Wish you could have been with me—even for just a few moments.
In my arms was a student—crying and distraught. We had just finished watching her life story unfold on the small screen in front of us, and the tears—well, they just started rolling down her cheeks.
And I was grateful to be there, to hold her and comfort her on your behalf.
But as fulfilling as that was, I have to tell you that I am blessed again and again by similar experiences. Because of your personal involvement, FSA provides opportunities for students to look deeply into their pasts and make life-changing decisions for their futures.
And in the midst of those poignant moments, lives are changed.
I’m placed in this unique situation—which I love, by the way—because of your willingness to be there for me—to cheer me on with your encouragement and financial support.
Sometimes it’s overwhelming—the tedious task of helping students with university applications, the constant preparation for after school classes, the continuous need to create more and greater student opportunities—and occasionally I miss the joy of seeing the immediate impact taking place in their young lives.
And, honestly? Sometimes I need time to simply cry.
This is one of the busiest times of the year at FSA, and also the most rewarding. By the time you receive this letter we will have hung photos and presented certificates to our photography graduates.
And in the next few weeks students will be graduating Level One Film classes in the Strand, and walking the red carpet for the first time! The Kayamandi students will follow closely behind with our sixth film festival in that community!
But before the red carpet rolls out and the cameras start flashing, we’ll celebrate our students by taking them to a local amusement park—only a 30-minute drive away—where few have ever been.
And then we’ll finish off the day in true Film School Africa style with an evening of encouragement and affirmations. MostFSA students have never experienced the joy of hearing praise for a job well done—that they’re each unique and very special.
Because when they go home, often they’re nothing special.
Parents here don’t really monitor their children’s homework; and seldom—if ever—do they verbally encourage their children. So you can imagine the excitement as these kids hear words of love and affirmation. It’s truly an unbelievable experience!
But, may I be vulnerable with you for a moment?
This has been a really tough year for all of us serving at Film School Africa.
We had great hopes of purchasing the ideal property in Kayamandi, but despite our hard work, it just didn’t happen. And we were left waiting, wondering and more than a bit restless. Yet, as with all challenges we face in life, this was truly a time of learning, maturing and leaning in with perseverance.
Through those tough experiences, new visions were born!
A new FSA community was established in the Strand and additional programs implemented in Kayamandi. It’s actually a joy to look back on this really difficult year and see so much promise.
So with all that said—finally the very good news! FSA is zeroing in on several property options in the Strand so we can initiate building a facility and securing a more permanent presence in the community.
The needs and opportunities in the Strand are incredible. Because FSA is the only non-profit presence, we are confident of the opportunity to significantly impact this community.
What’s that? More good news?
Yes! We’ve also been accepted to partner with Journeyman International; for very little cost they will be assigning an architect/designer to help us create the space we need in Kayamandi.
You see, we’ve just been granted the lease for a plot of land—nearly 4,000 sq. ft.—connected to a partner NGO in the area, allowing us to continue our work in Kayamandi! Thanks to Journeyman, we’ll have designs and plans in hand by next July. I’m so grateful that Film School Africa thrives!
Of course, with this great news of momentum comes cost—we need you now more than ever.
To keep our doors open—even with new facilities—we desperately need to keep our film equipment in working condition. In fact, we actually need to double it. The staff needs to continue to be cared for, and we must cover costs of exhibitions, festivals, student outings and workshop weekends.
My letter to you today is very purposeful.
I want to keep you informed. You need to know what’s happening here in South Africa so you can be aware of the specifics required for this unique educational and career-molding organization.
And also, I’m asking you to send a gift—right now—to help us embrace these next opportunities.
So please consider making a generous monthly commitment. Monthly gifts help tremendously as we budget. And then, would you also be willing to give a special 2014 year-end gift to help FSA move forward with our current commitments?
Your generosity shouts love into the lives of our gifted students. Your support?—priceless!