WOW Celebrates 10 Years of Service
— Analiz Schremmer · Tuesday, October 23, 2018 —
Ten years ago, a group of moms and their middle-school daughters went on a mission trip to Guatemala where they worked with vulnerable children and orphans. The girls were so impacted by their experience, that they knew they had to do something more.
That something more was Women for Orphans Worldwide, the volunteer-led auxiliary of Orphan Outreach that serves orphaned and vulnerable children.
“A passion was born in the girls,” says Orphan Outreach Philanthropy Manager Margo Isbell, who was a part of that first trip. “So everybody got together after that we returned home, and we collectively said, ‘Let’s form WOW!’ That first year, we shared the message by inviting friends and family to a luncheon. The passion for serving orphans continued to grow - and so did WOW.”
Since 2008, $1 million has been raised by the annual luncheon and other fundraising events. More than 1,000 participants have traveled on 44 WOW mission trips and its members have held countless fundraisers and supply drives. Last year, more than 400 guests attended the annual luncheon, breaking all previous attendance records.
“We never imagined it would turn into something so impactful,” says Tiffany Taylor Wines, Orphan Outreach director of marketing and development. “It was just a group of middle school girls asking, ‘What can we do to make a difference?’ and then acting on that. It’s what we should all be doing.”
Wines explains that the initiative taken by these girls and their mothers created a connecting point for like-minded people who want to impact the lives of children in need.
“People realize there is a crisis, but they don’t know how to be a part of the solution,” Wines says. “WOW is the avenue for them to care for orphans in Guatemala and other countries around the world.”
There are now four active WOW chapters: Dallas, Fort Worth, Atlanta and Houston, and several junior chapters in schools like Ursuline Academy of Dallas, Episcopal School of Dallas and Parish Episcopal School.
Serving through Time, Talent, and Resources
WOW members have hosted multiple drives including a laptop drive held at Ursuline. Multiple girl and boy scouts have completed their eagle scout award or gold award by serving in Guatemala.
“They’ve done makeovers of rooms in orphanages,”Isbell says. “One boy scout made sure directional signage was installed throughout a children’s home. Someone else designed and decorated a music room when they traveled on a trip.”
WOW members have also installed a sports court for kids at one Orphan Outreach ministry program, and set up a sensory room to help with motor skills development of young children at a baby home.
Junior WOW members have done garage sales or bake sales and used some of the money to fund their mission trips. And WOW members of all ages have done food drives, school supply drives and toy drives, which have made an enormous impact in the Guatemalan ministries.
A Family Affair
In the beginning, WOW was about women serving with their daughters, but today, is has evolved to be more about both parents serving with all their children and their entire families.
“Now there are whole families who have share a passion for service and are making these memories of serving others together”,” Wines says. “That’s one of the greatest gifts a parent can leave with their children: a legacy of serving.”
10th Anniversary Luncheon
This year’s luncheon will be held at the Dallas Westin Galleria on Friday, December 7th.The market, which gives guests the opportunity to bid on hand-crafted Guatemalan goods opens at 10:30. The program begins at 11:45 and will feature guest speakers Sheryl Atkins Osborn, founder of Love the Child baby home, and Mary Hibberd, M.D., board member for Love the Child.
All proceeds from the luncheon provide for critical overhead needs for Orphan Outreach ministry programs in Guatemala that provide support for the physical, emotional, educational, and spiritual needs of orphaned and vulnerable children.