Update on Giving Tuesday Capital Improvement Projects

The Jambo Jipya School is getting an update of bathrooms, wall repair and new desks. The bathroom
construction began during the month of December while the school was closed for holiday recess. The
new metal desks have also been constructed during this -me and most are in classrooms for the start
of 2017 school year. The wall repair and paint job will occur during the April holiday recess. This way
no work is occurring while the student are in class and there is no distraction or disruption to their
studies. Above are some pictures of the projects thus far and of course more will be forthcoming.

World Music Festival 2017

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The 5th Annual World Music Festival benefiting Reason2Smile will be held at The Lake Placid
Center for the Arts in Lake Placid, NY on Saturday March 4, 2017 The festival is a celebration of multiple and diverse forms of art and music in order to immerse the rural community of northern NY in the culture of various groups and cultures. The 5th
annual festival is in collaboration with the Adirondack Diversity Advisory Council. There will be pre-festival events hosted by the Lake Placid Brew Pub and Delta Blue throughout the afternoon and evening of Friday March 3rd. Workshops for all ages will be offered throughout Saturday ending in an evening showcase performance on Saturday night. Local and regional artists and performers will be volunteering their time and talents to provide a multicultural event.
For up to date information about the World Music Festival please visit:
Lake Placid Center for the Arts:

Mr. Wilson


Mr. Wilson is the teacher in charge at the Jambo Jipya primary school (preK-grade8). He is a dedicated individual who motivates his fellow teachers by example. His leadership abilities strengthen the educational program at Jambo Jipya fostering student achievement.

Mr. Wilson has been working at the school for quite a while and has been instrumental is the creation of extracurricular programing at Jambo Jipya. He believes that learning occurs inside and outside of the classroom and supports a well-rounded educational experience for students.  Reason2Smile is very happy to report that Jambo Jipya has many extracurricular programs for the students to choose from. Sports clubs meet on Mondays and Fridays while academic clubs meet on  Tuesday and Thursdays. All clubs meet at the end of the day and on Wednesday morning there is school assembly where students report back on their activities and accomplishments.

Here is a sampling of some of the clubs at the Jambo Jipya school:

Wildlife/environmental Club

Journalism Club

Math Club

Chapel/Religion Club

Drama/Speech Club

Music/Singing Club

Debate Club

Peace Club

Soccer Club

Recreational Games Club



Mourine W is a former Jambo Jipya student who received top scores on the Kenyan Certificate of Primary Education Exam. This gained her admission to the Bahari Girls Secondary school in Kilifi County, Kenya. Bahari Girls Secondary School is a nationally recognized girls boarding school by the Kenyan government and has a total enrollment of 363 students and 20 teaching staff members. Mourine began attending Bahari in 2013 thanks to Reason2Smile and the support of a US sponsor. Mourine is now in Form 4 (12th grade) and will be graduating at the end of November after taking rigorous Form 4 examinations. In December, Mourine will begin the application process to University. After the results ofher examinations are released in February, the decision about where to attend university will begin.

Mourine has had a difficult past but has worked hard to get to this point in her life. She has enjoyed her time at Bahari Girls school and has taken advantage of many educational and extracurricular clubs. She plays offence on the girls’ football (soccer) team as well as being a member of the drama club, debate club and the community volunteer club. Her favorite subjects have been in the science and business fields; particularly engineering, medicine and accounting. Mourine is a lovely young lady who hopes to pursue careers in one
of these fields at the university level.
In our spring newsletter we will revisit Mourine’s post-secondary opportunities and will most likely be looking for university sponsorship. Because of Jambo Jipya, Reason2Smile and her sponsors, Mourine has been able to excel and continue her education into the future.

Sponsoring Fikirini K.


