Meet The Overcomers
By Jerry Carnill, President & CEO
(June 28, 2019 Update) Thank you to all the donors who have given to the Overcomers campaign thus far. We greatly appreciate your support. Please know the women and kids enrolled in our programs appreciate it as well. Despite some generous gifts, we’re well short of our goals for funding our programs through the end of 2019 and really need your help. Our desire is to continue serving all 200 Overcomers attending our after-school, women’s programs or children’s home. We don’t want to turn anyone away! If you can help, donate here.
I’d like to introduce you to three people who are working to escape generational poverty and oppression. We call them “The Overcomers”. They have the spirit, drive and perseverance to overcome huge obstacles – but they need love and support to get there.
You’ll see yourself in the Overcomers. They’re fighters. Currently we have nearly 200 Overcomers enrolled in our after-school, children’s home and women’s programs. And we know 100 more who desperately want to join them.
I’d like to tell you about them and ask for your help.
Toby Brings Dad to Tears
Imagine overcoming the pull to join a gang, and going to school in a foreign language.
“Toby” comes from a Congolese family that speaks French and lives in a settlement near Cape Town. He attends our Dream Centre After-School program. He was identified as likely to drop out school like 60% of his peers do. Many end up in gangs or prostitution.
“He’s too far behind and doesn’t have the focus to catch up,” his first grade teacher said. Toby worked so hard that year. Later, we got a call from his teacher who asked, “what happened to Toby? What had we done to make such a difference?” At the end of grade 1, Toby received an award for “Most Improvement” with a special designation for his diligence and sweet spirit. His parents were overjoyed. With tears in his eyes, his father said he didn’t think Toby could do it. Toby is now a successful fourth grader. Sadly, 78% of fourth graders cannot read in South Africa.
At the Dream Centre we’re giving kids like Toby the opportunity to flourish through homework help, extracurricular activities and mentoring. Today, he is an Overcomer.
Marilyn’s Dress Success
Imagine overcoming self-doubt and no education to provide for your children. Marilyn is part of the Pathway For Hope program we operate in the struggling community of Taytay, Rizal near Manila. The women of this community have few options to gain an education or earn a living, so we offered Golden Hands Sewing Course to 13 women.
Marilyn stood out for two reasons. First, she was the most joy-filled enrollee and kept all the women laughing. Second, she had no education and faced a fierce battle learning the math involved in the patternmaking class. She also struggled to keep up with the instructions because she couldn’t read.
Most people would give up and drop out – feeling discouraged, worthless and hopeless. But not Marilyn. She was determined to succeed. She worked extra hard until the end of the course, and with a little help, met every requirement.
Marilyn not only graduated the course, she made the most impressive dress that sparkled almost as much as her smile. She’s now an Overcomer.
Sara’s Adversity Challenge
Imagine overcoming hopelessness to thrive. Sara has grown up as part of the Quito Dump Recycling Community. Her family has picked through the trash for generations to make a meager living. Her grandmother and mother have attended our women’s program since its conception. Sara joined our school support program in 2016.
Tragedy struck Sara’s family this year when her grandmother passed away from cancer, leaving her single mom to support herself and her two young daughters. Sadly, her mother’s fight with an extremely rare disease came to a head last fall, preventing her from recycling and earning money. Her illness is costing money the family doesn’t have.
In the face of such adversity, Sara didn’t crumble. In fact, her most recent report card tells the tale of a girl who is successfully overcoming immense challenges with excellent grades and even better behavior. Day after day, Sara chooses to walk through the door of our program with determination, embrace her community and tackle her homework. Sara is friendly, sensitive, respectful, shy, generous, fun and responsible. Now we’ve added “Overcomer” to her attributes.
We Need Your Help!
Courses resume shortly, but our programs funds are running on fumes. The next Golden Hands course starts in June. The Quito school year starts in September and school in South Africa runs year-round. We need to be ready.
Unfortunately, we are in danger of having to turn away women and children from our programs. But, if we raise $69,000 by July 2, we’ll have enough for all The Overcomers in our programs for the rest of 2019. The funds will meet crucial needs like daily hot meals, educational materials, sewing equipment/supplies, power, water and more.
