Greetings, friends of Kristin Linnea Skvarla Foundation!
Since gathering socially in October 2014, the Kristin Linnea Skvarla Foundation (KLSF) has continued to fulfill its mission to honor Kristin by celebrating and supporting the discovery of human potential through individuals—especially young people—who strive to discover, explore, and positively change our world.
Early this year, the KLSF Board of Directors was joy-filled to learn of a particularly special group of WorldTeach (WT) volunteers headed to Namibia. This group of volunteers is supported in part by a KLSF legacy grant! From when Kristin taught at Saint Boniface College in the Okavango region of Namibia in the late 90’s, to the present, posts in Namibia have been the most difficult to fill of all the programs WT operates. Regardless of the high value the Namibian Ministry of Education (NMoE) places upon their work, the quality of the support WT provides its volunteers, and the stable and welcoming communities into which volunteers are placed, costs associated with travel to southern Africa and the small portion of costs NMoE was able to contribute, were major roadblocks for potential volunteers. With the assistance the KLSF legacy grant offered to each Namibian volunteer, WorldTeach was able to negotiate with NMoE for increased financial support for the Namibian program in its new contract. Collectively, these changes have reduced the cost for volunteers to Namibia closer to that of other countries hosting WT programs.
Following a year (2015) in which Africa-based volunteer programs were broadly cancelled due to the Ebola outbreak, volunteers are back in Namibia! Kristin’s family and KLSF Board of Directors are thrilled that her enthusiastic devotion to filling each day with meaningful experiences for her learners will continue to be an inspiration for Namibian youth who are anxious to take their place in a better world. We anticipate that the warm and welcoming Namibian people, the vibrancy and challenges of a young country, and the striking contrasts of the Namibian landscape will continue to be the experience that talented volunteers, attracted by WorldTeach, carry home with them to share with family and friends. We are certain you will enjoy the attached newsletter with updates from the first months of the 2016 volunteers’ experiences. KLSF has worked with groups strongly connected to Kristin’s own experiences and has supported both formal classroom learning and experiences beyond the classroom that provided learning no book could teach. The people and places Kristin and the foundation have introduced into our world vision are familiar now to us not simply as places—St. Boniface College in northern Namibia, Providence St. Mel Summer Opportunity of a Lifetime (SOAL) and Camp of Dreams on the west side of Chicago, A Room to Read in South Africa, and Akilah Women’s Institute in Rwanda—but as images of young people we met there and their innovative and thoughtful contributions to a more positive, inclusive world.
KLSF continues to work toward bringing positive change with financial support to A Social Ignition. This Oregon-based organization boldly strives to develop the potential of men soon to be released from prison, and supports the long term sustainability of the families and communities to which they return by teaching entrepreneurship inside prison and providing individualized follow-up coaching during their re-entry. With a mission to support individuals who strive to positively change our world and Kristin’s heart-felt commitment to educational means, the outcomes for this under-resourced group of learners brightens. Following their journeys takes us yet again into a world beyond our own experience.
We want to continue to share KLSF news with you! In the future we plan to make more extensive use of email capabilities and hope you will embrace that effort!
With gratitude for your ongoing and enthusiastic support,
The KLSF Board of Directors
Dana Bonkowski, David Kirby, Lauren Ratner, Amy Sagues, Kai Skvarla, and Madelynn Skvarla
Meika Hilsman, Sanders Lowery, Michael MacHarg, and Dave Skvarla