Today's guest blogger gave me the following bio to share here today:
Cindy Reed is a wife, mom, educator, blogger, and part-time grownup who blogs at The Reedster Speaks. She writes about everything from the irreverent to the serious, and also serves as a Contributing Editor for the Yeah Write weekly blogging challenge. She lives with her long-suffering husband Matt, their girls,adopted from China and Ethiopia, and two ill-trained dogs in Asheville, North Carolina.
I have to add, Cindy makes me smile. Not that, "aww, isn't she sweet" kind of smile, but the kind that is sincere, authentic, and real. She's a true talent and an inspiring voice. I am grateful to welcome her here today for Wednesday's Woman.
Wednesday’s Woman: Kristen Meier Greene
by Cindy Reed
|A Glimmer of Hope|
Have you ever looked at all the myriad problems in the world and felt like throwing up your hands? Sometimes, it just seems like too much. When I’m feeling that way, I like to remind myself of one of my favorite quotes, from Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
My friend Kristen Greene, a young mom who, with her husband Jeff, adopted siblings from Ethiopia in the same travel group as me back in 2008, is the embodiment of Mead’s sentiment – one so-called “ordinary” woman from Beaverton, Oregon, who is changing the world by giving back to her children’s birth country, one project at a time.
“The trip to Ethiopia forever changed us, and we felt compelled to give back to the region where our beautiful children are from,” says Kristen. She was appalled and saddened by the conditions they found in the villages near where their children were born.
“So many in Ethiopia go without basic needs like clean water sources, schools, and health care facilities.” In fact, over 250,000 people in Ethiopia die each year due to water borne illnesses, most of them young children. She started to think: What would it be like to go into labor and be a 3-4 hour walk from the nearest hospital? What would it be like to not have access to clean water – to drink from the same muddy water holes where animals bathed and urinated?
Kristen graduated from George Fox University and majored in psychology. While staying home to care for her children, she also works full time working on the family’s Ethiopia fundraising campaigns, in partnership with A Glimmer of Hope, a charitable organization based in Austin, Texas, that focuses on Ethiopia and has a grant to cover 100% of its administrative costs so that every donated dollar goes directly to the charitable campaigns. Glimmer’s goal is to choose a community and go deep – to find its needs and to provide the infrastructure and training for the people who live there to maintain the projects.
So far, Kristen’s family’s efforts have raised $500,000 for two villages in Ethiopia. In the first community the Greenes worked with, Dali, there are now 16 furnished classrooms, 12 latrines, a three-room health clinic, and seven clean water points. “We’ve used every resource we can think of to raise money,” says Kristen. “We have been amazed at the outpouring of support – not only people who want to give, but people who want to join our team and fundraise on their own.” Under Kristen’s enthusiastic direction, friends, family, church members, and community organizations have sold jewelry and donated the proceeds, run sponsored races, sold baked goods, donated birthday gift proceeds, and made monetary gifts large and small.
The Greenes’ projects are the second largest in the nation for A Glimmer of Hope. Kristen raised over $175,000 for a maternity clinic for the women of Tercha, and her current campaign is equally ambitious - $100,000 for a pediatric clinic for the village’s children. Knowing Kristen, I have no doubt the children of Tercha will soon have the quality medical care they deserve.
Never underestimate the power of one person – of one mother – to change the world. Kristen is a powerhouse of energy and inspiration, working tirelessly both for her family and for her children’s homeland. She’s more than just Wednesday’s Woman – she is a woman for every day of the week, every hour of the day.
You can join her. Donate here to help provide health care for the children of Tercha, Ethiopia: http://www.aglimmerofhope.org/campaign/hope-children
Wednesday's Woman is a weekly feature dedicated to spotlighting women who are role models for our daughters. . . and the world.