Life Changing Opportunity - YEAR 4
Leonce’s story continues to progress and inspire. After three years at Hawaii Preparatory Academy, he will soon be a senior in high school. In addition to being a focused student, Leonce has been working to soak in all the opportunities that your continued generosity has given him. In the summer between sophomore and junior year, Leonce studied creative writing and astronomy at Tufts University in Boston, as part of a pre-college program for high school youth. He received a financial aid scholarship to spend Spring Break in China with the rest of his Mandarin language class. This upcoming summer, Leonce will be traveling back to China for an internship, allowing him to practice the Chinese language skills that he has been working on so diligently. From never having stepped foot on an escalator before to coming to the USA and now flying to China twice in the same year, Leonce knows that none of this could have been possible without this wonderful community behind him of which you are an important part.
The word “life-changing” is often overused, but in this case it could not be truer. The past few years have not been completely easy on Leonce. As many of you know, Leonce’s mother passed away this past year from asthma. Despite this harsh setback, Leonce knows that these rare sorts of opportunities simply do not happen to Tanzanian orphans. If we can continue to raise the rest of the needed funds so Leonce can finish his final year at HPA and enroll in college, we will continue to change the trajectory of his life, giving him the education of his dreams. Thanks to the generosity of all of you, we are fortunate to have the tuition covered for his senior year of high school. However, we will still need to raise funds for his airfare to China (let us know if you have miles to donate), funds for upcoming college visits if needed (he will start applying for college in the fall), and general support for food and clothing for the year. Last year, we raised $35,000 together and we’d love to meet that goal again. This would help take us into some of his college expense starting in 2020. They say it takes a village to raise a child and I can’t think of a village better suited for this life changing opportunity than this community we’ve built together.
Here is a message from Leonce for all of you:
For those of you being introduced to Leonce for the first time, when you first meet Leonce, he strikes you immediately as special – a young man with a thirst for knowledge, a curiosity for life and a genuine interest in you. The glint in his eye, the inevitable barrage of questions he will shoot at you, the polite way he borrows your iPhone and opens all your apps to see what they do…Leonce grew up in a small mud house with his widowed peasant mother and older brother. His mom’s day would consist of picking mangoes and walking for hours to sell them on the street – bringing home maybe one or two dollars a day. Life grew too difficult, and she became unable to care for her kids. Leonce and his brother, Ombeni, were sent to live at the TunaHaki Orphanage. Upon meeting him, it was immediately clear to me that this boy as not just smart, but innovative and driven. At 8 years old, he was building his own toys, making detailed pencil drawings, and asking me to teach him English, French, and any other language I could share. Watch this video from 2010 to give you a glimpse into his exceptional love for learning:
For most of the kids at the orphanage, it was too late to put them on a path of advanced education; the best we could ultimately hope for was vocational school for all of them – except Leonce. We put him in an English speaking private school in Kilimanjaro, where he had to double his efforts to “catch up” – but that he did! Leap frogging past the initial challenges, the ever-industrious Leonce quickly rose to the top third of his class, sometimes even the top ten percent.
Cut to: Today!
If you contribute to Leonce’s education fund, you will be an Honorary Parent – (You can all visit him on Parent’s Weekends!) I trust he will be enjoying many Honorary Parents – and he deserves it.
|Additional In-Kind Donations Needed|
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I have such great faith in this young man. He is filled with such promise – and his future is part of our great future. When we look back on our lives, helping guide this stellar life on its course will be something we will all take special pride in, I guarantee it. Thanks in advance for being a part of this rare opportunity.
If you prefer to pay by check:
2461 Santa Monica Blvd. #437
Santa Monica, CA 90404