Imagine the difference you can make in the life of someone who wants to overcome.
With your help, we will change the futures of those we serve. Give online here and designate your gift “Overcomers”. Or, send your gift to P.O. Box 345 Snellville, GA 30078-0345
(The names of children referenced above have been changed to protect their privacy.)
Year End Matching Gifts Goal Reached!
(Jan. 1, 2019)
We’re pleased to announce ER did qualify for matching funds of $200,000. Thank you to all who donated!
Last month I shared how ER is Investing in Human Futures to help people escape generational poverty. We’re excited because our staff is growing really quickly, our volunteer teams are filling up and our partners are positioned to make 2019 a year of incredible impact. We have so much opportunity to impact vulnerable women and children that it’s a little scary.
Together, I know we can do it. Here’s one reason. Generous ER donors have pledged $200,000 in matching funds, but only if we raise the funds from other donors by Dec. 31. That means your year-end donation can be matched dollar-for-dollar!
Hopefully you read about the inspiring journeys of “Juan” in the Quito Dump community and “Kenton” (scroll below) in the South Africa Dream Centre. These are real kids whose lives have been radically improved through nutrition, education, encouragement and your support.
We’ve identified hundreds more women and children ready to experience life change through rescue and restoration, access to education, skills training and business development. Our staff and programs are poised to help them in 2019.
Together, we have the opportunity to create lasting, sustainable impact for a generation of children by helping their moms overcome oppressive circumstances.
But we need your help to fund these initiatives. Your donation of $100, $1000 or $10,000 will be doubled, bringing ER $200, $2,000 or $20,000! Would you invest in the futures of vulnerable people by contributing to ER’s 2018 “Matching Funds” campaign by Dec. 31?
Giving is easy. Go to www.extremeresponse.org, click the “Donate” button and designate your gift “2018 Match”. Your gift is tax-deductible and ER will provide a receipt for tax purposes.
On behalf of ER, our staff, partners and the precious families we serve, thank you so much for helping to change lives. Best wishes for a joy-filled Christmas and New Year!
Jerry Carnill, President & CEO
Extreme Response International
P.O. Box 345 Snellville, GA 30078-0345
P.O. Box 1013, Simcoe On N3Y 5B3
“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
(Nov. 20, 2018)
If you’re like me, you heard that question a lot when you were a kid. It’s something adults ask kids to get them talking and thinking about their future. My heart breaks each time I encounter a child who believes they have no future, or worse, a child who has no hope.
At Extreme Response we are investing in human futures!
Today we rejoice that many kids who are growing up in families from the “Quito Dump Community” are thriving in school. Just a few years ago their parents didn’t value education, but today they realize how vital it is. In fact, the mindset of many in the Dump Community has changed to value education, good parenting, and good nutrition. For years you have heard me say that true life change takes place through relationships. Our staff has invested time and tears to help bring about this transformation. But there is more to be done.
Tragedy, sorrow and malnutrition have been constants in “Juan’s” short life. Not long after his older sister died from hepatitis, his mother left him in the care of his alcoholic father who picks through trash in Quito. Juan found our after-school program in Quito to be a safe place. He received love, food and acceptance. A few weeks ago Juan proudly showed off his first professional haircut. He earned the money to pay for the haircut using skills our team had taught him. Juan is now in school and realizes he has a future where he will be encouraged and helped as he takes advantage of opportunities to learn and grow intellectually, spiritually and physically.
Our goal is to help children, women and men break the cycle of generational poverty into which they were born.
“Kenton” is in first grade. He struggles academically and has anger issues. He lives in an extreme situation that includes poverty, trauma and abuse. Sadly, many children in South African townships have similar stories. At the ER Dream Centre,
Kenton has discovered that he has a future. Through consistent love and discipline, along with academic reinforcement and intervention with his teacher, Kenton has settled into first grade. He has learned to hold his temper and solve conflict with words. Kenton’s mother has new hope for her son’s future.
At times our task seems overwhelming.
