Fire & Heart - Blake Goodfellow with Krochet Kids

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I had the opportunity recently to chat with Blake Goodfellow who is affiliated with Krochet Kids about how he got involved with this organization and what about his work makes him fiery, passionate, and moved to action... which is what the Fire & Heart series is all about, and just so happens to be one of my favorite subjects to talk about. Here is my interview with Blake:

Blake and his beautiful family.

TEE: Tell us a little bit about your background.
Blake: I graduated from the University of Tennessee in 2000 with a degree in Landscape Architecture and immediately went to work in the field.  A year later, I left Landscape Architecture to work for Young Life, a ministry for high school students.  In 2003, I moved with my wife and daughter to Orange County, California to continue working for Young Life.  We lived there for 7 years and had 3 more kids in that time.  Three years ago, I went back to the Landscape Architecture field.  During that time, though, I became very passionate about social justice and started exploring ways to empower people living in poverty.

TEE: How did you get involved in Krochet Kids? 
Blake: When I was on Young Life staff I had a group of guys that were leaders and that I mentored.  Those are the guys who founded and are still running Krochet Kids.  Three years ago they asked me to be on their Board of Directors and, of course, I said yes.  I believed greatly in what they were doing and was honored to be a small part of it.

TEE: Please explain your role/job for us.
Blake: I am the Director for Krochet Kids Peru.  Krochet Kids currently has a very successful program in Gulu, Uganda where we employ over 120 women.  These women used to live in poverty and are now earning an income crocheting hats.  The income they receive empowers them to provide food, water, clothing, and education for their entire family.  Our program also includes capacity development.  We believe everyone has worth and should have a dream for their lives.  So, our women learn valuable things about financial management, savings, and business practices so they can move beyond Krochet Kids and pursue their dreams.  
 Last year Krochet Kids decided that it was time to expand to another country and after much research picked Peru as that country.  My family and I moved to Lima, Peru in January to start the program here.  We are currently working with local organizations and churches to start our program with 10 women.  In August we will begin knitting hats and this winter you will be able to buy products from our Krochet Kids Peru line.

TEE: What is your motivator to be part of this organization?
Blake: The motivation is love. I believe love changes everything and unfortunately, a large population in the world does not receive it.  To get up everyday and go love on these women that have given up hope is a dream come true.  Watching them receive that love and then find ways to then go love others is an amazing thing to be a part of.

TEE: What is the most challenging part of the tasks laid before you and what pushes you through the difficult stuff?
Blake: So far the most challenging part has been learning Spanish and adapting to
a new culture. We are slowly acclimating and learning more each day. It has also been difficult to see the level of poverty in Lima. Many days I cannot believe the living conditions that I see. It is hard to not get discouraged and overwhelmed. I push through the difficult times by remembering why we are here. We can't help everyone (nor is it our job), but right now we can help 10 women. It's a privilege to be allowed to walk alongside these 10 women and be a part of their lives. Iknow that my family and I will be changed just as much as these women are changed. As part of the human race, we are all in this together. 

TEE: Tell us about a moment when your work has made your heart swell.
Blake: The look on the women's faces when we tell them about what we do is priceless.  All they want is to be able to take care of the essentials for themselves and their kids, but they struggle to do so.  Their circumstances are just too tough for them to overcome.  When they hear about the details of Krochet Kids, and that we aren't just giving them handouts for today or the next week, but that they will be empowered to provide for themselves, a little bit of their self worth is restored.  Getting to be in relationship with these women and building into their soul it what makes my heart swell.
TEE: What can we do to help?
Blake: Buy a hat, change a life! That's what we say at Krochet Kids. 
By buying products from Krochet Kids, you are empowering women to rise out of
poverty. Spread the word to your family and friends. And, I always
suggest that people do what they can to educate and expose themselves to
poverty, and what is happening around the world. That is how we, as a
family, got started down this road and we believe everyone can take part
to end poverty in our world. 

Follow the Goodfellow Family's journey here.
and don't forget to buy a hat!!

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