JBFC in 2014: Year in Review

December 30, 2014 11:46 pm Published by

It seems like I say this every year, but it’s still true – 2014 was an amazing year for JBFC.

And before I get in to just how amazing, I want to take a moment to say THANK YOU!

Thank you to everyone who read a blog, liked a post on Facebook, shared a picture, told someone about JBFC, and donated their time, their sweat, and their money. We could not accomplish what we do in Tanzania without all of your love, support, and prayers. All of our successes this year are your successes… because you made them possible. So, Asante, which is Swahili for Thank You.

JBFC saw our campus, staff, our girls and our mission grow this year.

One of the things I am most excited about this year is JBFC’s new healthcare clinic. Despite a series of starts and stops, we fulfilled our promise to provide access to healthcare for our community. JBFC’s model rests on four pillars – refuge for vulnerable girls, education, economic development through agriculture and access to healthcare. We know you can’t climb your way out of poverty if you’re waylaid by disease. JBFC opened its clinic in October and started treating dozens of patients.

We also welcomed our new nurse, Paskazia, to the team. She is also serving as role model and matron for our girls. If you ever wonder what your support means to JBFC, this is a perfect example of the power of your faith and commitment. Thanks to an anonymous donor in Tulsa, we were able to finish our administration building which houses the clinic. Thanks to donors in New York we were able to stock the clinic with supplies and had the money to hire Paskazia. Donors who bought tiles at JBFC’s fundraiser paid for medical check-ups for our students, many of whom wouldn’t see a qualified medical professional otherwise. When I think of all of the people who made this clinic possible, I am blown away by the generosity of our friends. You guys truly are amazing.

In 2014, JBFC’s Joseph & Mary Schools continued to shine. Thanks to a determined young JBFC Ambassador we now have 90 eReaders and a library of tablets to enrich our students’ educations (Read more about Nina McManus’ project here). Our 7th graders once again had a 100% pass rate on the Tanzanian National Exam. That’s the fourth year in a row and it places us in the top 3.5% of schools in the entire nation. And our students made connections across the globe writing to pen pals in Bronxville, NY, Tulsa, OK and Charlottesville,VA.

JBFC’s Farm has had its most productive year to date. We can’t thank our Permaculture Pals, Mark Shepherd, EJ & Sophie Oppenheimer enough for their expertise, back-breaking hard work, and insight. Thanks to the programs they helped us put in place, we’re harvesting nearly 400 pounds of food a week! When you serve 200,000 meals a year – that means a lot!!! Thanks to our supporters JBFC was also able to go 100% solar this year. Our water and electricity are now all powered by the sun. All in all, we’re saving money, improving nutrition, and starting a mini green revolution in our village.

2014’s Guest Season was also one for the record books. We had more than 100 volunteers again this year, many of them were high school students hailing from all over the U.S. They worked hard, played hard, and were hard to forget. The girls hope to see you all back next year.

Speaking of our girls…

Look how big they got…

I mean look at little Esther
Just two years ago…

And now…

When people ask me what I’m most proud of… these girls are it.

We welcomed two new girls to the family this year, Leah and Lucy, as we prepare for our oldest girls to start the next phase of their lives. We have eight rising seniors, who are slated to graduate from secondary school at the end of 2015. This is a bittersweet moment for me personally, since I’ve watched these little girls grow into young women over the last seven years. But I’m bursting with pride that our girls are doing something many girls in Tanzania, many girls in the world, never do – they’re finishing secondary school. These young ladies will have the tools to make a good life for themselves. JBFC will always be there home, I will always be Dad, but soon they will be leaving the nest. We’re excited and nervous, but mostly excited (all you parents out there know what I’m talking about).

Once again, thank you for being part of our 2014. This highlight reel doesn’t even come close to capturing all of the great things that happened on campus. And please remember your support matters.

If you’re one of the 90 people who have already given, on behalf of our girls, students, and staff, I truly thank you from the bottom of my heart. You will help us continue to make a difference in the world.

If you are considering making a year-end contribution, please think about giving to JBFC. Your donation will mean more than a tax break – your impact is immediate and can last a lifetime.

I’ll have more on what’s next for JBFC in 2015 later this week. Happy New Year!

Chris Gates is JBFC’s Founder and CEO.


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This post was written by Mainsprings