The Reynolds Center in Kitale, Kenya, provides community services such as parenting classes. (BOC photo)
Kenya (MNN) ― A family's rich heritage and one women's desire to honor it has led to the establishment of two education centers in Kenya.
Partnering with Buckner International, Katy Reynolds established the Reynolds Ministry Center and Kay School as part of Buckner's Seed of Hope Academy.
With the help of Christian Mission Concerns, a philanthropic foundation, Reynolds realized her dream. The Reynolds Center in Kitale, Kenya was begun by Reynolds in honor of her father-in-law, Herbert Reynolds, former president and chancellor emeritus of Baylor University. Knowing Reynolds long-time desire to visit Africa, Katy and her husband named the center after him in 2007 not long after his death.
The center now provides classes for children of the area during the day and then provides life skills classes for their parents at night.
In addition to the Reynolds Center, Katy and her family also helped establish the Kay School, also located in Kitale. Katy tributes this school to her grandfather, Roy Kay, former president of San Marcos Baptist Academy.
"She considered promoting education in Africa an appropriate way to honor his legacy," said George Henson, a staff writer, on Buckner's Web site.
Through these endeavors in Kenya, Baylor students and faculty have also become involved in helping orphans and their families in Africa.
Professor Jon Singletary, who began teaching at the Baylor School of Social Work in 2003, was first inspired to help out in Africa through inquiry of students.
According to Buckner, his students started asking him questions such as, "How do we find out about orphans? How do [we] find out about HIV and AIDs? How do we find [out] about the violence happening, or about human trafficking and slavery?"
He was impressed that his students were asking about global issues, and he began taking trips to Africa to see what he could do.
Through the influence of a student, he also learned about what Katy Reynolds was doing, and he immediately wanted to help.
A friend had told him, "The best way to care for children in Africa is to make sure they have connections with a family. The best way to care for children in Africa is to make sure those families are surrounded by strong communities," Henson writes.
When he found out that Buckner was following through with this and not simply placing orphans in orphanages but establishing them with relatives, he went to Kenya to attend the opening of the Reynolds Center.
Along with transition houses, which help place orphans with aunts and uncles, cousins or other extended family, "support groups, parenting classes, grief counseling for children and suggestions for children on how to integrate with their new family are included in the program," according to Buckner.
Singletary also keeps up-to-date on the latest numbers of the suffering taking place in Africa. These numbers include as many as 100 million orphans worldwide, of which the vast majority live in Africa. Of these orphans, half their families are affected by HIV and AIDS.
Yet another sobering number is the 30,000 children who die daily from poverty related causes, again the majority from Africa.
"As is true with most people, the numbers don't really change your heart. The numbers almost have the reverse effect; they almost paralyze you. When you hear that number, most of us, it makes you think what can I do, what difference can I make?" Singletary said on Buckner's Web site. "But that's where seeing a child, playing with a child, and for me, seeing a connection between that child and a family, seeing that child has a family they love and a family that loves them comes in. I want to keep that connection strong."
As Reynolds and Singletary continue to provide education and show these children the love of Christ, they cannot do this huge work on their own. To find out how you can help some of the millions in Africa, go to Buckner's Web site.
Also, pray for the church worldwide to change their inward focus to the impact they can make across the world by each individual making a personal decision to tangibly share Christ's love.