Jennifer graduated from Wagner College in 2009 with a BA in International Affairs and French Studies. She took her first trip to Africa during her senior year in high school, and since then has returned to the continent many times. In 2007, she founded HEAL after her first trip to Kenya. It was during this experience that she witnessed the need of orphans and vulnerable children at a state run orphanage. She says, “I was shocked by the appalling conditions I witnessed. It broke my heart to see the children suffering. By the end of my trip, I knew I was meant to help. I knew I was meant to build a home where children in need could grow up in a nurturing and loving environment with access to healthcare, quality education and every opportunity they would need to succeed in life.”
Eight months later HEAL Raising Our World Foundation, Inc. was founded. The journey has not always been easy, but she is encouraged by the positive changes she sees in the lives of so many children. She looks forward to developing HEAL into an organization capable of helping even more people in need in the future.
Follow Jennifer’s journey: jenniferwithheal.com
Tabitha Wambui was born in Kenya. She was one of four children in her family. She grew up in poverty but God intervened when two women in her village offered to pay for her education. She is truly grateful to them for investing in her life. Her life experiences help her to identify with many of the children at Rapha Community Center who have experienced similar challenges. After she finished her schooling, she committed her life to helping children, first as a teacher, and then in 2003 through a ministry which cared for orphaned and vulnerable children. Tabitha has been the director of Rapha Community Center since its founding in 2013. She has been a central part of the success of Rapha Secondary School. She has experienced many challenges including a separation from her husband, but through it all, she has remained faithful to the call God placed in her heart to help children in her country. Tabitha has two of her own children, Timothy and Ellice. She loves flowers and loves to read books.
In her words, “Rapha is from the bible—Jehovah Rapha. It means Jehova heals. Indeed He has healed my life. It was so tough for me handling a new school with all the demands amidst all that was going on, but today we are celebrating our pioneer class. I thank the Lord God almighty for this far I have come. I remember God gave me his word in Isaiah 41, 8-13. I will share more in the book I am writing. I love encouraging people who are going through pain in life. Shalom.”
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Tammy Burden is a native of Nebraska. She grew up in Iowa and has lived in Maine and Colorado. In 1980, she received her BA in Hotel and Restaurant Management from the University of Denver. She put her degree into practice as the owner of the Highland Cafe in Camden, Maine and General Manager of the Hotel Telluride in Telluride, CO. After moving back to Nebraska to be close to her parents, Tammy applied her expertise in management as the Executive Director of the Center for Survivors of Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence in Columbus, NE. In this position, she developed extensive skills in grant writing and fundraising.
Tammy has two children, Thomas who lives in Pagosa Springs, CO and Katie who lives in Los Angeles. When she’s not spending time with her two children, she enjoys gardening, reading, history, antiques and traveling. She developed a lifelong love for Africa when she climbed Kilimanjaro in 1998. In 2011, she returned to Africa to volunteer at our children’s home in Kenya. Since then she has continued to support the work of HEAL. We are thrilled to have her join our team, and look forward to learning from her as she helps us to further our mission of caring for orphans and neglected children around the world.
Kathy Willis was born and raised in New York. She graduated from Middlebury College in 1972 with a Bachelor’s degree in Music and, while there, fell in love with Vermont where she has lived most of her adult life. She started a long teaching career in early childhood education at the Brandon Training School, long since closed, an institution for mentally and physically handicapped children and adults. From there she went on to direct and teach in a private nursery school, then worked in several capacities in an elementary school, and finished out her 44 year career as a teacher at Manchester Elementary School in Manchester, Vermont, spending all but one year in either Kindergarten or second grade. She now lives in Rutland, Vermont, where she enjoys singing, performing, lakeside recreation and the incredible beauty Vermont has to offer.
Kathy has known Jennifer since Jenn was in high school. Her love affair with Africa began when she and Jenn accompanied friends visiting an orphanage in Zimbabwe in 2004. The following summer, she returned to Africa on a singing tour in Ghana. In 2016 she joined Jenn and a team of volunteers to work at Rapha and has supported Jenn’s mission at HEAL ever since. She is delighted to be a board member and to be a small part the incredible work being done for the orphans and neglected children in Kenya.
Hilary Wentworth is from Telluride, Colorado and has traveled to over 60 countries. She currently serves as board member and treasurer for HEAL and lives in New York City. She has degrees from University of California at Santa Barbara, London School of Economics and HEC Paris. Hilary is passionate about education and helping the kids at HEAL fulfill their potential.
Andrew has been involved with HEAL since its inception. He is a graduate of the University of Kansas, Brown University, the London School of Economics, and Tulane Law School. Andrew loves travel, scuba diving, and literature and has committed to a number of causes through pro bono work.