Love to Serve, Serve to Love

By Kaylei Ward

Ten years ago, a group of women and their daughters were changed forever by a mission trip to Guatemala. When they returned to the United States, the middle-schoolers asked one question: “What are we going to do now for the children we met?”

That question was the catalyst for the creation of WOW—Women for Orphans Worldwide, a volunteer-led auxiliary for Orphan Outreach.

Each year WOW honors the same spirit that started the organization by recognizing students who have gone above and beyond to make a difference in the lives of the ministries served by Orphan Outreach. The honor is aptly called Love to Serve, Serve to Love.

Tiffany Taylor Wines is one of the founders of both Orphan Outreach and WOW. “I love that each year students are inspired to make a difference,” she shares. “The 2018 honorees and projects were a great example of the cross section of youth that have made a difference. From a boy adopted internationally to a Girl Scout getting her Gold Award and a church youth group that came together to make a difference, it is clear that each of the honorees not only made an impact but walked away from being changed themselves.”

 

When Angelina Syler returned from her trip to a home for teenage mothers called Hope and Future, she felt inspired by the girls she had met and the happiness they had despite their backstories of neglect and abuse.  She asked herself the very question that started WOW: “What can I do now?” Her response was to fundraise through garage sales and donations to create a sensory room for the babies. “I care about the health and development of these babies. These mothers have been through so much and they will need a break at some point.  Being a mother is very fast paced. This safe environment for the children gives their mothers a break to sit down and relax with their children as they play and develop.” Angelina was able to travel back to Hope and Future to help develop the room herself and see the help that the room brought. “It may seem like you didn’t really do anything at all other than build a few shelves, paint, or decorate the walls, but I promise that you are helping so much more than you realize.” Angelina hopes that this is only the beginning and that this project will inspire others to carry on what she started.

 

Luke Deatherage had a different inspiration that led him to want to help. He has never met the children that he impacted but he shares their unique needs. Luke was adopted from a Ukraine orphanage and has special needs. His dad shares that the children of Guatemala are his community because of their common connection. Luke was encouraged to do something that would benefit children of the world. Inspired by his family’s encouragement, Luke was able to build wooden puzzles and alphabet blocks for a children’s home to help their fine motor skills. Through WOW these puzzles and blocks were delivered to Down Guatemala in July of 2018, and through pictures Luke was able to see the impact he had. “As a parent, I learned about the joy that Luke received from helping other children. Such a small amount of time (or money) can make a difference in the life of a child.” Both Luke and his dad look forward to traveling with Orphan Outreach in the future.

 

The final Love to Serve, Serve to Love Award was given to students who rallied together to find numerous ways to serve and provide for multiple ministries. The New St Peter’s Presbyterian High School youth group spent months fundraising through garage sales, t-shirt sales, shop nights, and a silent auction to not only ensure that every kid on the team had financial support but to bring much-needed supplies and gifts to various ministries in Guatemala. From providing stoves to families, to doing an extreme room makeover for two young girls at Love the Child and visiting families they had given stoves to in the past, this team stepped in and stepped up. Through the process they found blessings in not only seeing what they could provide but in witnessing those they served be filled with Christ’s hope and joy despite their circumstances. Jennifer Kassing, the leader of the group, says the students love to serve if given the right outlet with direction and purpose. “Some of these kids had have never left the country, let alone gone to a third world country—and yet none felt overwhelmed or fearful. They never said ‘no’ and they knew what to do. Each of them had a joyful heart.” For her it was exciting to see the seeds that were sown on the trip, and she is excited to see how God will grow the faith of each of the students in unique and personal ways.

Women for Orphans Worldwide was founded on the belief that everyone can have an impact. The honorees of the 2018 Love to Serve, Serve to Love are wonderful examples by not only making a significant impact in Guatemala, but also by being inspirations for other teens to get involved. When asked what advice could be given to those who want to serve and make a difference, they all had a similar answer. Whether it’s putting up bookshelves, painting a room, or creating a puzzle, nothing is too small to make a difference. The joy that serving gives and the hearts that God change in that process will include not just those you serve, but also your own.

WOW – The Legacy Lives On!

No one imagined back in 2009, when a group of moms and their 13-year-old daughters forever changed by a mission trip to Guatemala created a volunteer-led auxiliary for Orphan Outreach that—10-years later—the group would raise more than $1 million dollars for the comprehensive care of hundreds of orphaned and vulnerable children and families living in extreme poverty.
The girls were so moved by their experience that they wanted to do more. Together with their moms, they formed the auxiliary and named it WOW—Women for Orphans Worldwide.
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“We loved the name WOW, because when you turn it upside down, it spells MOM,” says WOW Founding Member and Orphan Outreach Director of Development and Marketing Tiffany Taylor Wines. “And it is the mom in all of us, even our daughters, that wanted to make a difference for the children in Guatemala.”
Many others have joined forces with the founders and over the years, WOW has grown in legacy, love and influence. Since its inception, more than 1,000 people have participated in 44 WOW mission trips, and members have raised countless gifts through fundraisers and supply drives.

A Legacy of Love in Dallas

This year, the founding chapter of Women for Orphans Worldwide celebrated its 10-year-anniversary luncheon on December 7th at the Westin Galleria in Dallas. The event raised more than $100,000 and had more than 400 attendees.

Proceeds from this year’s WOW luncheon will help launch a new preschool at the Community Care Center in Chimaltenango, for the children of parents who work to make less than $1 a day working at the Guatemala city dump. The preschool will provide a safe learning environment and a daily nutritious meal.

