Love One with Suzanne Mayernick & Lauren Akins
This week on She’s in the City, we’re hanging out with the ladies behind Love One International, our official partner serving vulnerable children and their families in Uganda. The why for Love One was spurred on the heels of founder Suzanne Mayernick’s first international adoption when she brought home her precious, now 13 year old, Josie Love.
When Suzanne found Josie at 3, she didn’t walk or talk, having been left not only without family but also suffering from tuberculosis, malaria, and HIV. With very little local understanding or resources for treating these illnesses, Suzanne’s heart was overcome by the medical and spiritual needs of thousands of children like Josie Love.
“I watched this shell of a child turn into the vibrant little girl she now is, who truly is a ray of sunshine everywhere she goes,” Suzanne says. And the rest is history.
Love One is now a community based, non-profit organization serving highly physically at risk children from villages in and around Misindi, Uganda. Suzanne and her daughter, Grace, both Nashville natives, travel extensively to their Love One Center throughout the year, with a full staff of community liaisons working day in, day out to find malnourished or vulnerable children in the area and get them immediately into treatment. The children’s rehabilitation can last anywhere from two weeks to many months, during which any parents or family members of the child are educated and trained on how to continue to care for them after treatment concludes.
Though some don’t have any remaining family or potential care takers and are in need of adoption, Love One works to reunite and resettle children who do have loving communities back into those villages for the further growth and for education and well-being of the community as a whole.
Lauren Akins, who found her daughter Willa Gray while traveling and serving with Love One, shares much of her own adoption story, her work in Uganda, and the overwhelming sense of healing the organization has already fostered in the villages they serve.
“We’re busting at the seams,” she grins. “Slowly as we resettle now healthy, previously near-death children back into communities, we’re starting to gain trust, traction, and growth among the local villages.”
Lauren shares with us the remarkable plans already in the works to expand Love One’s Care Centers and properties to facilitate treatment for over 100 children at a time. Real estate has been purchased for those projects and fundraising has already begun!
One thing we love about these ladies is their commitment to exactly what their name implies – meeting physical and spiritual needs of one child at a time. We can easily find ourselves paralyzed if we attempt to address the enormity of poverty, sickness, and malnourishment as a whole. Love One does it right by focusing on how to change whole communities and whole hearts by loving just one child at a time.
How do we help support LO as an international organization?
-Donate to Love One
-Buy their swag
-Buy NaSHEville swag
-Come to our SHE-esta fundraiser to benefit Love One
-Get creative! Use your skill sets, small businesses, personalized events to give back. Simply reach out to email@example.com to coordinate fundraising efforts.
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