Life Link Interview
Children are the most delicate social group because they depend on us, the grown-ups, need our help and every day’s guidance. Ranger Roofing of Oklahoma, the top local Roofer from Owasso, Oklahoma, has spoken with Life Link, a local Christian non-profit international human services organization with the purpose to rescue children.
Life Link is building orphanages around the world, mostly in places affected by poverty, disease or war, and they also sponsor medical outreaches, build schools and dig wells. Being delighted with their general idea and mission, we decided to ask them few questions about their work and plans for the future. Enjoy the reading.
To begin with, we would like you to briefly tell us about your organization
Life Link is a Christian non-profit international human services corporation committed to rescuing children everywhere. We help operate and/or build orphanages around the world. Currently we have/partner with orphanages in West Africa.
1. What do you do exactly? And what was the reason that encouraged you to start this organization?
Life Link rescues children who have been orphaned due to poverty, disease or war. We give them a loving home, medical care, education and vocational training. The situations many of these children come from are often to horrendous to contemplate. Many would have died if Life Link was not there to take them in. We are committed to rescuing as many children as possible. We also sponsor medical outreaches, build schools and dig wells.
2. What motivates you? Describe your mission passion
When I see these beautiful children who have had nothing come into a Life Link home and they are just so grateful for the smallest things, a bowl of rice, their own shirt, knowing that they are safe. Their hugs and smiles are so rewarding! When I hear about a child who died of malnutrition or malaria, deaths that could have been so easily prevented if only we had know in time; This keeps me going, there is always another child in distress. I want to find them and bring joy to their lives and give them a family. I may not be able to same them all, but each one who is saved makes it worth while!
3. Tell us about your goals
Our goal, as the resources become available, is to provide food, shelter, clothing, education and medical care for the abandoned and hurting children around the world. We go to the poorest of the poor and the forgotten countries of the earth.
In Guinea-Bissau, West Africa, when Life Link began to support an established children’s home, they were able to take 7 brothers and sisters ages 17-9 whose parents both died of AIDS. These children would have been left destitute and alone, having to fend for themselves. Now they have a home and a future they could never have dreamed of before. My goal is to make that happen one hundred times over in countries all over the world. Life and hope are beautiful things.
4. What was the hardest/toughest moment you had to deal with?
Obstacles you faced when dealing with bureaucracy, permits, funding, etc. Something you would like to point out to anyone who might be starting their own organization.
Traversing the legal and organization maze of starting and maintain a non-profit is a challenge. Life Link/Rogers County, Inc., is under a group exemption of “The Life Link” in Santa Fe, New Mexico which was started by a friend. They provide the tax covering we need and Life Link sends annual financial and progress reports to them for their audits. Finding someone to believe in me and my vision for orphans was an obstacle when I started as a 48 year old grandmother with no experience in dealing with people in third world countries. It has been 15 years now, and every hardship I have faced has been worth it.
5. What was the most fulfilling moment that happened to you?
I really can’t choose just one fulfilling moment. Some of the most fulfilling are when we receive a child or an infant, brought to us with a high fever, malnutrition, malaria, typhoid and perhaps HIV, and even though the Doctors give us no hope, the child lives and thrives and grows strong and healthy! I have seen this happen over and over again. We were there; the child lives. Take us away; the child dies. Just that simple.
6. What separates you from the rest? Why you?
One thing that separates us from the rest is we work with a lot of Native African women who have already taken children into their homes and only ask for a helping hand. One woman had three children of her own and had taken in six orphans from the village. When I met her she asked if I could just help with some money for food. We started working together and now she has a home with 25 children in it. That was 14 years ago. With Life Link, she has also started 4 other homes around the country of Ivory Coast (Cote d’Ivoire). Working with these women of integrity has been a great honor. Another distinguishing feature of Life Link, is that if someone designates funds for a special project, 100% of those funds go to the project.
7. Do you have any upcoming events in the forthcoming months?
We are currently raising money for the children’s Christmas. We serve about 500 children in our homes and our 3 village schools. Each child in a home will receive a personal gift and there is a party with balloons, treats and a special Christmas meal. We also provide a Christmas party for the schools and the villages where our schools are located. We are hoping to raise $3000 to cover these costs.
8. What is it that you love most about what you do?
After 15 years, we now have kids graduating from the homes. Several have been able to continue on to college, others were given vocational training and the supplies to open their own small business. Many still visit their “family” on a regular basis. Some are now married with families of their own. I love to see children who were literally dying when we received them, now living happy lives giving back to their villages and their countries. The hug, kisses and yells of “Mama Connie, Mama Connie” when I visit are pretty fantastic also!!
9. What is the biggest challenge you’re faced with today?
Consistent funding is a big challenge. There are few grants for the ongoing daily care of orphans. Most people want a project that can be finished in a certain time frame. Each infant received in a home is about an 18-year commitment. The last statistic I found is that 80% of all mission aid goes to the few English speaking African countries. That leaves a small amount for organizations like Life Link to help the remaining majority of non-English speaking countries. For smaller non-profits like Life Link, finding those whose heart’s desire is to help the smallest and weakest for the long term in those countries, is a daily challenge.
10. Anything else you would like to add?
Over the last 15 years Life Link has spent $747,713 on housing, feeding, clothing and training children in Africa and the Philippines.
We are currently raising funds to build a Widow’s Home in the Philippines. It will be a new area of ministry and we are excited about the opportunity. We will be working with a Pastor who currently owns the land and has offered it to Life Link for this purpose. If you are interested in this project you can contact me for information.
Contact: How can people reach out to you?
Your organization’s name, phone, address, e-mail and links to your website and social media
Life Link, PO Box 1691, Owasso, OK 74055.
Our phone number is 918-282-3132.
Connie Alessi, President
Big thanks for reading this interview from your number one local roofing contractor from Tulsa, Oklahoma, Ranger Roofing of Oklahoma.