Uncategorized

Welcome National Relationship Director, Chessney Barrick

IMG_9692

We recently welcomed Chessney Barrick to our staff as National Relationship Director. Chessney comes to ORPHANetwork with 10 years of non-profit experience, having served as Director of Development and Marketing at Stop Hunger Now and as Founder of Fill the Bowls. Chessney has been serving as a volunteer with ORPHANetwork since 2007.

In this week’s blog article, we feature Chessney’s reflections on following her Calling to Nicaragua and her new role at ORPHANetwork.

In 2007 I traveled to Nicaragua as a student leader with my church. I had recently been hired as the Director of Development with Stop Hunger Now, a hunger relief organization. We witnessed the work ORPHANetwork was doing in impoverished communities to break the cycle of poverty.

A powerful collaborative partnership started to take shape, the goal was to get rice/soy fortified meals donated to support the development of a new ORPHANetwork feeding center program in a community serving 1,200 kids. In 2009, ORPHANetwork received its first shipment of 285,000 fortified rice meals to serve this one community. To date, ORPHANetwork’s feeding programs have evolved to 285 Local Church Initiatives serving more than 22,000 kids. To date, Stop Hunger Now has donated more than 6.2 million meals.

Each time I visited Nicaragua thereafter, I left awe-inspired. The impact of the ministry was clear, ORPHANetwork and its partners were changing the lives of children and creating new opportunities for their future. I challenged myself to consider making a decision on how I was going to commit both professionally and personally to this cause. I went from thinking about it to doing it.

This lead me to founding Fill the Bowls.

In the organization’s inaugural year we partnered with ORPHANetwork to launch four Life Changing Local Church Initiatives in Matagalpa, one of the least food secure regions of Nicaragua. We are delighted to report that 412 children are being nourished through daily hot meals, medical care, spiritual development and so much more.

Screen Shot 2017-01-31 at 3.58.02 PMGod has lead me every step of the way in this journey to answer His Call to serve children in Nicaragua.  He opened the door for me to go all-in. I am thrilled to serve as National Relationship Director for ORPHANetwork.  

ORPHANetwork partners with churches, non-profits, individual investors and families to build long-term relationships with national leaders, children and parents of each community we serve. Working together we address the specific needs of each community, continually working towards the goal of breaking the cycle of poverty through health, education and jobs.

God has answered my prayer.  He has used my journey over the past 10 years and more than 20 trips to Nicaragua to equip me to serve alongside the passionate ORPHANetwork staff and supporters who have dedicated their lives to this ministry.

Through committing myself to working with kids, I hope to encourage others to pour themselves into what matters most to them.  How will you go from thinking about it to doing it?

To learn how you can take action click here.

Brightest Blessings,

Chessney

Partner Orphanage Home Graduation Photos

Casa Bernabe, Puerto Cabezas

Hogar de Fe

Illeana, Belkis, Justin, Junior, Edwin, Paula, Imara

High School and Sixth Grade Grads. L to R: Illeana, Belkis, Justin(6th), Junior, Edwin(6th), Paula, Imara

Casa Bernabe, Veracruz

Yader, Aydalina, and Freydaling - high school

Yader, Aydalina, and Freydaling – high school

Shereen - sixth grade with preschool class

Shereen – sixth grade with preschool class

Our Angel “Angelita”

Angela Del Socorro Castro copyAngela’s story could be considered one of abandonment, disease and death, but that’s just not how our Creator works. God designed Angela’s story to be one of Forgiveness, Courage and Faith. Her story is not only her own, but also the entire home of 80 children at el Canyon and loving staff as well as our ORPHANetwork Nica staff who have walked along side her in this past year during her inspiring fight against cancer.

Late last year, Angela’s mother abandoned her at the hospital – she was 14 years old and undergoing chemotherapy for a rare cancer, Rhabdomyosarcoma, most commonly occurring in children.

Mi Familia (similar to social services in the US) presented her case to the staff at El Canyon, and in December they took on the daunting challenge of caring for an abandoned teenager with cancer. Weekly doctor visits, surgeries, and discouraging reports from the doctors were overshadowed by Angela’s fighting spirit. Cinthia, the home’s director shared this earlier in the year, “Angela is a warrior, always facing things with great Faith that God will completely heal her. She has many plans for the future and although her family abandoned her in the hospital, she does not harbor resentments and she forgives them.”

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. James 1:12 NIV

angela-with-director

Angela with Home Director, Carolina, in April 2016

While God’s plan did not encompass healing Angela from cancer, He did design her time at the home to unite the children and staff, inspiring them to live life fully and unselfishly. “Everyone here has felt the presence of God in our lives, allowing us to accompany her in this battle, she has united us as a family. Our hearts are grateful for what we have; we have learned to be less selfish, which fills us with much joy and peace. We are very grateful for all of the signs of affection and solidarity that have been given to “Angelita” and to us in these difficult times. The prayers, the visits and everyone’s concern has been very comforting to us.” ~ Cinthia, Director of El Canyon

 

We would like to extend a very special thank you to our church partners at Dulles Community Church (VA) for making some really special celebrations possible this year at El Canyon. A formal Quinceñera party for Angela and all of the girls who celebrated this big day in 2016 and also a very special surprise Titanic movie party for her 15th birthday in which Angela was dressed like a princess.  Our partners at Grace City (MD) also supported the staff at el Canyon to provide specialized counsel from a Child Life Specialist from Johns Hopkins.

Angela

Angelita, you have touched the hearts of so many people. Thank you for teaching us how to better love each other. We know you are living a beautiful, pain free life in Heaven with our Father God.

Angela del Socorro Castro García

August 25, 2001-November 1, 2016

This Campaign has ended. No more pledges can be made.