By Annette Brown, AAH Donor & Sponsor
During May of 2006, I read a Washington Post article detailing how John and Joyce Wanda, along with many donors, started the Arlington Academy of Hope (AAH) in their home country of Uganda.
My first thought was that I should do something to help simply because I can. But that thought was soon overwhelmed by my preparations for my upcoming deployment the next month to support Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). At that time I was a soldier in the United States Army. Prior to leaving for my deployment, I reached out to John Wanda and asked if I could mail him a huge box of more than 100 pens as a donation to AAH. Upon arriving in Iraq, I could not get AAH out of my head. While in Iraq, I again reached out to John and asked how I could do more. He mentioned sponsoring a student, and I immediately began doing that. I believe that those who are in a position to help others should do so, and performing volunteer services is a huge part of my life.
My excitement grew once I received my sponsored student photo. I am uplifted and inspired whenever I receive letters from my student and excited to see the progress in his writing and grammatical sentence structure as I get more letters. This small act of sponsoring a child fills me with pride and makes me so happy to be able to contribute toward AAH. I truly believe that doing these small acts of sponsorship is making a huge difference in the lives of children in Uganda.
In addition to being a sponsor, I’ve met so many wonderful people that support AAH. It’s always enlightening to find out what others are doing to support AAH. I once had the opportunity to participate in a fair where AAH had a booth, and we passed out literature about the school. That was so much fun, and now that I’m retired from the United States Army, I hope to become more involved with AAH activities. I hope to visit AAH as a volunteer within the next year or two!