Archive for Sunday, January 29, 2012

Lawrence couple help rescue children in Third World countries through Kids Alive International

January 29, 2012


Sherry Schaub, a retired executive at Quaker Oats, has been chairman of Kids Alive International for more than two decades. With his wife, Carol, Sherry has traveled around the world helping the organization build homes and schools for at risk children in third world countries. The couple sponsor 11 children, whose pictures and countries are pinned into the map behind them.

Sherry Schaub, a retired executive at Quaker Oats, has been chairman of Kids Alive International for more than two decades. With his wife, Carol, Sherry has traveled around the world helping the organization build homes and schools for at risk children in third world countries. The couple sponsor 11 children, whose pictures and countries are pinned into the map behind them.

On the wall in Carol Schaub’s study is a map of the world. Pinned to it are all the countries where Carol and her husband, Sherry, sponsor children through Kids Alive International.

Displayed around the map are the children’s pictures, about a dozen of them from Latin America, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Each year, Carol updates the photos, which come with an annual report on how each child is faring emotionally, spiritually and educationally.

“We rescue children at risk,” Sherry Schaub said. “If you don’t intervene in their lives, they are probably not going to live.”

The map is perhaps one of the most passive examples of the Schaubs’ work with Kids Alive, a 96-year-old organization that reaches out to the poorest children in the world’s poorest countries.

Sherry has been on the organization’s board since 1974 and has served as board chairman since 1991. When Sherry was named its chairman, Kids Alive served 250 children in three Third World countries. Today, the organization is in 65 locations in 14 Third World countries and reaches out to thousands of children. Those children are considered at-risk because of military conflicts, child labor, drug abuse, neglect or extreme poverty.

“We are incredibly spoiled in this country. Even the poor in this country are rich compared to the poor in Third World countries. There is a difference between going to bed hungry in this country and starving to death when you live in the Sudan,” Carol said.

The Schaubs have a goal to sponsor a child, which costs $35 a month, from each of the 14 countries in which Kids Alive is located. Depending on the location, Kids Alive has set up residential homes where house parents nurture orphans, care centers provide food, education, medical care and clothing to needy children, and schools educate children who otherwise wouldn’t attend one.

Together the Schaubs traveled all over the world, visiting Kids Alive’s program and fostering relationships with other countries. In Kenya, they’ve helped children with AIDS decorate a wall with their handprints. Sherry’s met with the president of Taiwan and visited the “barrios,” or neighborhoods, of the Dominican Republic. And along the way they’ve even been introduced to the children whose pictures hang in Carol’s study.

The two have been to most of the 14 countries the organization serves.

“I’ve gone everywhere with Sherry except Papua New Guinea. I’m not masochist enough to go there,” Carol quipped.

In Carol’s defense, Sherry’s trip to the Pacific Rim country involved traveling in dugout canoes to remote villages, going three days without a bed and eating food that used a paste of pulverized wood.

Physically and emotionally demanding, the mission trips aren’t a vacation, Sherry said. But it doesn’t take long before the couple are ready to start planning the next one.

“You will never be the same. Part of you is really impacted every time you go home,” Sherry said. “I’ve made a difference in somebody’s life. I’ve impacted someone’s life. There’s not too many feelings that are better than that.”

‘A good fit for us’

Carol and Sherry have been married nearly 50 years and have known each other since grade school. Both grew up in a small town in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

The Schaubs first arrived in Lawrence in 1977. Sherry, an executive for Quaker Oats, was sent to Lawrence to oversee the construction and later management of a factory that turned out Kibbles ’N Bits and Tender Chunks.

In 1986, Sherry’s job required the family to move to San Francisco and to later return to Quaker Oats headquarters in Chicago. But by 1997, the couple were looking for a place to settle down as they aged. So they picked Lawrence.

“We had such an outstanding experience in Lawrence,” Sherry said. “The community, the people, it was a good fit for us.”

It was on the Schaubs’ return to Lawrence that the couple began getting others in the community, particularly members of Lawrence Free Methodist Church, involved in Kids Alive.

Among those who Sherry cajoled into going on a mission trip was Larry Wedman, a local contractor. For four years, Sherry urged Wedman to make a trip, and Wedman kept supplying reasons why he couldn’t go.

“I was busy building houses. I told him I didn’t have the time,” Wedman said.

He eventually said yes. The experience changed his life.

“You see a lot of poverty that you don’t see here in the United Sates. It’s changed me forever,” he said. “And then the people are so gracious and happy with absolutely nothing.”

Over the years, Wedman has gone on about 10 trips. For some of those missions, he has brought along the framer and backhoe operator who work for his construction company. He has been to Peru and made several return trips to build homes for children in Constanza, Dominican Republic.

In the coming weeks, the Lawrence Free Methodist Church is preparing for its latest mission through Kids Alive, a two-week trip to Haiti. Another group will travel to the Dominican Republic in November. Helping organize the trips is the pastor of children’s ministries and missions, Carolyn Heacock.