Our plan to help the next generation pull themselves out of generational spiritual and physical poverty is simple – we invest in orphans and vulnerable children, preparing them to take advantage of opportunities that come their way. We empower women so they can actively help their kids dream bigger and go further. We provide education and training assistance, which will help turn dreams into reality. And we develop community-based leaders who walk with those we serve.
The plan is simple, but it takes all of us to change a future.
Right now, we need your help so we can:
- Feed, clothe and love orphans through ER programs.
- Add mentoring for kids and adults involved with our Quito Dump Program.
- Expand the South Africa Dream Centre to invest in more kids like Kenton.
- Train hundreds of women in skills they can invest in their children’s futures.
We need you to serve as a volunteer and to help meet the financial costs involved in changing lives. Will you invest in a girl, boy, man or woman? Will you help change their futures?
Faithful supporters of ER are once again pledging to match every dollar donated up to $200,000! So your investment will be doubled as soon as we receive it.
With your help, we can continue to change the futures of those we serve and their communities. See the 2019 Program Overview that outlines some of our key plans. In addition, your donation will help us impact thousands more vulnerable people as we work with our 30 partners in nine countries around the world.
(*The names of children referenced above have been changed to protect their privacy.)
Jerry Carnill, President & CEO
P.S. Donations received through this campaign are critical to our annual budget. Donate online and designate your gift “2018 Match”. Or, send your gift to either address below.
Extreme Response International
P.O. Box 345 Snellville, GA 30078-0345
P.O. Box 1013, Simcoe On N3Y 5B3
2019 Extreme Response Program Overview
ER operates five programs in three countries that exist to meet the physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs of people living in harsh conditions to help them escape generational poverty.
Quito Dump Community – Ecuador (Accomplishing these ER Initiatives: Orphans & Vulnerable Children, Educational Access, Women’s Empowerment, Leadership Development)
We help recycling families reach their full potential with a heavy focus on education.
2019 Impact Goal: Help 100+ people in the dump community take steps toward breaking the cycle of poverty. We will train/equip 60+ women in life skills, family health/nutrition and business skills. Equip 10 men with basic carpentry/electrical skills. Help 15 families with parenting, budgeting and family management. Tutor/mentor 44+ children weekly.
The Dream Centre – South Africa (Accomplishing these ER Initiatives: Orphans & Vulnerable Children, Educational Access)
The Dream Centre provides a safe, wholesome environment where children receive homework help, literacy, and life skills training, and learn to dream big dreams.
2019 Impact Goal: Prepare 33 at-risk children for higher education and to be leaders in their communities. Expand our facilities to impact 75 children annually.
Manila Children’s Home (MCH) and Manila Children’s Home Network – Philippines (Helping fulfill these ER Initiatives: Orphans & Vulnerable Children, Educational Access, Leadership Development)
We provide an award-winning home and family environment for vulnerable children – many who were living on the streets. Through the MCH Network, we help children’s homes across the Philippines achieve greater care practices.
2019 Impact Goal: Provide children with a future that includes an education, job opportunities and family leadership skills. About 400 kids are impacted by Network.
Pathway for Hope – Philippines
(Accomplishing these ER Initiatives: Women’s Empowerment, Orphans & Vulnerable Children)
We empower women holistically so they can influence their families and communities.
2019 Impact Goal: Help 43 families (190 people) become self-sustaining through childcare, savings groups, skills/business training and health care.
Golden Hands – Philippines
(Accomplishing these ER Initiatives: Women’s Empowerment, Leadership Development)
We empower urban poor women using livelihood skills training to improve productivity, self-confidence, income generation and sustainability.
2019 Impact Goal: Help 32 families (145 people) provide safe homes/education for their children. Train/equip 32 women to support their family’s livelihood through sewing.
Note: Impact Goals are generated by in-country staff and reflect cultural, financial and volunteer resources.
(Keep scrolling to see how you can invest in the lives of vulnerable people through the work of ER.)
Providing Humanitarian Help Around the World
By Jerry Carnill, ER President and CEO
(Dec. 27, 2017)
I’ve been around impoverished people for many years and it still breaks my heart to see them suffer. Why are they homeless, hungry, hurt and hopeless?
