Kirsti Tcherkoyan, Co-Founder of Options4Growth, was recently profiled in Forbes Online. Kirsti and her business partner, Jill Pappenheimer, have a unique approach to running their business—they honor their people. They hire people who can no longer work 60 hours a week, but don’t want to be limited by what part-tme employment opportunities may offer. People want flexibility to pick up the kids, or care for their elderly parents. The employees of Options4Growth drive their own work schedules, so they can prioritize their lives. Kirsti and Jill’s approach is to empower employees to volunteer their time, give back to their communities, take care of themselves and their families.
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The first time I traveled to Kenya, I was taught that it was important to not force my Western standards on a country whose culture is quite different than mine. The lesson has been a difficult one to learn, and today I found myself really questioning my own assumptions of how “things should be.”
Kirsti with three of the students, Teacher Alfred (center) and Josh (left), another volunteer.
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Today, we spent the day in what could be considered a small village. Four small classrooms with nearly 100 children crammed inside of them. And teaching them are two teachers who have done an amazing job of not only teaching the basics for school, but the basics of life.
Evelyn Waneloba and Alfred Gatimu are two remarkable teachers in this tiny learning center in the heart of Kawangware, Kenya. Kawangware is the second largest slum outside of Nairobi, home to over 400,000 people. In this small learning center called, “Ray of Hope” and “Little Ray of Hope”, Evelyn and Alfred and a small group of others, make sure the children are clothed and fed each day before they go to school. The older group of children, all go to public schools during the day, and get their breakfast and tutoring at the Ray of Hope. The Little Ray of Hope is home to over 50 children from ages 2 – 7, who are being taught the basics before they can go to public school.
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