The Schaubs haven’t gone on all of the church’s mission trips, but they participate by donating money or helping foster new leaders, Heacock said. Many in the congregation don’t know that Sherry is chairman of the Kids Alive board, Heacock said.

“Sherry is excited about other people seeing that vision of how their lives can bless other people and how they can be blessed by other people. Sherry is a great example of that,” Heacock said.

While the Schaubs do a lot of behind-the-scenes work, serving on boards and spreading the mission of Kids Alive, Wedman said they aren’t afraid of doing some of the literal heavy lifting.

“They don’t personify being hands-on construction people. But that doesn’t stop them from rolling up their sleeves and laying a block of wall together,” Wedman said.

At 69 and 70, Carol and Sherry said they plan to continue taking mission trips and even have hopes of taking their five grandchildren along.

“For Sherry it’s probably a spiritual thing. I think he believes that is what he should be doing,” Wedman said. “Then, it is just having a big enough heart to want to make it happen.”


Lawrence Morgan 5 years, 11 months ago

This again shows the value of international experience. Even if you can only accomplish a little, it means a lot to kids in many countries. It brings a whole new experience and depth to life.

I am working in Africa, so I can say first hand that projects like this make a huge difference in people's lives.

Boston_Corbett 5 years, 11 months ago

You are surprised that so many in Lawrence do not know about local need. I am surprised that you do not know about the need in these other countries. We are all human.

One meal a day is important here. In other places one meal every week is perhaps even more important.

pace 5 years, 11 months ago

Last person who criticized a member of my family for helping "outsiders' turned out, they didn't help anyone at all. They didn't have the time and felt people should help themselves or die. Thanks to this lovely couple for helping. And, Larrynative, if you are working hard in your local community, thank you. I love this country and I work to better and strengthen it, but when it comes to children and other humans, my love isn't stopped by an arbitrary line, voter registration designation, article of faith, etc. I am careful when I send a buck it goes to honest hands. Usually I prefer to lend a hand.

brewmaster 5 years, 11 months ago

A positive and commendable effort by the Schaub's. However, in a certain sense these extraordinary humanitarian efforts that are directed to benefit people in conspicuous locations outside of the United States are a curiosity.

Charity is the perogative of the provider. Yet, why direct those extraordinary efforts and resources to anywhere, but not locally. Similarly, some people go to hurculean efforts to adopt children from foreign countries instead of adopting kids from their own city - state - country.

Why is it better to ignore hardship and suffering in your own "backyard?"

Boston_Corbett 5 years, 11 months ago

The need is far greater in these places. The the human rights and needs of these people are the same.

Dixie Jones 5 years, 11 months ago

This effort is wonderful and heartwarming , but we have children in the U.S. that are in need. i just do not grasp why you would go to a third world country.

ivalueamerica 5 years, 11 months ago

apparently you do not grasp the difference of abject poverty in the US vs. Abject Poverty in Peru or Africa or wherever.

Perhaps, instead of question others who do not think as you do, educate yourself to see if there is perhaps a point of view you are not seeing.

brewmaster 5 years, 11 months ago

You are absolutely correct. I do not grasp the difference of abject poverty in the U.S. versus abject poverty in other countries; other than the novelty and conspicuousness of nationality.

ivalueamerica 5 years, 11 months ago

well, I have traveled the world and have seen abject poverty in the US and in the third world.

I can only say I am glad you have not seen what I have seen and do not know what I know, though I am sad you do not care to.

It says much about you.

pace 5 years, 11 months ago

You should feel emboldened, challenged, people have taken the time to answer your criticism of why. Instead you are insulted they don't agree with you. If you feel alone in working to improve your community, list where you are volunteering, tell people what needs to be done and why. Most people who are kind to "outsiders" will take time to work with their neighbors. I have volunteered all my life, almost always, there is some armchair critic who (doing nothing) will sit and say, Oh you should be doing something else. Usually an ill considered suggestion. Yelling from the car to workers in the field is not as appreciated as the lookie loos would like.

Boston_Corbett 5 years, 11 months ago

The reason that people go to third world countries to donate their time and money is a humanitarian one. Even most of he "needy" in the US, by comparison to third world countries, are well off. Wealthy, actually.

Many children in this world that will never see a classroom, ever see a physician, or have an opportunity to receive a life-saving vaccine. A $1 mosquito net can and does save lives.

Some people believe that the dignity of a human life in Pakistan, the Dominican Republic or Peru is the same as the dignity of a human life in the US. (I'm talking ex utero human lives, I'm not using code speech for abortion)

So to Larrynative, brewmaster, and peachesandcream, step outside your cloistered lives, and take a trip. It will change your opinion. And you will discover where the need is the greatest, not the most nationalistic.

shadowlady 5 years, 11 months ago

I think what they are trying say is this----- If you had $10.00, and a relative needed that money desperately, or a friend, would you give the money to your relative/friend/ homeless person/, child (here) that needed it, or send it somewhere else?? While I sympathize with the people in the unfortunate countries, we need to help our own. This country of ours have given so much in foriegn aid, and look where we are at now, and yes I know ALL of the U.S. money problems is not from this, but it does create loss of money for our own country. So sorry I have to agree with, LarryNative, brewmaster, and peachesand cream.

brewmaster 5 years, 11 months ago

Thanks for the travel tip. Perhaps, you should consider your own cloistered life and examine the areas of the Appalachian Mountains, Alabama, Arkansas, any of the 50 states, or even better - how about Douglas County, KS. There are numerous examples of the "third world" right here in the United States.

