In October 2014, Jake (9) and Luke (7) Smith visited Achungo along with their parents, Nate and Jen. They had already involved the students at their school, Oak Knoll in Menlo Park. And they knew they’d have stories to tell on their return, but no one expected this family to take the story of Achungo so far so fast.
I think the first thing they did was get their little brothers interested. Sammy and Micah came to the first team meeting and seemed just totally enthralled!
Here are the 4-year-olds at the bottom of the picture on the left. Until that moment I never realized they could sit so still or pay so much attention to anything!!
At the same time, they were mobilizing others. Jen led her mothers group (“Mothers Together” at Menlo Park Presbyterian) to get new backpacks for the Achungo 8th graders (picture at left) and fill them with school materials and other gifts. Their aunt Leslye designed some lovely Zazzle T-shirts for each 8th grader.
And the students in Jake’s and Luke’s classes wrote letters to the students at Achungo which Jake and Luke took to them during their visit. They’ve brought back return letters from Achungo and their classes are thrilled to have begun a pen pal program with these children in Kenya!
In the photo on the left the Achungo students are excited to receive their letters and are working on their return letters.
And in this picture the Achungo 8th graders are receiving the wonderful backpacks!
Yes, the backpacks made it to Kenya. And on their return, Jake and Luke made sure their fellow students at Oak Knoll knew about it!
The picture to the right is from the door to Luke’s classroom with the pictures of the children of Achungo receiving the backpacks.
Jake and Luke not only shared with their classes but gave a presentation over the video news program at their school, sharing the wonderful experience they had with the children of Achungo and how much they all valued the backpacks.
Below are the notes from their talks. They talk about how the Achungo children seemed to have so little but were the happiest kids they’d ever met. What a wonderful representation of how the experience of Achungo changes us and impacts our lives!!
Thanks, Jake and Luke!