Update on Clinton

Clinton graduated from Jambo Jipya in December of 2013 and is presently a sophomore attending the Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, popularly known as MMUST. Clinton is devoted to his studies and grateful for the opportunity to be in a university setting. He is pursuing a degree in commerce and will major in the area of finance and accounting. I had the opportunity to meet up with Clinton while he was home from University this past August and this is what he had to say:

When I was in high school at Jambo Jipya I always knew that I had to study hard. My family struggles financially so it was clear to me that I had to perform well academically if I wanted a chance to go on to University. I have always loved mathematics, working with numbers and problem solving. My dream of becoming an accountant was always that – a dream. But now I am living my dream and am so grateful to Madam Christine, Jambo Jipya, Reason2Smile and my sponsors. Thank you and bless you for believing in me and my abilities. University is difficult and I work hard in my courses but I am determined to finish and become the person that I wish to be in society. It is wonderful being at the University and having the opportunity to study and broaden my horizons. I am so appreciative to be here and thank God for my blessings. I also ask God to watch over all of my supporters and I pray that they remain safe and healthy.

God Bless you,


Global Awareness Club Aids School in Kenya

This article was published in Floral Park Memorial’s online newspaper, The Shield. You can view the original article here:

Reprinted with permission below.

Sophia Ramcharitar September 23, 2015

This year at Floral Park Memorial, there has been a surge of brand-new clubs; one of them is the Global Awareness Club (GAC). As its title suggests, the club’s initiative is to spread awareness about current social and economic issues that people face all over the world.

Unlike many students at FPM who complain about a lack of air conditioning or immense homework, a majority of students in developing countries don’t even have an institution to attend or basic school supplies. This was the story of students from Mtwapa, Kenya prior to the intervention of Reason2Smile, an organization the GAC plans on working with this year. The Jambo Jipya School was founded in 2004 by Kenyan native Christine Mwende. It is a private school and receives no government assistance. Jambo Jipya means “Something New” in Swahili. Mwende recognized the lack of care and attention being paid to many of the poor and orphaned children of her community, Mtwapa, and decided to act. A nurse by profession, Mwende decided to devote the rest of her life to seeing her dream (of building a primary and secondary school where every child can feel safe, healthy, and happy) become a reality. In 2004, the school started with Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grades. In early 2007, Keela Dates Grimmette, the founder of Reason2Smile, arrived at the school and these two women joined forces in their commitment to Jambo Jipya. Mwende is the heart and soul of the Jambo Jipya School and Grimmette has been the heart and soul of Reason2Smile. Together, through their tireless and selfless, work they have been able to build a better life for many children in need.

Jambo Jipya started with a couple of mud huts and a handful of children. Today, 240 children attend the school with a staff of more than a dozen certified Kenyan teachers. Twenty-two of the children live at the Jambo Jipya Children’s Home because they are orphans or don’t have family members to care for them. The school now consists of kindergarten through to 12th grade and students receive uniforms, shoes, school supplies, basic health care and two meals a day. The school’s monthly operational costs are approximately $5,000. Three years ago, a wall was built to separate the road from the school, providing a safer environment. Future projects include adding a second story to the school in order to better utilize the space. This would provide a larger play area for the younger children as well as critical additions such as a school library.

In 2013, Jambo Jipya School graduated its first class of 12th graders. Seven students (one girl and six boys) completed their secondary certificate! One of these graduates was accepted into university! This young man was offered a space at Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology in Kakamega, Kenya. He was accepted as a government-sponsored student due to his exceptional grades, so his tuition fees are very reasonable. Again, Reason2Smile is grateful to his sponsor for continuing to support him. This young man has paved the way for those behind him and proved that students who come from small local schools in Kenya (such as Jambo Jipya) can achieve great things. Other graduates are looking to pursue trade school certificate programs and Reason2Smile is working to make their dreams a reality.

Ms. Rosenblum, the advisor of the GAC, is the chair of Reason2Smile’s educational committee. She has travelled to Jambo Jipya many times, most recently this past summer. Rosenblum always describes with admiration how remarkable the students are and the tremendous impact they have had on her life. The members of the GAC eagerly look forward to working with Reason2Smile. According to Bryan Lezama, one of the club’s vice presidents, “It’s great knowing that many FPM students are coming together in order to help this organization and others like it. I’m really excited to see where this club goes.”

In December, the club will hold a bracelet sale for Reason2Smile. The rubberized bracelets will be available in a variety of colors and display the signature Reason2Smile logo – perfect for Christmas presents.

Listen out for more exciting events sponsored by the Global Awareness Club throughout the year!

