Notebook: November 2014
What Tulsans are talking about
Brittany Stokes and Christina Yarid at the groundbreaking ceremony of the Project Orphans Children’s Home in Uganda.
Courtesy Project Orphans
Project Orphans building third home
Brittany Stokes says her passion for helping and housing children without families was strengthened by the recent birth of her first child, daughter Briley.
Stokes and her friends, fellow Oral Roberts University graduate Christina Yarid and Tulsan Tiffany Smiling, built their first home for orphans in 2013 in Uganda through Project Orphans, the nonprofit they co-founded.
The organization recently built a second children’s home in Guatemala and is working on a third. Parental figures live with small groups of orphaned children in the homes so they feel they are really being adopted into a family, Stokes says. Project Orphans finds sponsors to help provide the children’s food, education and medical care.
“I can’t imagine Briley feeling abandoned or unloved,” Stokes says. “It’s my goal for these children who are cared for by our organization to never feel lonely or unworthy of unconditional love. It’s something every child deserves.”
TulsaPeople asked Stokes, who helps lead Project Orphans’ fundraising and marketing efforts, to tell readers about a child the nonprofit has helped:
“Sharon is one of the girls who lives in the Uganda Children’s Home. Sharon was found hanging onto her life in front of a police station after running away from an abusive slave-labor situation. Sharon was 10 years old and had never spent a day in school. Her parents had passed away, so she was sent to live with a few estranged ‘family’ members as a maid. She was forced to care for the younger children in the home, cook and manage the household chores. Still to this day, Sharon’s hands are so rough from all the work she had to endure as a young girl.
“It’s important to remember that even though these children have awful stories, they don’t live in the pain they endured in their past. ... They have hope in their eyes and a passion that no man can damage.
“I used to think success was about the number of children we would reach, but now I realize that it is about the children who we truly are able to save and provide hope to,” Stokes says.
Set the table, Tulsa
Local nonprofit Global Gardens has issued a challenge to Tulsa families this month: sit down for a meal together at least four times a week.
The “Set the Table Tulsa” initiative not only centers on eating together, but also encourages family members to engage with one another and minimize distractions during mealtime, according to a press release.
Tulsans taking the challenge can share their stories at www.setthetabletulsa.org.
Nov. 8 — “Set the Family Table,” Set the Table Tulsa kickoff event 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Global Gardens site at Rosa Parks Elementary, 13702 E. 46th Place. Bring a picnic lunch. Contact Cat Cox at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.setthetabletulsa.org.
Shane Fernandez named Minority Champion of the Year
A Tulsan is Minority Champion of the Year for the states of Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, New Mexico and Louisiana.
The U.S. Small Business Administration and the Oklahoma Department of Commerce recognized Shane Fernandez, recently named Nabholz Construction’s president of the southwest region, for the federal and state honors.
Fernandez’s leadership spans the state and region. He serves on the executive committee of the Tulsa Regional Chamber Board of Directors. He is founder and past-president of Mosaic, the chamber’s council on diversity and inclusion.
He also is president of Up with Trees of Tulsa and president-elect of the Oklahoma Center for Community and Justice (OCCJ).