By: Stephanie Reed | Category: Special Interest | Issue: October 2013
Julie Ryker and Kairos 10 co-founder Katheryn Pennington.
Kairos 10, a nonprofit organization dedicated to wiping out malaria in Ghana, has enjoyed great success in protecting over 72,000 people from this vicious disease through the distribution of mosquito nets. Founded by Phyllis Morris and Katheryn Pennington in 2010, Kairos 10 purchases Ghanaian beads made from recycled glass, vinyl records, bones, and brass from local merchants, and pays native women to make jewelry. The jewelry is then sold in the United States, and the proceeds are used to purchase and distribute insecticide-treated bed nets.
This organization, with the help of 60 volunteers across the United States, has been more successful than the founders ever imagined. “We thought initially we would be lucky to sell 300 bracelets, but the demand was incredible, and we have been able to reach so many people in need,” Katheryn explains. Dependent on volunteers for sales and outreach, Katheryn was floored when longtime friend and fellow volunteer, Julie Ryker, told Katheryn that her daughter’s fifth grade class at Jenks West Intermediate wanted to join in the fight.
These volunteers had lofty goals: they wanted to donate 75 nets. The funds for these net were to be raised primarily through T-shirts featuring their theme, “Fight the Bite,” jewelry sales, soccer ball decorating and donating, and asking for donations.
Over the course of several months, 120 Jenks students were able to raise the funds for 760 mosquito nets. The students were astounded at their success. A fire was lit in their hearts, and many had never experienced this joy of giving. This fire burned so brightly that students were moved to go on and collect 500 pairs of flip flops to help stop the spread of intestinal parasites. These acts of charity not only benefited the families in Ghana, but the students at Jenks West Intermediate were also exposed to cultural differences and conversations. These acts of charity helped to cultivate generous and well-rounded youth in Oklahoma.
In January, Julie Ryker travelled to Ghana and distributed the nets to those in need, and they decided to dedicate a fresh water well in honor of the Jenks West Intermediate students. Pictures were taken, videos were shared, and soccer balls were distributed to Ghanaian youth.
“Volunteerism is such a powerful thing,” says Julie. “Katheryn’s passion just spills over. It has impacted my entire family, and because of her passion, my children have a much more global view. They want to understand, help, and love cultures that differ from our own.” This is precisely the wisdom that Kairos 10 hopes to share. We can all get involved, and we can all make a difference. For more information on jewelry sales, or to get involved, please visit Kairos10 online at www.Kairos10.org or send an email to eat0@eau0eav0eaw0.