VB Gives Back

#VBGIVESBACK: Heather Washburne

January 1, 2018

We are honored to support Family Legacy as part of our ongoing #VBGIVESBACK program and will be donating $10 of every VeronicaBeard.com order in January to the cause.
When Heather Washburne was first introduced to Family Legacy, she never imagined her family would travel all the way to a small country called Zambia to volunteer. Family Legacy provides education and housing services to over 15,000 orphans and children living in Zambia, a country where one million children are orphans. After the Washburne’s first trip in 2014, they were forever changed and have returned multiple times to transform the lives of so many children in need. They will go back again this summer to open a home on the Family Legacy property that will house 12 orphans in need of full time education and care. Read more about the organization's mission in the interview below!

What are the goals of Family Legacy?

Family Legacy exists to transform families and individuals by engaging them with God's heart for the orphans of Zambia, and in doing so, transform the lives of these children through the power of God's Word, quality education, and residential care.

Why does Family Legacy focus on children in Zambia?

A generation of over one million orphaned children in Zambia on a daily basis face the daunting challenges of poverty and the needless deaths of their parents. Stigmatized and abandoned, they have been left to try and survive with little to no food and virtually no hope for an education. Zambia has the highest per capita orphan rate in the world. Zambia has the 7th highest AIDS infection rate and the 8th lowest life expectancy rate in the world.

When the founder of Family Legacy, Greer Kendall, returned to Zambia to see the country he was born in he saw the impact Family Legacy could have to eventually change the trajectory of the whole country one child at a time.


What types of programs are a part of Family Legacy?

Over time, Family Legacy has identified a unique approach to serving the orphans of Zambia. The concept is simple: connect American families seeking true significance with orphaned children in Zambia whose family identify has been taken from them. This is accomplished through three primary programs – Camp Life, the Legacy Academy Child Sponsorship Program and the Tree of Life Children’s Village.

Camp Life is a powerful experience for families and individuals seeking significance, where they join together to share God’s Word and serve orphaned and vulnerable children in Zambia, Africa. Each summer over 700 Americans come to Zambia to spend one week leading a group of 10 Zambian orphans.

Legacy Academy Child Sponsorship Program allows families and individuals to connect to God’s heart for the orphans of Zambia by providing a full scholarship for these children to receive a quality education in one of our 23 private schools. Right now, Family Legacy has 15,581 sponsored children and is the largest private educator in Lusaka.

The Tree of Life Children’s Village
, located just outside the capital city of Lusaka, is a 130-acre community of homes, a school, play grounds and a sports facility, for orphaned children designed to be a haven of hope and light for orphan children who live with Family Legacy full-time. The children at the Tree of Life come from the most severe backgrounds of poverty, abuse, and neglect. Some are HIV positive, while others come from child-headed households.
The Washburne Family with children at Camp Life.

How did you first get involved with Family Legacy?

My friend Sarah went to Zambia in the summer of 2013 and while she was there she sent me an email saying she had two girls, Dawn and Deborah, in her group at Camp Life who desperately needed to be removed from their current living situations. She would need a sponsor to be able to get them out, so I offered to sponsor Dawn to be moved into full time housing at Tree of Life. I had no idea I would be meeting her the next Summer

What was your first trip to Camp Life like?

Our first trip to Zambia was definitely getting out of our comfort zone in a major way. All of our expectations were exceeded, and we could never put into words our family's experience there. The best way to put it is we are going back in the summer if 2018 for the third time.

How many children are part of the Tree of Life Children’s Village?

Currently, we have 768 children living in 64 homes at the Tree of Life Children’s Village campus! Paulina is an example of a girl who came to Camp Life, but in the first day she got there she had to be taken to the medical tent because she had what would be a simple cut on her knee that was untreated and became infected. According to the doctor on site, she was at risk of losing her leg and her life. Our Family Legacy staff worked quickly with Paulina's grandmother and social welfare, and given the severity of the situation, we were granted immediate custody of this child. We knew that having her in our full-time care would give us the best possible fighting chance at saving her life and Lord-willing her leg, too! Paulina received the treatment and care she needed most while living in Grace House at the Tree of Life Children’s Village and she is still there today thriving in every way. Family Legacy not only saved her life but has given her an opportunity to be all that she can be.

How does Family Legacy work to get entire families into its programs?

Miriam, a little six-year-old girl, attended Camp Life 2014 in my group. Her father was and currently still is in prison, and her mother is an alcoholic who left Miriam and her siblings for days on end. The children were starving and severely neglected, as they were practically raising themselves. After learning about Miriam’s home life during one-on-one blessing time at Camp Life, we made a recommendation for Miriam to move into Family Legacy’s Tree of Life Children’s Village! That fall, when the social workers visited her home, they immediately saw it as an unfit place not only for Miriam but also for her brothers and sisters. They gave us the great news that we could move Miriam to the Tree of Life Children’s Village, but only if we rescued all five siblings together. So, along with Miriam, Ireen (11), James (9), Benjamin (3) and little Alex (1) were rescued, too. Today, Miriam and her siblings are experiencing abundant life in Family Legacy’s full-time care.
(L) Miriam and (R) Paulina.

What does it cost to sponsor a child?

Financial resources go so far over in Zambia. It is remarkable to see the life transformation that takes place when people invest into the lives there. We extend our deepest gratitude to Veronica Beard Gives Back for helping provide resources for our Unsponsored Child Fund. Just $48 underwrites a full month of education for a child!

Following grades 1-12, we have an Excel Beyond program where the graduates can hold an internship with us for a year before going off to trades, college, or to pursue a university degree. We are committed to seeing our kids all the way through so that they can be a part of transforming the future of their nation!


What are you most looking forward to on your trip this coming summer?

This summer we can't wait to hug on our children and see how much they have grown physically academically and a lot of emphasis is placed on developing their character as well. We get to visit their houses, classrooms and meet their teachers. And our family is going to be dedicating a house for 12 boys this summer at the Tree of Life called the Hill house. It will represent restoration which is what Family Legacy's work is about restoring souls and lives for these orphans and American families as well!


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