Thank you for sponsoring: fikiriniFikirini K.
-a male
-about 16 years old
-lives in Mtwapa, Kenya
-attends Class 8 at Jambo Jipya
-great smile
-extremely kind and caring
Fikirini’s father is no longer around and his mother has passed away. He now lives with
his grandmother along with his older sister. Since Fikirini’s grandmother is extremely
poor, she can barely feed the two children. As a result Jambo Jipya Academy provides
Fikirini and his sister with two meals a day, clothing, healthcare, and an education. They
walk over an hour to get to school every day. Fikirini enjoys school and puts forth
genuine effort in all his classes. Unfortunately he did not attend school on a regular basis
when he was younger so Fikirini had a lot of catching up to do. But he is very
determined and possesses a wonderful work ethic. Thanks to Jambo Jipya and donors
like you, Fikirini has a future and a reason to continue smiling.
*Please check out for more information.
Please consider picking up the sponsorship for the very dynamic and personable young
man. $25 a month – $300 for the year
Email me if you are interested

Giving Tuesday Campaign 2016

givingtuesday-1What is Giving Tuesday? For the purposes of activism #GivingTuesday refers the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. It is a movement to create an international day of giving at the beginning of the holiday season and a response to the commercialism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This will be Reason2Smile’s third year participating in the #Giving Tuesday campaign which falls on November 29th 2016.

This year Reason2Smile would like to raise a minimum of 5,000 dollars and if we meet this goal we will have an additional matching donation of 5,000 from a very generous sponsor.

Reason2Smile is using the money for specific capital improvement projects at the Jambo Jipya School. We have three projects that the money will be allocated for:

New bathrooms = $2,000

Perimeter wall repair with paint job = $1,000

45 New metal desks and chairs = $2,025


Reason2Smile will be asking for donations of different pledge amounts corresponding to different pledge levels.

Bronze Level = $25 – $150

Silver Level = $151 – $350

Gold Level = $351 – $600

Platinum Level = $600 – $1,000

Diamond Level = $1,001 – $2,000

Double Diamond Level = $2,001 & up

Emmanuel Jal’s trip to the Jambo Jipya School in Mtwapa, Kenya


On August 5 the students of the Jambo Jipya school had the privilege of hearing guest speaker Emmanuel Jal. Jal’s unique style of hip hop with its message of peace and reconciliation that was born out of his experiences as a child soldier in the Sudan has won worldwide acclaim. Emmanuel is a powerful advocate for peace and positive change. His “We Want Peace” and “Lose to Win” campaigns resonate with young people and inspire them to make a difference. Through his story, students learn about political and social issues, global citizenship and their responsibility to take a stand about world events. The focus of Jal’s presentation to the Jambo Jipya students was education. He spoke to them about his own struggles in school and how at one point he got UN grades. He thought he was unclassified because he was so smart but the opposite was true. He performed so poorly that he was given no grade. From that moment he programmed himself to make positive change, pushing himself to take advantage of opportunities and to learn from others. He encouraged the students to do their best no matter what their circumstances and to get rid of any negative baggage they have. Jal stressed that there will always be obstacles put in your way – it is up to you whether you let them stop you from reaching your goals. This was the pledge he had all the students recite at the end of his presentation.


“I will work hard in school

I will set goals and dreams

I won’t let obstacles get in my way

Even when things are difficult I will strive to do more

I am proud of my school, my town, and my country

It is up to me to make the world a better place!”


So how did Emmanuel Jal come to visit the JJ school?  Executive Director of Reason2Smile, Donna Rosenblum, a school librarian in New York has had Jal as a guest speaker and performer at her school in 2011 and 2015. Motivated by his story and his accomplishments, Donna discussed the possibility of a trip to Kenya to inspire the students at Jambo Jipya. Finally this possibly became a reality during the summer of 2016 when Jal was planning to do some recording in Nairobi, Kenya at the end of July and then fly to Uganda for a program in August. A side trip to Mtwapa fit perfectly and the planning began. The culminating event was held on August 6th at the Greenwood Resort in Mtwapa. This family fun event was sponsored by local community organizations whose focus was to showcase local talent. The day was filled with events such as freestyle rap, modern dance, traditional dance, modeling and ended with an encore performance by Emmanuel Jal. The experience was amazing, motivating, inspiring, captivating and of course fun!

