Giving Back: A Better Life For Kids

by Michelle Smalenberger, CFP® / October 28, 2021

The next few months we are sharing about organizations in our life that we are personally involved with.  You might be surprised how often we hear from people looking for a great organization to give to.  Or maybe you’ll enjoy learning something new about us by reading how we spend some of our time outside the office.

An organization I personally love and spend time helping is A Better Life for Kids (ABLFK)!  ABLFK is a local not for profit organization that serves children with extraordinarily difficult circumstances in Ghana, Africa.  There is a strong partnership between our local communities here reaching those in Ghana.  And even in Ghana there are amazing local people helping us care for these children.     

The mission of ABLFK is to invest in the futures of children in need, specifically in Ghana, Africa. They strive to achieve lasting improvements in the quality of life for children in Ghana. 

Here are just some of the ways ABLFK provides support:

  • Education support: Education is a valued, precious privilege in their culture, and the children are eager to attend school and study the material. This outreach provides opportunities by paying for tuition, uniforms, shoes, the necessary school supplies, lunch every school day, and a solar powered light to study at night.  The goal is to help these children overcome obstacles preventing them from receiving an education.
  • Fighting Malaria: Every thirty seconds this disease that can be treated in Africa for the equivalent of $2 is responsible for taking the life of an African child.  They help fight malaria by donating life-saving medication, mosquito nets, and repairing and replacing orphanage screens to protect the children from these dangerous mosquitoes. On each mission trip to Ghana, they personally visit the local pharmacy and purchase a wide range of medication to treat the many conditions that affect the children. Additionally, we provide much-needed supplies for the babies at the orphanage, especially formula.
  • Eggs for Kids: Through the Eggs for Kids feeding program we give the orphanage children a more nutritious diet by providing a sustainable source of protein (eggs) to them each day. The orphanage staff has shared that the children dance, sing, and cheer each week the eggs are delivered to show their happiness and pure joy to eat more than simply rice. 
  • Keeping Families Together: They partner with needy families to provide food, education, and housing assistance so that more families are able to care for their children instead of poverty forcing them to send their children to live in orphanages.
  • Water for Life: In 2016, they drilled a manual pump well to provide clean water to the 1,500 babies, children, and adults living in a rural Ghanaian village to give the gift of health and hope!  They continue to support this community through providing the medication to deworm intestinal parasites, teach about the importance of hygiene through hand washing education, soap distribution, and proper wound care, as well as purchase health insurance giving people access to the local clinic when they are sick.

These programs and so many others ABLFK provides give these children hope and a chance for a future.  Since ABLFK has existed for 10 years some of the children are starting to graduate from school, which would have been impossible.  Now, there are new areas of hope and help that ABLFK is able to provide for them.  They have conversations about higher education and career opportunities!  

Founder of A Better Life for Kids

If you are around Shelley Reese, the founder of ABLFK, for very long you will likely hear her talk about her passion for kids helping kids.  That’s why there are so many ways kids can get involved to help these kids on the other side of the world.  Our most popular event is coming up in December where families can purchase and come decorate a Gingerbread House.  You can even order a gingerbread house and just drive through to decorate it at home or grab a pack of several houses to host your own party at home.  Let me know if you want more details!

I’ve never been so close to someone who founded an organization that supports people so many miles away.  Shelley first visited Ghana in 2006 and ABLFK officially launched in 2011.  She is invested in each of their lives and has grown that love to many people in our communities here and all over the world.  Our goal is to keep growing the support and love for these children so we can provide for more children and for more of their needs.  

How A Better Life for Kids is Organized

I believe the biggest thing a supporter would appreciate knowing is that ABLFK has the lowest operating costs of any organization I know.  No one with ABLFK receives a salary!  This organization is run by volunteers and board members who donate their time and energy.  And even the low operating costs like filing a tax return are donated specifically by donors so as many funds can go to the kids as possible!  So, truly every dollar goes to the children and families in Ghana.  

During Covid I was proud to see the increased ability for ABLFK to continue providing for the education of these children.  We sent education pods so they could continue learning even when their classrooms were closed.  We were also able to educate them about the importance of continued good hygiene to care for them physically.  

I am on the board of directors for ABLFK so if you are ever looking for ways to get involved or support their efforts please let me know.  I can connect you with their efforts!

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Michelle Smalenberger, CFP®

I have a passion for helping others develop a path to financial success! Through different lenses on your financial picture, I want to help create solutions with you that are thoughtful of today and the future. I have seen in my life the power of having a financial plan while making slight changes of direction from time to time. I believe you can experience freedom from anxiety and even excitement when you know your finances are on track.