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In addition, WOW funds will continue to meet critical needs for five Orphan Outreach ministry programs in Guatemala. These programs help orphaned and vulnerable children receive an education and psychological support. They help ensure that the children develop physically, spiritually and emotionally. Funds also support programs to strengthen families at-risk of separation in order to prevent children from becoming orphans.
A Guatemalan market with hundreds of handmade crafts, purses, blouses, nativities and Christmas decorations allowed attendees to make purchases, and a new Big Board and place bids on larger, local items all benefiting the children WOW serves.
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Before the market opened, a group of vibrant young women and their mothers huddled for pictures. The original middle schoolers have all graduated from college and are now pursuing masters degrees or launching their careers.
Most of the girls have known each other since kindergarten, if not earlier.
“Through this whole experience, I think we just learned how much of an impact you can really make,” says Marlee Tarwater, who is completing her masters in tax accounting. “You can have an idea and turn it into something so powerful.”
Inna Wines, who is working on her masters in occupational therapy at Abilene Christian University, says she eventually hopes to move to a developing country to work directly with orphans. She has returned to Guatemala every year since the initial trip.
“It all goes back to the impact of that first trip to Guatemala,” she says. “It was just an incredible experience to go through that with my friends.”

A Circle of Joy in Houston

The Women for Orphans Worldwide Houston chapter hosted its first-ever Circle of Joy celebration on Thursday, December 6th. Hand-crafted items from Guatemala were available, along with lots of conversation about how to provide ongoing care for orphaned and vulnerable children in the Central American country. More than 100 people attended the event, and close to $30,000 was raised in two short hours.

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100% of the money raised is being used to provide sustaining support to Love the Child baby home and the Community Care Center (CCC), a community outreach program serving severely impoverished children and their families in Chimaltenango.
“Our community is so incredibly generous and supportive,” exclaims Robin Conner, WOW Houston President-Elect. “To love children they’ve never met is overwhelming and we’re forever grateful for that.”
Board member Julie Treadwell agrees. “After being in Guatemala and investing time in the children and those who care for them, this fundraiser is something thing we can do right here at home to help the ministries in all they do there.”

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Terri Tarwater was a WOW founder 10 years ago and was instrumental in launching the Houston chapter of the volunteer-led auxiliary for Orphan Outreach. “It’s almost surreal that 10 years later this is starting in Houston – and starting HUGE!” she shares. “This isn’t just a little idea. This is a huge movement to support the children of Guatemala with women who love these children. I’m so excited that a whole new generation of people see today what we’ve seen for a decade, who feel love for these children and embrace God’s call to help them.”

The Impact of Service

At both events, two guest speakers from Love the Child, a Guatemala partner ministry, shared  testimonies of three children who have benefitted from WOW funds through their time in Love the Child. Love the Child is a baby home that provides refuge to abused, abandoned and orphaned infants and toddlers.

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Shyrel Atkins, Love the Child Founder and Director, talked first about Benson, who arrived at the home when he was 3. His mother was incarcerated and he was in the custody of an neglectful and abusive relative until a neighbor reported the situation to authorities.
Atkins says that, thanks in large part to the low caregiver/child ratio and the special attention given to each child, Benson is now a 4-year-old who is doing well. Love the Child staff continues working to help him overcome the trauma he suffered before arriving.
“Milagros was only 6 weeks old when she arrived at Love the Child,” Atkins says, adding that as a newborn infant, she had been dumped in a deep latrine by her own mother. Someone heard her faint cries and reported them to the authorities, who worked to pull her out of the human waste and into urgent medical care. Today, Milagros has formed a healthy attachment with a Love the Child nanny who offers her one-on-one attention.
Angela’s story is one of hope—and permanency. Her mother chose to create an adoption plan for her, and Angela has been nurtured by her Love the Child nanny as she awaited her adoption – which took place as the Dallas WOW luncheon was happening.

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“At this very moment, Angela actually is becoming part of a forever family,” Aktins shared. “Today, she is visiting a courthouse and being adopted.”
Love the Child Board Chair Dr. Mary Hibberd thanked those in attendance at both events for their support of WOW and Orphan Outreach.
“I think you can tell that what Sheryl does, what Love the Child does, what you help us do is so much more than food, clothing and shelter. You are changing lives.”

If you’d like to know more about Women for Orphans Worldwide, contact Tiffany Taylor Wines at ttaylorwines@orphanoutreach.org.


Going for the Gold

A recycled laptop, a hemmed skirt, and an artfully designed room can change the world—particularly the world of 60 children at the Little House of Refuge orphanage in Xela, Guatemala. Their benefactors are three North Texas Girl Scouts who traveled with Orphan Outreach and Women for Orphans Worldwide (WOW), July 29–August 3.

The Girl Scout Gold Award is the highest award a Girl Scout can achieve. When a young woman is “Going for the Gold,” she envisions and crafts a project that not only fulfills a need within her community, but also creates lasting change. The award requires Girl Scouts to complete a minimum of 80 hours of leadership and service.

Read on to discover the surprising ways these Girl Scouts will be transforming the lives of orphans.


Boy Scout Adopted From Russia, Gives Back

Misha Wines was adopted from Russia when he was an infant, and his start in life set the stage for his passion for helping others. Misha, a member of St. Monica Boy Scout Troop 412 and a junior at Dallas Lutheran School, completed his Eagle Scout project on a recent trip to Guatemala. This was Misha’s third trip to Guatemala with Women for Orphans Worldwide (WOW), an auxiliary of Orphan Outreach. continued