In closing here is a recent quote of Emmanuel Jal’s – The mind is the greatest battlefield that every person needs to have. When we face countless defeats but still believe there is victory and hope; then you have not lost but are on the path of success. The power of positive thinking is unlimited.”

Regional School Talent Competition


On Saturday July 23, the Jambo Jipya primary school competed in a day long cultural competition with seven other local schools. About thirty Jambo Jipya students competed in categories such as traditional dance, modeling, solo verses, coral verses, modern dance, choir music, journalism, question and answer session as well as field events like tug of war, balloon races, relay and sack races. It was a wonderful to not only watch the students perform but to experience the other students routing and cheering on their fellow classmates. I was so caught up at points that I found myself screaming for Jambo Jipya alongside the teachers and students. This was the first time Jambo Jipya competed in this type of event and I am happy to report that we placed second of the eight schools. While the students were satisfied with their performance, they are determined to work hard and take first place next year.





Last November, two of our long time children’s home orphans graduated from the Jambo Jipya School. Both Ritah Kakai and Jeremiah Kadish are kind, caring and responsible individuals who would like to pursue an associate degree in business. Since January they were enrolled in computer courses at the Nesbony College of Professional Studies. In September they will begin a two-year diploma course at the Kenyan Institute of Management in Mombasa.  Each semester is roughly $350.00 per student. R2S is looking for sponsorship for each semester (350.00) or year (700.00) or 1500.00 for diploma programs for both Ritah and Jeremiah. Please contact Reason2Smile if interested and program details will be shared at this time. Thank you in advance for supporting these wonderful individuals with their dreams.

Smiling from year to year

DSCN1432Students at Roland Chatterton Elementary School in Merrick, New York are smiling from ear to ear as a result of their fundraising efforts this past April/May.  The sixth-grade’s unique “Acts of Kindness” fundraiser provided Reagan, an elementary student at the Jambo Jipya School in Mwtapa, Kenya, with another year of schooling through the nonprofit organization Reason2Smile.

The journey began last year with the Class of 2015. The theme of “Act of Kindness” has always been a part of Chatterton’s character education program, but incorporating this project into the present curriculum enabled the sixth grade teachers to take it to the next level. Over a two week period students were responsible for listing one of more acts of kindness a day and then reflect on them. In addition the sixth grade students shared and discussed their actions with classmates as well as worked on a writing piece that used their persuasive writing skills to support a cause of their choosing. Tied to the “Acts of Kindness” theme the students have been learning about the non-profit Reason2Smile and its work in Kenya. Reason2Smile’s mission is to financially assist impoverished orphans and at-risk children living in developing countries with a safe living environment, proper nutrition and a good-quality education. Utilizing the Reason2Smile curriculum trunk, students learned about the Jambo Jipya school in Mtwapa, Kenya and gained a better understanding and appreciation of Kenyan life.   The trunk includes a variety of teaching tools to allow students to critically analyze and explore life in the developing world.

With a fundraising goal of $300 — the cost of sending an elementary child to school for an entire year — sixth-graders held a two-week “Acts of Kindness” fundraiser in which students found sponsors to support their kind acts. Students recorded their acts of kindness, and sponsors contributed a flat rate for their participation or assigned any dollar amount of their choosing for each act performed.  To supplement the effort, sixth-graders of Deborah Cain’s and Victoria Ryan’s classes sold Kenyan jewelry/crafts and Reason2Smile bracelets provided by the organization. The bracelets symbolized community, with an emphasis that all people are connected in some way.

On the final day of the fundraiser, Donna Rosenblum, Executive Director of Reason2Smile and a former Chatterton parent, paid a special visit to the school. She spoke to students about Keela Dates Grimmette, the founder of Reason2Smile, discussed her own involvement in the organization and encouraged students to get involved with an organization they feel passionate about.

Following her presentation, the Class of 2016 presented Mrs. Rosenblum with a donation check for $2,884.85 from their Acts of Kindness fundraiser, Kenyan crafted bracelet and Reason2Smile bracelet sales.

The district commends these students for their benevolent acts and extends its gratitude to all of the Chatterton School faculty, administrators and sixth-grade teachers who made this event successful.