Out of the handful of Kiswahili words I have learned during my time in Kenya, one stands out: Karibu. Karibu means "welcome" and it is both the first word I heard in Kenya and the word I have heard most often here. Shae & Jason welcomed me into their Nairobi home during my stay and I was greeted warmly by the organizations they have partnerships with. 

We spent many days at Kings Kids Village, a home for children affected by extenuating circumstances (HIV/AIDS, death of parents, community violence). Shaé counsels several of the children there and Jason has organized a soccer team amongst the boys. I was able to provide trainings in the areas of appropriate discipline, teenage mental health, and self-care to the caregivers and teachers who tirelessly provide for these children. We facilitated a few outings to give the children opportunities for fellowship and leisure time off campus, providing a "spa day" for the girls and a trip to Karura Forest for the boys.

We attended church alongside these young women at another partner home for teenage mothers. With a familiar "karibu," they invited me to explore their facilities and meet their children. Shaé and I later returned with school supplies and toiletries to offer the girls. We hosted a parenting training and the young women impressed me with their eagerness to learn about how to nurture their children.

Within a few days of my trip, it was easy to see how Shaé and Jason have made a positive and lasting difference in the lives of Kenyan children, through their work with Kutoa Project. Shaé has established trustworthy and stable alliances in the community. These vulnerable children and teenagers are receiving crucial mental health interventions in order to heal from trauma and create a bright future for themselves. Shaé and Jason make daily efforts to connect with caregivers and people in the local community to offer their support and build connections.

By supporting Kutoa Project, you are making a difference in the lives of children affected by trauma, teenagers preparing for adulthood, young mothers trying to offer their children a brighter future, caregivers who dedicate their lives to orphaned children, program directors who ensure the children's safety, and people in the community who benefit from mental health awareness.

Kenya is a beautiful country with a fascinating culture. I thank you for taking the time to read about my experience and hope you consider increasing your support for Kutoa Project. If you have the opportunity to visit, I am sure you will also be greeted with a warm and genuine "karibu."   

Danielle DeAngelis

Mental Health Counselor

Denver, Colorado