating talents that would have surely laid dormant. It is putting a twinkle in the eyes of orphans who have faced pretty grim circumstances. And while her candle has lit those of others, her passions have overtaken the hearts of others, her supportive tendencies are shared collectively, it can all be traced directly back to Mama Gloria. It doesn’t get much more powerful and inspirational than that!!
Welcome Home, Mama G….Welcome Home!!
Be sure to check out Gloria’s blog at http://gloriainafrica.blogspot.com/ for all of her Ugandan adventures!
|Posted on July 11, 2012 at 3:10 PM|
I have gotten several inquiries about the CTT banana fiber dolls, so I thought I would share their transformation:
Banana trees in Uganda. The fibers come from the bottom of the trees which shed themselves like a skin as the tree grows and matures.
The fibers are soaked in water and then formed into dolls: first balling fibers for the head, form fibers of the head creating the body, cinching the head and waist of the doll with strands of fibers, rolling fibers to form arms. For boy dolls, the legs are wrapped with fiber stands.
Artist Gail Spahr
Artist Nedra Bonds
Then the professional artists put their creative touches on the dolls to enhance them into original masterpieces.
|Posted on July 3, 2012 at 8:55 AM|
On Friday night about 400 people came together in Kansas City to celebrate and support the orphans of St. Mary Kevin Orphanage Motherhood. In one way or another, these orphans have touched each of their lives…some directly, some indirectly.
On the other side of the world in Uganda, several of us waiting until the wee hours of the morning to surprise the CTT friends with a few words from some of those special children…Nicky, Willy, Brian, Oscar, Petra, Tina, and Tonny. For years, they have heard stories and seen photos of all of the special friends that gather at the annual CTT Fundraiser. This was their opportunity to say a few words of thanks.
I feel proud to be part of the CTT family, and I thank everyone who continues to support these special kiddos.
Part of the CTT Family: Team Members 1-5
Front row: Dawn, Max, and Leroy
Second row: Sara, Kaley, Jennifer, Jeff, Gloria, Bobbi, Avis, Michele, Lynne
Last row: Eddie, Shane, Lonnie, Suzanne, Emily
|Posted on June 29, 2012 at 2:50 PM|
The event is FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.
It will take place from 7 - 10 PM Friday, June 29th at the Leedy-Voulkos Art Center, 2012 Baltimore.
7:00 - Shane Evans will take the stage along with singers from the KC Boys and Girls Choirs
7:30 - short documentary film by Lynne Melcher about Change the Truth and its current work at an orphanage in Uganda
8:00 - The BCR Allstar Band takes the stage
Throughout the evening there will be silent auctions for:
Unique and fabulous banana fiber dolls made by the children at the orphanage and adorned by area artists, including Jason Pollen, Miki Baird, Archie Scott Gobber, Marie Mason, Marcus Cain, Nedra Bonds, Allan Winkler, Anne Austin Pearce, Susan White, Joe Lorusso, Lisa Lala/Wil Lala and Tom Corbin.
Beautiful framed drawings and paintings by the children who live at St. Mary Kevin Orphanage in the east African country of Uganda. These children have lost one or both parents to war or disease. There are 180 children who live at the orphanage; for the past five years, they have depended on Change the Truth to provide them with financial assistance for food, school fees, medical care and various special projects. The sale of their own artwork empowers these talented, deserving children by giving them the profound opportunity to bring in some of that support themselves.
Items that have been donated by caring KC businesses and artists, including gift cards to many fine restaurants, gift certificates for hair and spa treatments, tickets for the Chiefs and Sporting KC, gorgeous jewelry, a winery tour and tasting, original artwork and even teeth whitening and karate lessons!
There will be a raffle for an Apple iPad. Tickets are $10... 3 for $25.
Munchies, a cash bar and valet parking round out the rest of the evening.
Now that you've (hopefully) cleared your calendar for Friday night, please take a few minutes to view some of the dolls and children's artwork on the preceding posts. To see the entire collection of dolls, simply click here.
To read all about Change the Truth, click here.
It's a fun event. Great art, great music, great people, great cause! Hope to see you Friday night!!
|Posted on June 22, 2012 at 5:10 AM|
Change The Truth will be hosting their Annual Fundraiser in one short week.
Date: June 29th
Location: Leedy-Voulkos Gallery (2012 Baltimore) in downtown Kansas City, MO
FREE Event that you won’t want to miss… You will walk away feeling inspired by the talents of the children from SMK and the outpouring of love & support that is then returned back to them!
There will be much fun with African food, live music, film by Lynne Melcher, and a special surprise. You can bid on children’s artwork, banana fiber dolls which are a collaborative effort of the SMK orphans and American artists, Ugandan crafts, and some other special goodies.
The proceeds from this Fundraiser will assist CTT in their continued support for sponsored children and other special projects at SMK (like food).
Please come and support!