Monthly Archives: September 2013

Melinda Making a Difference – Addressing Hunger

September is designated Hunger Action Month by Feeding America.  According to The World Food Program  approximately 870 million people in the world do not eat enough to be healthy.  

At Mothering Across Continents, hunger is one of five issues that we focus on as part of our overall mission of “Adopting Dreams. Raising Tomorrow’s Leaders.” Since our overall focus is education for orphans, vulnerable and at-risk children, we know from experience that hungry children don’t learn well wherever they are in the world.

With Hunger Action Month underway, we think of some of the amazing Mothering Across Continents project catalysts and collaborators that have developed innovative approaches to hunger and nutrition in very challenging circumstances.

Caring Schools South SudanOur first project launched in 2007 was “Caring Schools,” a partnership with Save the Children South Africa, to develop an innovative pilot providing daily nutritious meals and sustainable gardens at three impoverished high schools serving nearly 700 children in the community of Qwa Qwa, in Free State, South Africa. At the time, daily meals were available in South African primary schools, but not high schools, and a consulting report indicated wide variation in the quality, efficiency and effectiveness of meals programs across schools. Against these measures, the pilot was successful, but when we asked Caring Schools project leader Melinda Van Zyl to reflect on the experience, she suggested a different standard for success. She said the truly lasting benefits are knowledge gained by students and parents about nutrition and communication skills they developed to advocate for expansion of the program.


Youth Leader wins $10,000 Prize

Jordan Jenkins, a junior at Robert L. Patton High School in Morganton, North Jordan JenkinsCarolina, was recently selected as one of the Top 10 award winners in the Amway Who Cares Challenge: Youth Leadership Contest. As an award recipient, Jordan is able to direct a $10,000 prize to a non-profit. She has chosen to the prize to Mothering Across Continents.

We are deeply honored. Throughout the 2012-2013 academic year, we came to admire Jordan’s abilities as a student leader with a truly global sensibility. She is a key student leader and visionary of her school’s annual “Giving Games,” and many visitors to our April 2013 “Any1Can” public art exhibit in Charlotte, North Carolina, commented on her impressive communications skills as a project ambassador.

Jordan at Sensoria

Now, as designee of the Amway Who Cares Challenge funds, we’re making plans . . . We’re in the planning phase for a training program to make global education and global service learning available in a “deep dive” institute-style format. In honor of Jordan’s own efforts, we hope to offer it, first, in Jordan’s home county. The goal: make it easier for teachers and student leaders to have access to information, tools and skills that will equip them as global citizen leaders.

Youth Service America (, with whom we are proud to partner, recently listed 10 Facts about Youth Service, including: 1) Between 20% and 55% of young people volunteer; 2) Young people under age 25 make up 1/3 of the population in the United States. These are two reasons why we choose to make projects that support young people’s global leadership development part of our non-profit focus at Mothering Across Continents.

We offer “The Global Class” to schools in order to make it easy and efficient for teachers to incorporate global topics in lesson plans. We developed the “Any1Can Project” to complement The Global Class with high-impact service learning opportunities and coaching. To date, more than 10,000 teachers and students have had access to our global ed and service learning materials. This year, we’ve added online access to make the materials ever more available.