I probably sound frustrated, but seeing such suffering actually has caused me to double down on helping The Next Generation escape poverty. At Extreme Response, we’ve spent last year strategizing on how to do this. We now have a powerful plan in place.
Before I share our plan, allow me to illustrate why we’re doubling down by sharing the journey of Gina.
Gina grew up in metro Manila, the largest city in the Philippines with 18 million people competing for limited work and housing. Life here is stressful under ideal circumstances. It’s downright dangerous if you live on the streets like Gina’s family.
Despite her challenges, they were getting by…until one fateful day. Gina was struck by a bus-like vehicle called a jeepney as she sold candy and cigarettes on the street.
The accident severely injured her legs. She was unable to afford therapy or medical supplies and ended up disabled – confined to an old, beat-up wheelchair. Any chance Gina, her husband and four kids had for better lives was gone.
Without intervention, Gina’s future would be bleak. Her four children, currently ages 13, 11, 9 and 4, likely would drop out of school, remain homeless and try to survive on the streets where they would face abuse, drugs and disease.
We’re Doubling Down on Helping Gina, Mercedes and JT Escape a Lifetime of Poverty. Here’s How…
Gina’s family’s situation was hopeless, right? Would another generation be lost? (Keep reading to find out what happened next to Gina.)
It’s situations like Gina’s that caused us to rethink how we help people. Our strategy calls for providing immediate help and long-term investment designed to break the binds of generational poverty. Here’s how we plan to do it:
Stabilize the lives of vulnerable women and children by providing nutrition and emotional support.
Teach life skills to at-risk women so they can navigate life challenges and guide their families.
Help them develop job skills and launch small businesses.
Provide educational support and encouragement to their kids so they stay in school and graduate. We’ll provide school supplies, uniforms and after-school homework help.
Work with ER staff, programs and partners on joint-initiatives designed to lift up impoverished families until The Next Generation is self-sustainable.
Our plan calls for helping the entire family. But experience has taught us that women and children shoulder an unfair burden of poverty.
We’re building on the lessons we’ve learned through 21 years of helping people living in extreme, often life-threatening conditions. Many of those lessons came through our work in the Quito Dump where we first started reaching out to the generational poor in 1997.
During the two decades we’ve worked in the Dump, we’ve helped change the lives of hundreds of families. We’ve seen big improvements in nutrition, health and emotional stability. We’ve helped 15 families build homes.
Today we’re strengthening our focus on creating lifetime impact.
Mercedes is a recycler at the Quito Dump. Like others in her family, she dug through the trash to collect items to recycle in order to earn enough to survive. Mercedes has led a hard life.
But a few years ago Mercedes got involved with ER’s Women’s Empowerment program at the Quito Dump where she learned how to hand-make crafts that could be sold to earn money to help her family.
ER staff poured into Mercedes and her sister. Because of their work ethic and aptitude, they were chosen to represent all the women in the program who are selling hand-made goods. They sell crafts, keep the books and distribute the funds.
The sisters also began doing some cleaning work at the local gym. These opportunities changed Mercedes’ life.
And when Mercedes needed surgery to repair her leg, an ER staff member raised the funds for her successful procedure. Today, with the help of ER donors and staff, Mercedes is using her life and business skills to sustain herself and help provide for her children and grandchildren.
Our investment in Mercedes is impacting three generations!
Seeing Mercedes overcome these challenges reinforces our efforts to double down on helping The Next Generation. Her family now has a real opportunity to break out of generational poverty.
Then there’s JT, a seven-year-old boy who attends ER’s Dream Centre after-school program in South Africa. Talk about a great Next Generation story.
JT lives with his mother Nicole, sister and grandmother in Oceanview. The family speaks Afrikaans at home while JT learns English at school.
Last year, his family needed to go to a safe house for several months because of domestic violence. While there, JT didn’t attend school. He was very behind, yet the school sent him to Grade 2 anyway.
JT began the year unable to recognize the alphabet. He couldn’t write his name. The school system was failing him!
