From opposite sides of the world two families share a common connection in their support of Isack, one of our Form 1 students.
Jim and Bridget are both teachers, so they understand the value of education to a student like Isack.
“As two people who have spent their entire careers in education, in different parts of The (United) States, I feel when we’re talking about tackling issues like poverty or about ways we can help communities work through issues related to poverty, education is one of the most valuable places to start if you are going to donate money or time,” Jim said.
Jim was first introduced to Isack in 2015 when he taught him as part of a teacher exchange program.
“Jim came home and talked about Isack and our family made a decision to sponsor him," Bridget said.
"Our kids talk about Isack at home, we share pictures and letters that we get from him. They use some of their allowance to help pay for the sponsorship. I feel like it’s been a great educational experience for our kids.”
On the visit Jim and Bridget share stories with Isack and his family about their everyday lives.
“We met his mom Martha and younger brother Stanley, they were really lovely," Bridget said
"She was really talkative and engaging and asked me a lot of questions. We talked a lot about being moms because I’m a mom of two and she’s a mom of two – we found out we’re a similar age and our kids are similar ages!”
Isack demonstrated how the skills and knowledge he has gained at St Jude’s is already benefiting his family.
Jim was so impressed with Isack, “We got to learn a lot about Isack as well – how he helps around the house. He’s a great guy. He cooks and cleans, is super hardworking, cares a lot about his studies and his school work. He tutors his younger brother.”
Their lives may be worlds apart, but their goal is the same – a quality education for Isack.
“I felt like we had a lot of connection with her just as parents, parents who care about their kids and their education – being proud of your child and feeling like they have a really good opportunity in life. I could tell that was really important to her.” Bridget said about Martha.
“I felt like it was great conversation and there was a lot more in common than we could have guessed," Jim said. "We have a lot in common in terms of what we value and what’s important to us and teaching our kids the right things to do and the right ways to be.”
Jim and Bridget were able to experience first-hand why their support was so valuable, and why boarding is such an essential service that St Jude provides.
“I was really surprised just how long it took to get to Isack’s home and the conditions of the roads – the things that we saw along the way, how the families are living and the lack of resources that you could see around you," Bridget said.
"Just that trip from school out to where he lives got me thinking about that journey to school for all those years he wasn’t boarding.”
The families stay connected even when they can’t all be together in Tanzania.
“St Jude’s has been really great about keeping us connected with Isack through the sponsorship program – sending us updates and letting us know how he is doing at school. The emails we get, we share those with our kids and it helps us stay really connected.” Jim said.
Want to help St Jude’s provide a quality education for a deserving student like Isack? Sponsor a student today!