Support Brittany’s Hope Orphanage Project

Posted on April 16, 2024 by Published by

Dear OLW Community,

My name is Gillian Heyden and my family members have been active parishioners at Our Lady of the Wayside since 1999. I attended school here, made all of my sacraments, was an altar server, sung at mass and served in multiple capacities for 13 years at VBS. All of these experiences have contributed to the respect I have for catholic social teaching and my pursuit of a doctorate in occupational therapy at Elizabethtown College.

I am especially passionate about projects that will support children. I’ve learned how important daily tasks are to an individual’s health and meaningful participation in life. It is desolating when a person is unable to complete tasks due to lack of support. Often, these deficiencies are particularly evident in children with special needs and orphans. It is hard to fathom just how alone these children must feel, ‘othered’ and outcasted by their society, and without the necessary resources for fruitful development. As we learn from the Psalms, we are called to “Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed.” (Psalm 82:3) Where better to learn how to do these than where resources are lacking the most?

This coming May, members of my class through Elizabethtown College have the unique opportunity to serve orphaned children and children with special needs in Vietnam. Through our service trip, facilitated through Brittany’s Hope, a group of fellow students, faculty, and volunteers will travel to Vietnam to provide support to several orphanages through various projects. These children will greatly benefit through the provision of physical resources as well as compassion and emotional support. This trip will accomplish the divine imperative referenced at the beginning of my letter and allow these children to live with the freedom and dignity they deserve.

That’s why we need your help and support. We intend to improve the lives of these children through different projects that we are currently designing. Our goal is to meet the specific needs that their caregivers have relayed to us, including providing adaptive equipment and therapeutic interventions that will allow them to be independent in the activities of daily living.

All projects for the trip can be viewed and donations of any kind can be accepted at our website, Absolutely 100% of all donations will go directly to these children! Additionally, donations can be directed to adoption grants that will help provide children with loving families that can support their individual needs. All prayers for the success of this trip are
greatly appreciated as well.

More information about our mission can be found HERE.

Thank you for your support!

Gillian Heyden
Occupational Therapy Student
Elizabethtown College
BS Class of 2025; OTD Class of 2027

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