Saying good-bye to:
A pillar of:
Independence. Fearlessness. Determination. Generosity. Creativity
Because we all know there is more than meets the eye with you. Give us a little history on Kiki!
A: Well, after saving this question for last I think it’s more easily answered by reading the rest of my answers to the other questions..
Q: When and how did you come to find Matilda Jane?
A: I joined the MJC family in 2009 as a high school intern and never left. I started as an intern that glued pin packs to flowers a few hours every morning and at the end of the semester didn’t want to part with my new friends at MJC so I worked part-time as a packer and puller until I got the privilege to work with Sam and Denise in the cutting room and the rest is history. I finished high school and tried the whole college thing for a semester until I dropped out to work full time. I went from working with Sam in the cutting room to running the Platinum department with a few of my best friends in a matter of years.Q: For those who don’t know, where is your next big adventure taking place?
A: Kitale, Kenya. (Africa)
Q: Africa is definitely in your blood. When did you know you would do anything for the opportunity to live over there?
A: Since I was young the idea of being in Africa has always appealed to me. In May of 2012 Denise sent me on my first trip to Africa. After visiting Rwanda and working with the women there I knew it was what I was meant to do. I came home and was determined to get myself back to Africa one way or another. A few months later Denise sent me a text asking if I wanted to go to Kenya with her and a few of her friends..of course I said YES. And it was on that trip that I knew Kitale, Kenya was where I wanted to be and nothing would make me happier than loving on the kids and people of that small town that I had fallen head of heels for the second we pulled into the orphanage and were surrounded by all the beautiful children.Q: What is it that makes you love this far away country so much that, you are willing to leave your friends, your family and a wonderful job? I’m pretty sure I know the answer, but we all want to know. 😉
A: The kids. The people. They easily win you over with a smile. And there’s no stopping them from stealing pieces of your heart with every single smile, giggle and/or hug. But then they break your heart with their stories and you fall even more for them. And you’re left lost in love with a beautiful country full of beautiful people that were born into a hard life but still radiate so much more love, hope, happiness and joy than you would think was possible. And that’s just one of the reason why I love Kenya and why I am willing to walk away from my comfortable life here to try and make even the tiniest dent in the lives that I come in contact with.
Q: What does the Mighty Acorn house symbolize to you?
A: “Just as the acorn contains the mighty oak tree, the self has everything it needs to fulfill its destiny. When the inner conditions are right, it naturally emerges.” –Derek Rydall By providing the girls with a safe home, love and a hope for a better life I think it symbolizes those inner conditions being right. I hope that by providing the girls with the everyday needs that start with a safe home to live in along with love, hope and an education they will be able to blossom into the women they hope to be and chase the dreams they thought would never be possible instead of the destiny they once thought they were doomed for!Q: Where will you live while you are in Kenya?
A: I will be living in the Mighty Acorn house with all the girls and can’t wait! (In my own room though)
Q: How do you plan on connecting families with their sponsored child? Why is this so important to you?
A: I plan on connecting in anyway that is possible and necessary to build a true and lasting relationship between the families and their child whether that is letter writing, emailing, Skying or phone calls or any other ways that we think of. This is the most important part of my job and the part that I am most passionate about. Like I said, you will easily fall for the kids with a simple smile or giggle or hug and I want to do everything I can to make these girls feel special, loved and worthy and am willing to do whatever it takes for them to feel all those things and more from their families by providing that connection between the two. And I’m always open to ideas on how do this even better..so never hesitate to share if you’ve got ideas or thoughts on how to make this better!Q: How will sponsoring a Mighty Acorn change a life? Can you give us an example of life as they know it and how it will be forever changed?
A: Imagine you have been born and raised into a world that it surrounded by total and complete poverty. You wake up in the same dirt that seems to cover every surface of the city you call home. You live with a handful of other siblings that share that same dirt as a bed. You once had parents that you haven’t seen in so long you can’t even remember what they look like. Parents that have been gone for so long that you aren’t even sure if you still have any. You and your siblings do anything and everything you can to find food and just survive day to day life in the Kipsongo slum. BUT one day an American woman and her friends visit and fall in love and go home and share you story with their friends and they all want to do something to change the life you thought you were destine for and they CHANGE that destiny. They provide you with a safe place to not only lay your head at night but also the love, education, hope and opportunity you thought was only possible in your dreams. But now it’s a reality and you are forever change. Kenya is one person closer to a better place.
Q: Who has been the greatest influence in your life?
A: I could easily just say the Lord but not only Him but also the my parents and other individuals He has put in my life that constantly point me back to Him and have encouraged me to never give up on my dreams no matter how impossible they seem at the time.
Q: If you were to be granted one wish, what would it be?
A: I would wish for a better life and opportunity from the begging for all the kids in Kenya..and the rest of the world.
Q: You are one of the most independent, strong and determined young women I know. Where do you find the strength to follow your dreams and stand by your convictions?
A: The one and only provided or true strength and hope, the Lord.Q: What frivolous pleasure will be the hardest to leave behind?
A: Starbucks Coffee. No doubt.
Q: What are five adjectives your friends would use to describe you?
A: I text a group of my friends and these are the 5 that were named the most.
Independent. Fearless. Determined. Generous. Creative.
Q: What is your favorite memory from childhood?
A: Memory? Disney World, of course. haha. But Seriously, the best part of my childhood is that I was born into a Christian home and was raised by two parents that loved me unconditionally (and still do) and reminded me everyday that Christ has given me my talents and personality traits for a reason and through Him all things are possible..even my dreams to impact Africa somehow. Q: What is your favorite Matilda Jane memory?
A: I think it’d be impossible to narrow it down to just one! The past few years have been the most growing, challenging and fun years of life so far. I have built friendships that will last until the end. I’ve found another family of people that will forever hold a part of my heart. Dropping out of college for this company was the best decision I’ve ever made. Denise has taught me all about being a leader, a hard worker, an independent strong willed women while doing all those things with good character and a generous heart.
Q: We are all going to miss you so much! Tell us how you plan on keeping us involved and informed throughout your journeys.
A: I’m a huge fan of Instagram and will continue to post from both my personal account (kiaraamstutz) and the Mighty Acorn account (mightyacrons). I also have a personal blog (theycallmekiara.blogspot.com) that I post on regularly. We also hope to have a Mighty Acorn blog set up as soon as possible so you can follow along there too! I’ll be sure to share the link as soon as it’s up and running.