Creating Hope: LEADERSHIP

As we celebrate President’s Day this month, we are reminded of the importance of leadership. In many cases, this causes us to reflect on what leadership means. The dictionary defines leadership as “the ability of an individual to influence, motivate, and enable others to contribute toward the effectiveness and success of a group of which they are members.” A person who can bring about change, therefore, is one who has this ability to be a leader.

There is a leadership vacuum in much of the world. Many of the problems of poverty in Africa and elsewhere are due to, not a lack of resources, but a lack of good leadership. That is why we believe that raising our children to be good leaders is so important and is essential to bringing lasting, impactful change.

But what makes a good leader? Each of us believe we have an idea about what it means to be a good leader, but when it comes to describing it… for some, leadership is motivation, for others, it equals results, for others it is inspiration.  The most common beliefs on good leadership include: vision, motivation, serving, empathy, taking risks, improving, setting an example. Yes, it is indeed all of those things, but maybe put more simply, in the words of President John Quincy Adams, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”

We were founded on good leadership. Dr. John Chacha, founder of City of Hope is described as:  “... a man with a vision, a man on a mission who knew what his mission was.  He kept moving forward, ever forward, to build his vision.  He never seemed to second guess or vacillate because it seemed that he was supremely confident that his vision was aligned with God's vision.  And he dared not take his hand from the plow.  His mission was to bring good news to all, but most especially to the poor.  More specifically, in his latter years, to his people in the village of his childhood and youth.”  - Myron Miller, our travel agent with Golden Rule Travel.

Now, our leadership team, headed by Regina Chacha and Hudson Mahare, is committed to instilling leadership qualities in all of our children, both those in our children’s home and those in our schools.  We are so dedicated to this effort that we opened the Dr. John Chacha Secondary School and Institute of Leadership in 2017 and are proud to report that as of January 2019, we have 130 students enrolled in all four grade levels. This is the first school to have such a leadership emphasis in the region and continues the good work we have started in our children at Destiny Primary School which now has 450 students. We are teaching our children to lead through the virtues of the Lord, in love, in goodness and giving. As President Woodrow Wilson, said, “The object of love is to serve, not to win.” Our children are learning the virtues of positively influencing their peers, community, themselves so that others may learn from them.  We have curriculum, activities and events that instill these leadership qualities in the children to contribute to a better community and world.

We have raised our children to take responsibility and to have confidence to speak to others - even going out and sharing at other schools - such as on the topic of anti-FGM (female genital mutilation).  Our children are responsible for cleaning their home, the grounds and the school. Some are assigned tasks to help in the kitchen and others in the farm.  We have some milking the cows and selling milk each evening,  and others who tend the gardens.   We have a Student Council whose leaders generate ideas for improvement and then implement many of these ideas. 

In addition to curriculum and responsibility, we understand that children learn best by example.  Therefore, City of Hope takes great pride in staffing its schools and community with good leaders.  We have 25 talented teachers plus support staff, and mentors who are focused on bringing up the next generation of strong leaders. We are investing in our teachers with regular staff training, focusing on our values, and inspiring our teachers to integrate leadership.  We have also started a fellowship for staff that meets on Sunday immediately after the children’s service. 

We are raising up our children by good leaders to be good leaders and to serve by example for generations to come.  City of Hope aims to help improve the world, one good leader at a time.  “To be good, and to do good, is all we have to do” – President John Adams.

And we thank YOU, the supporters of City of Hope, for helping these children live their dreams and become the next generation of strong leaders.  In the words of Michelle Obama, another recent co-leader of our nation, “Success isn’t about how much money you make, it’s about the difference you make in people’s lives.” As is said in scripture,  “To whom much is given, much is required.”  By world standards, we have all been given much. I can think of no other place that is making such a difference with what we have been given than City of Hope.  Thank you for making a difference as you support and share in this amazing vision.

Ashley Gendron