For more information about Reason2Smile, see Ms. Rosenblum in the library or check out


R2S Educational Trunk Program // Roland Chatterton Elementary School

chattertonRecently the sixth grade class of 2015 at Roland Chatterton Elementary School was involved in a unique program. Lead by their teachers – Mrs. Cain and Mr. Horodyski, the students embarked on a writing assignment where they journaled their “Acts of Kindness.” The theme of “Act of Kindness” has been always 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. During the two week period of April 27th to May 8th sixth graders were responsible for listing one of more acts of kindness a day and then reflecting 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 positively impact others though education for children globally and service to organizations in developing countries that provide education, food, clothing and healthcare to orphaned and at-risk children. Utilizing the Reason2Smile curriculum trunk, students learned about the Jambo Jipya school in Mtwapa, Kenya and the importance of education for these 230 students. The trunk includes a variety of teaching tools to introduce and enhance students’ understanding and appreciation of Kenyan life. The overall goal is for students to utilize the resource trunk material in order to critically analyze and explore life in the developing world.


The trunk includes:

  • an assortment of picture books that represent  themes such as Kenyan culture, language, wildlife conservation, universal education  as well as , problems that face the developing world.
  • Kenyan crafts and jewelry
  • Kenyan music and audio resources
  • An array of lessons alignment to the common core learning standards
  • A diverse range of graphic organizers aligned to the common core learning standards
  •  An introduction about the Jambo Jipya school and its founder Christine Mwende
  • Pictures and brief biographies of students attending the school


As the sixth grade students were performing and logging their acts of kindness they were also finding sponsors as well. The donation was based per kind act or a flat rate fee. At the end of the allotted two weeks all donations were tallied to be donated to Reason2Smile. The culminating event was a visit to Chatterton School on May 8th by Donna Rosenblum, a school librarian, Merrick resident and Reason2Smile board member. Ms. Rosenblum gave a presentation about the Jambo Jipya school and the work of Reason2Smile. The students were extremely engaged and asked important questions about the school, the orphan students and Reason2Smile. The class of 2015 then presented Reason2Smile with a check in the dollar amount of $1715.21.  The class requested that a portion of the money raised be used to sponsor one of the younger orphan students at the school with the plan of having the future sixth graders support his education until at least 12th grade.


Holiday Benefit with Janet Paolucci

Raffle baskets donated by Lia Sophia, Biodroga, Burberry’s, Makeup Tech, and Joseph Paolucci.

Raffle baskets donated by Lia Sophia, Biodroga, Burberry’s, Makeup Tech, and Joseph Paolucci.

On Sunday November 9, the holiday season began a little early in Merrick, New York with a special event to benefit Reason2Smile. Janet Paolucci hosted a wonderful party featuring Lia Sophia jewelry, makeup from Makeup Tech and beauty creams/lotions from Biodroga. Guests received the royal treatment upon entering the Paolucci’s home being served wonderful appetizers and drinks. Then the real fun began!! First were the five beautiful raffle baskets donated by Lia Sophia, Biodroga, Burberry’s, Makeup Tech, and Joseph Paolucci.

After raffles was the ultimate shopping experience.  Karen Grodsky, a sales representative from Lia Sophia, helped the attendees select the perfect gift from the assortment of beautiful necklaces, bracelets, rings and earrings. Many friends and family will be very happy this holiday season.

 Janet Paolucci demonstrating the proper techniques in applying makeup and skin care products.

Janet Paolucci demonstrating the proper techniques in applying makeup and skin care products.

Janet Paolucci worked her magic demonstrating the proper techniques in applying makeup and skin care products.  We all got quite an education and had a lot of fun at the same time. As a result seven hundred dollars was raised for Reason2Smile and the Jambo Jipya Academy.  A personal thank you goes out to Janet and Joseph Paolucci for all their hard work and time in putting this successful event together.  Thank you to La Piazza in Merrick for their generous donation of food and dessert, all of the raffle basket donors and to Joan William ( for the gorgeous photography.



Teen’s Impression of Kenya

Garbage. It was the first thing a group of Reason 2 Smile volunteers noticed as they walked the crowded dirt roads leading to Jambo Jipya Academy and Children’s Home in Mtwapa, Kenya.

They would later describe the scene as “like a city, but unlike any we had ever seen” with “streets literally paved in garbage.”

Link to Full Story >>

Permanent Physical Space

A Librarian’s Reason 2 Smile: A Visit to the Jambo Jipya Academy in Kenya

Back in early 2011, SLJTeen reported on this librarian’s dream to build a library at the Jambo Jipya Academy in Mwtapa, Kenya, with the assistance of the organization Reason2Smile. Reason2Smile Inc. (R2S) is a registered non-profit whose mission is to encourage individuals around the world to be in service to others. This is done by educating people locally and nationally on how they can positively impact others, and by providing funding to organizations in developing countries which provide education, food, clothing, and healthcare to orphaned and at-risk children.

Link to Full Article >>


Students find reasons to smile in Kenya

MTWAPA, Kenya – It is hard to put into words all that we have experienced for the past week. Most of what we have come into contact with is completely different, even in this short amount of time.

We did not expect the pollution. There is a plethora of trash strewn everywhere. Literally everywhere. It is completely acceptable to finish a water bottle and throw it out of the van window as you are driving, as we saw a public transportation driver do. There aren’t any trash cans or landfills. Just piles on the side of the road – some are even right next to the street food markets. To get rid of the rubbish, sometimes they burn it. The smell of burning garbage is a familiar scent now.

Link to Full Story >>