Donor Spotlight: One Soldier’s Story

By Annette Brown, REACH Donor & Sponsor

Annette started sponsoring an REACH student during her time serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom

During May of 2006, I read a Washington Post article detailing how John and Joyce Wanda, along with many donors, started the REACH for Uganda (REACH) in their home country of Uganda.

My first thought was that I should do something to help simply because I can. But that thought was soon overwhelmed by my preparations for my upcoming deployment the next month to support Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). At that time I was a soldier in the United States Army. Prior to leaving for my deployment, I reached out to John Wanda and asked if I could mail him a huge box of more than 100 pens as a donation to REACH. Upon arriving in Iraq, I could not get REACH out of my head. While in Iraq, I again reached out to John and asked how I could do more. He mentioned sponsoring a student, and I immediately began doing that. I believe that those who are in a position to help others should do so, and performing volunteer services is a huge part of my life.

My excitement grew once I received my sponsored student photo. I am uplifted and inspired whenever I receive letters from my student and excited to see the progress in his writing and grammatical sentence structure as I get more letters. This small act of sponsoring a child fills me with pride and makes me so happy to be able to contribute toward REACH. I truly believe that doing these small acts of sponsorship is making a huge difference in the lives of children in Uganda.

In addition to being a sponsor, I’ve met so many wonderful people that support REACH. It’s always enlightening to find out what others are doing to support REACH. I once had the opportunity to participate in a fair where REACH had a booth, and we passed out literature about the school. That was so much fun, and now that I’m retired from the United States Army, I hope to become more involved with REACH activities. I hope to visit REACH as a volunteer within the next year or two!

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