Update on University student Maureen Wairimu


As reported in a previous newsletter article and Facebook posts Maureen’s education has been sponsored since she began attending Jambo Jipya in second grade. Her excellent grades granted her admission to the nationally recognized Bahari Secondary Boarding school for girls in Kilifi County which was also funded by a generous donor with Reason2Smile. Since graduation in December of 2016 Maureen applied and was admitted to the University of Nairobi’s School of Economics which she began in September of 2017. Her university tuition is being for by the 2017 Calhoun Senior Experience class. Their annual fashion show fundraiser raised 10,000 USD which was donated to Reason2Smile on Maureen’s behalf. This way “seniors are supporting another senior.” My son Ryan and classmate Olivia DelGaudio traveled with me to Kenya in April 2017 to tell her the news in person. It was a wonderful trip with memories that will last a lifetime. Maureen is starting her second semester and here is an email note that she sent to the 2018 Calhoun Senior Experience class:

“I had a successful first semester at the University of Nairobi that began in September. It was interesting to meet new friends, have lecturers instead of teachers and adapt to a new environment and a different teaching mode.

I did eight units for the first Semester (the maximum allowed) being mostly common units that a university student must complete before concentrating with one’s course of interest.

The units were Psychology, Economic History of Kenya, Logics, Micro-Economics, Sociology Legal Systems and Legal Methods, Basic Mathematics and Communication Skills.

I shall now be registering for different units in the coming semester and major units that now focus on Economics as a course.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you – your kind hearts have allowed a poor child the opportunity to now become an educated lady of substance that will go on to give back to her society. Without your support I would not be able to live my dream – words cannot express my gratitude.

Yours Sincerely,

Maureen Wairimu.


Construction Update

IMG_2134-2Due to our successful Giving Tuesday campaign this past November, Reason2Smile was able to address the structural damage that occurred because of the Kenya government paving the road in front of the Jambo Jipya School. While this was a much-needed improvement, there was no proper drainage, run off or sewer system included. The elevated cement road allowed a huge pool of runoff water to settle against the wall of the school causing damage that needed to be addressed immediately. The construction work took place during the month of December while school was not in session. We are happy with the results – a new fortified wall and foundation, runoff drainage and roof repair work. I will personally inspect the construction project this March/April when I make my next trip to Kenya.

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Engaging Cultural Diversity Through Music, Dance, Film, Food, and the Visual Arts

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Adirondack Global Arts Festival was created with the purpose of promoting culturally diverse arts programming in the Adirondacks.  The Lake Placid Center for the Arts, Reason 2 Smile, Adirondack Diversity Initiative, John Brown Lives and Adirondack Film Society have collaborated to bring this festival to the communities of the Adirondacks.

The festival this year is diverse and includes in school programming, restaurant events, LPCA events and more.  In school events slated for March 6th, 8th, and 9th at Westport School and a screening of the movie Coco for area students in the Spanish language arts, March 9th at LPCA.  Friday evening March 9th brings music events to two local restaurants including a live broadcast of the Beat Authority.  Saturday morning March 10th is Kids Fest in Saranac Lake at the Adirondack Carousel.  Our festival culminates with all afternoon and evening programming Saturday March 10th at the LPCA..  Workshops for all ages, an indoor street fair, and performances all within the theme of Global Arts.

This year’s festival brings 3 headlining performers to the LPCA from the Burlington area.  Taiko Japanese drummers, Jeh Kulu West African Drum and Dance Troupe and Sabouyouma Funk Fusion West African Band.  Our street fair and workshops will range from Tibetan singing bowls and henna tatoos, to Kenyan goods and Caribbean food.


Adirondack Global Arts Festival

is an annual community event.

It is created with the support of local sponsors and grants