The flats where JT lives are overcrowded with gangs and violence. One day an ER staff member opened the shuttle door and found JT pointing a gun at a boy’s head. It was a toy, but it shocked and saddened our team. He’s seen way more violence than any youngster should. His mother and ER are highly focused on keeping him off the streets.
Somehow, despite all of this, JT recently read his 100th book this year! His mother is incredibly proud of JT and so are we. JT’s once dark future is now bright.
And what about Gina? I’m excited to say that Gina is a star performer in ER’s Golden Hands Educational Livelihood program. Our staff reached out to her early this year and taught her how to weave colorful dust rags. She excelled at this and has developed a clientele of buyers.
Gina also is thriving in the Golden Hands sewing program. Once she graduates the program, she will receive a sewing machine to help support her family, keep her kids in school and save for housing. Her goal is for her children graduate and escape poverty.
Gina has true hope that her Next Generation will be self-sustainable!
I could share many more stories, but I hope you see the incredible opportunity we have to empower women, help vulnerable kids and impact The Next Generation.
While we have a proven strategy in place, seasoned staff, highly engaged partners and hundreds of compassionate volunteers, we really need your help to double down on rescuing The Next Generation of vulnerable women and children.
We Need Your Help!
Today I’m asking for your generous support. Would you donate to ER and help us create The Next Generation of sustainable families?
On behalf of ER, our staff, partners and the precious families we serve, thank you so much for helping to change lives!
Below is a blog we posted in November 2015. It captures the heart of ER and why we provide humanitarian help to those who desperately need it.
A Personal Note From Jerry Carnill, ER President & CEO
Have you ever been in a situation that appeared hopeless?
At ER, we intentionally interject ourselves into the lives of people who believe there is no hope for their future. For years, we have been privileged to bring help for today and hope for a better future to kids, moms and dads who couldn’t see any way out of their situations.
When we first stepped into the Quito Dump in 1997, we encountered hundreds of people living in the trash. Most were working very hard to provide for their families. But they longed for their children to have a better future.
For many of these parents, this dream has come true. The younger children who have attended our preschool are well prepared for primary school.
Hope breeds hope.
The older children who attend our after-school tutoring program are on their way to finishing high school. Moms are now attending a club designed to help them grow personally and as a parent.
Fathers are stepping up to care for their families with the encouragement of the ER staff. Parents have taken advantage of the opportunities provided by ER and their kids are thriving.
Hope breed hope.
This new hope has helped 15 families scrimp and save enough money to buy small plots of land. Then, together with ER volunteers and staff, they built block homes with cement floors and roofs that don’t leak.
The world is full of hurting people who have no hope for their future. We have expanded our impact by placing staff members and outreach programs in Asia and Africa to allow us to bring them the same hope that Ecuadorians now enjoy.
Many of you receiving this letter have volunteered with us. You may know Dawn and me or other ER staff members. You may even know some of the children we are reaching.
I’m writing to ask for your help. Many kids in our programs are more highly educated than their parents, but are stuck in poverty.
Imagine a child from the Dump community as an expert welder, working in an office or graduating from college. This is not hopeless fantasy. It is an attainable dream! It’s attainable because, with your help, ER can introduce these kids to opportunities that will fuel their hope and open the world to them.
Hope breeds hope.
We need you to help the ER kids around the world break out of their extreme poverty. Would you please consider giving a financial gift before the end of this year as part of our matching funds campaign?
You will be helping us begin 2016 knowing we can bring hope for a better future to the dump families in Quito, the boys in our Children’s Home in Manila the kids in our Dream Centre after-school program in Cape Town, and ER partners working in 10 countries.
Together, we can bring life changing hope.
Jerry Carnill is President and CEO of Extreme Response International. He co-founded Extreme Response in 1997 following a visit to the Zambiza Dump in Quito, Ecuador. Today, ER operates humanitarian outreach programs in Quito, Manila and Cape Town, as well as formal relationships with 30+ humanitarian partners serving the poor in Africa, Asia and the Americas. Contact Jerry at email@example.com.