Joe Brandi was working as a pastor when he felt the call to join a mission trip to Kenya with World Orphans. That trip changed his life and convinced him to dedicate his time and energy to fighting for defenseless children.
After joining forces with The Rock Church in San Diego and leading short-term mission trips to Mexico, Brandi’s vision evolved, and he launched Unity 4 Orphans in 2010. Since then, the organization has been able to help more than 2,000 children in Mexico and Nicaragua.
Unity 4 Orphans relies on donations from individuals and companies like LadyBoss to serve children living in extreme poverty. With support from LadyBoss, Brandi has been able to recruit five bilingual teachers who travel each weekend to a poor fishing village in Nicaragua to teach English to the 55 children who live there.
“The children are so hungry to learn,” Brandi says. “We want them to become bilingual, so they’ll have access to better jobs. If they don’t learn to speak English, their potential is extremely limited.”
Before Brandi contacted LadyBoss founders Brandon and Kaelin Poulin, the English tutoring program at the village was in danger of running out of money. Brandi feared he’d have to cut back to only providing one or two teachers.
“A friend kept telling me about Brandon and Kaelin and LadyBoss, so I reached out to tell them about this specific need,” Brandi says.
The Poulins were happy to help, Brandon Poulin says.
“When Kaelin and I learned about the work Unity 4 Orphans is doing, we knew we had to be part of it,” he says. “Their work is inspiring, and we’re happy to be able to help. We believe all children should have the chance to learn.”
The teachers working in the village say they are inspired not only by the opportunity to teach the children English but also to help them achieve a brighter future.
“My greatest satisfaction is knowing that I can help children of my community look forward to having a great future,” says Kelly Parma. “Not only are they learning English, but they’re also learning to create dreams in which they can see becoming doctors, engineers, and lawyers.”
Deyanara Veronica Urroz joined the Unity 4 Orphans teaching program in part to help pay for her education at the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua. But as she’s gotten to know the students and their families, teaching has become more than a job. She’s happy to serve as a role model for her students.
“They are my motivation,” she says. “Today, I am not just working for money; I am working for my kids because I know I am changing lives.”
Brandi has big goals for Unity 4 Orphans. He’d like to see the organization provide more for the children in the areas it serves. In addition to teaching the children, the organization also wants to provide uniforms, backpacks, and other school supplies, as well as provide food for their families.
“The sky’s the limit,” he says. “I’d love to set up these centers all over and change the world.”
And help from people like the Poulins and LadyBoss will make that possible, Brandi says.
“They are a shining example,” he says. “They built a business, they make money, and they give to others. It would be amazing if more businesses did the same thing.”
For the Poulins, giving back is just part of the LadyBoss mission. They have donated more than $500,000 to a variety of charities since they started LadyBoss in 2014. Many of their donations support charities that work to improve the lives of women and children.
Their charitable giving includes donations to:
Village Impact, which has opened 12 schools in Kenya.
Feed NM Kids collects donations of nutritious snack items to provide to children in need with the end goal of ending childhood hunger in New Mexico.
Habitat for Humanity, a nonprofit organization that helps families build and improve places to call home because it believes affordable housing plays a critical role in strong and stable communities.
Make-A-Wish New Mexico, which has granted the wishes of critically-ill children for the past 30 years.
Operation Smile, which provides safe surgery solutions to treat children around the world with cleft lip and cleft palate.
Special Olympics New Mexico, which serves child and adult athletes with intellectual disabilities by providing year-round sports training and athletic competition in 12 Olympic-type sports.
“One of our fundamental values is that LadyBoss gives, it doesn’t take,” Brandon Poulin says. “We’ve been blessed to find purpose and passion in supporting organizations like Unity 4 Orphans.”
You can make a one-time or monthly donation to Unity 4 Orphans to help create a brighter future for impoverished children in Mexico and Nicaragua. Donors also may choose to sponsor a child for $50 a month.