Katara 5 years, 11 months ago

I am curious to know how much of the $35.00/mo. used to sponsor a child actually goes to the child's welfare and how much is for is for administration.

Katara 5 years, 11 months ago

Thanks! I tried that earlier but the site wasn't loading. I found a BBB site but I am not sure if that gives an accurate picture or not. The BBB site didn't give as good of a rating.

Cait McKnelly 5 years, 11 months ago

It doesn't make any difference where people direct their charity. Charity is charity and if it saves lives it's a good thing. Charity is a very old word whose original meaning was "love". It's the name (s'truth) of my oldest daughter. More important is the business of why there are poor. But that's a question for another time.

deec 5 years, 11 months ago

"More important is the business of why there are poor." Exactly. It is wonderful to help those who are struggling, but it is treating a symptom, not addressing the disease. True charity would be to admit why most of the world's people are living in dire poverty, and change the capitalist monster that feeds from human misery.

Dixie Jones 5 years, 11 months ago

Dearest Did I Say That , I would love for someone to come and do a story on what i do for the USA. and the wonderful people here. Lord knows it is far better than going to some third world country, leaving behind my home countries children, and adults who need assistance. But if that is what you prefer to do, knock yourself out...

friendlyjhawk 5 years, 11 months ago

There are hundreds of children at risk in lovely Lawrence KS. Wonder what these folks are doing to help them?

idoltalk 5 years, 11 months ago

I agree with you regarding the religious aspect and charity. It makes one wonder if dinner is served before or after they receive the word of the Lord. Hunger and poverty make these children of “third” world nation’s perfect targets for religious groups to push their values and beliefs. What parent would say no to these people if it means their child would receive a meal? I always raise an eyebrow to people and organizations that leave the country to give help to the less fortunate, makes you wonder. Well toot, toot good for them.

repete66211 5 years, 11 months ago

While reading this I was holding my breath, waiting for some comment about the love of Jesus. Many people are concerned about the effeciency of a charity, how much is spent on administration. That's a worthy concern, but no less important is this question: How much money is spent on religious indoctrination? From the KAI website:

"Kids Alive reflects the love of Christ by rescuing orphans and vulnerable children, nurturing them with quality holistic care and sharing with them the transforming power of Jesus Christ so they are enabled to give hope to we rescue children-in-crisis, we submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, depend on the power of the Holy Spirit, accept the authority of the scriptures, and make prayer central to our ministry...We cooperate closely with national Christians to develop culturally relevant, caring communities for children, and to encourage the growth of godly leadership."

And that's not all. They have a picture of a child going through a baptism ritual. KAI is clearly an overtly religious organization whose goal it is to spread the belief in Jesus.

If a charity saves a life, cures a disease or feeds an empty stomach then it's doing good work. But is it inappropriate to scrutinize its true motivation? How many religious charities, in the process of doing very good and much-needed work, take advantage of their captive audience to spread the word of Jesus? (i.e. Many missions during the Depression were happy to feed the homeless, once they sat through a sermon.)

I wonder if they would still provide the charity were they forbidden to mention religion. I wonder if the religious would still donate resources if they weren't assured of delayed supernatural compensation. I wonder how much native culture is undermined or supplanted by such religious charity work.

So LJW is essentially promoting to an expressly religious organization.

repete66211 5 years, 11 months ago

Religious people may see my post as cynical. Check out the "Our Beliefs" page on the KAI website. I think they're worded in such a way as to make my comments above seem a little less cynical.

I'd much rather see a child exposed to religious indoctrination with a full belly than have it starving to death, but then those aren't the only options are they? Not all charitable organizations have a spiritual mission or dogma tied to their services. The International Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders are secular charities, but there are others who can provide services that are needed, not just services that comply with the organization's dogma.

repete66211 5 years, 11 months ago

First World - Industrial capitalist nations (the US and its allies) Second World - Industrialized communist nations (the Soviet Union, China and its allies) Third World - Undeveloped or developing nations (everyone else)

Obviously they're outdated terms so there really isn't a "Second World".

pace 5 years, 11 months ago

Anyone who claims no one is trying to help children in this country haven't been in the field. A lot of people are working, giving their time, their resources. It is disappointing to see the Governor use those volunteers as an excuse to destroy infrastructure and resources to those children. It is sad to see generations of work destroyed and the resources sold to "friends" of corrupt politicians. It would be the same as if the schools built by this couple's effort and donations were to be seized by the local government and converted to a brothel.

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