Doing Good: Infinite Family connects caring mentors with Southern African children

Doing Good: Infinite Family connects caring mentors with Southern African children

posted in: Doing Good, This & That | 3

Infinite Family is a US-based non-profit that connects caring mentors world-wide with children and teenagers in Sub-Saharan Africa who have few or no adult role models. In 2009 Infinite Family launched a proprietary technology platform that enables mentors to speak with the children through a video/chat room.

These weekly video conferences enable the adults to share in the lives of the children they mentor, and to provide guidance and support with decisions, challenges, and goals. The idea for Infinite Family developed with Founder Amy Stokes when she arrived in Johannesburg, South Africa to adopt her son, and saw how HIV/AIDS had left thousands of children without parents or adult role-models. Amy returned to the U.S. and soon met up with Dana Gold, an adoptive mother of a son from the same orphanage and they built a team and spent years beta-testing and then launching their innovative platform and program.

Today Infinite Family has over 400 volunteers, donors, directors, and advisors and they have mentored over 150 children. Infinite Family partners with local NGO's to operate five computer labs in South Africa. Recently Amy Stokes was recognized as a 2011 CNN Hero for the work she has done with Infinite Family, you can see the video here.

The work of Infinite Family has been near and dear to my heart since I became a mentor in June, 2009. Every week I speak with a fifteen year old boy named Kopano who lives in a household with his sisters and brothers, and despite many hardships is resilient and optimistic. Kopano works hard in school and was selected for the advanced class in his grade. We often talk about his goals which have ranged from becoming a paramedic to a financial analyst.

I've had the honor of watching Kopano grow into an amazing young man who is full of energy, enthusiasm, curiosity, intelligence, and compassion. He has spoken many times with my daughter Katie and has become an important part of our lives. Recently Kopano sent me this beautiful poem he wrote and gave me permission to publish it here:

It is an amazing experience building a nurturing relationship with a child located halfway around the world, thanks to the power of technology and the creative vision of Amy Stokes and the work of the Infinite Family team; Dana Gold, Sheba Gittens, Zoleka Petse, Christina Potsane (a former mentee with Infinite Family), and many others. If you would like to find out more about Infinite Family or becoming a mentor, please visit their website.

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