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Happy 8th Birthday Aura’s House! Happy 19th Birthday to Aura!

30 June 2012 3 Comments

Help us Celebrate and win a $100 Amazon Gift Card or $100 Donation to Your Favorite Charity.

Abraham and his mother in Honduras in their newly-stocked grocery store

It’s our 8th birthday today here at Aura’s House. Thanks so much for all the support and encouragement over the years! We know that we are small, but we are proud of our little projects that make a big difference. Enter our Birthday Raffle to help us celebrate and you could win $100 for yourself or favorite charity in the process.

Thanks to the small donations (usually just $10 or under…) of lots of people over the years, we’ve raised over $86,000 for housing, health, education, and income generation projects for needy children and their families and communities in North, Central, and South America, Africa, and Asia.


Happy Eighth Birthday Aura’s House!

Aura’s House was first launched on this day back in 2004 as a humble web page with one simple (but daunting) goal: to raise $4500 to build a safe, sturdy brick home for my sponsored child Aura Yesenia Solis Hernandez (age 10 at the time) and her family of Guatemala. See Aura’s family’s NEW HOME!
See their old house.


The old mud house and their new home (2005) before they added the final touches.


What has Aura’s House done in 8 years? Well…

  • To date: raised over $86,000 for needy families.
  • Completed 62 Projects Total including:  13 Housing and Home Repair Projects, 12 Education Projects, 16 Income Generation Projects, 3 Emergency Projects, 17 Household Needs Projects, and 1 Community Water Well Project.
  • Inspired “Sponsorthon” at Children International which is now the Lift One Project.
  • Worked with the non profit organizations: Children International, Kenya Kids in Need, The American University of Rome, The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, and Child Focus Fund.
  • Currently has 3 active projects to help provide badly-needed roof and home repairs, free preventive dental exams, education support, and supplies to needy families in Guatemala, Honduras, and the USA.


Happy Nineteenth Birthday Aura!

In 2006 when AH partner, Anastasia Yecke and I visited Aura Yesenia Solis Hernandez and her family in Guatemala, we learned that Aura’s birthday is actually June 30th as well! (My updates from Children International always said June 6th on them.)

Today she turns 19 and is now, thanks to support from Children International’s sponsorship program and Aura’s House donors, a self-sufficient young woman with a high school diploma and teacher’s certification. She will begin studying at University in 2013 and is employed in her village as an Elementary School teacher. Read more about Aura’s accomplishments.

(Sniff) Today is also the day that I am no longer Aura’s sponsor as she graduates from Children International’s program. 🙁 Luckily we will still stay in touch through letters and Aura’s House will continue to follow her progress as a young adult and University student.

Aura Yesenia on her graduation day with her parents

To celebrate Aura’s birthday, myself and two year-old son Lukas have chosen another child to sponsor. His name is Jonathan David of Guatemala. He’s the same age as Lukas and even looks a bit like him. We look forward to a long-lasting relationship with Jonathan and his family and hope to visit both him and Aura and her family in Guatemala one day in the not too distant future.

Site’s History and Partners

Never having ever participated in so much as a bake-sale before the first house project for Aura, I dutifully contacted, bugged, and pestered everyone I knew.  After about 5 months, it was done. $4500 raised, plus $500 for furniture and $700 for Aura’s school. Way more than I could have imagined.

Thanks to Anastasia Yecke (the first donor at the site whom I didn’t already know), she convinced me to keep the site going so we could raise more funds for needy families around the world. Today I have six wonderful and amazing partners who make this site possible: Anastasia Yecke, Mike Epler (whom I met while volunteering in Tanzania), Christina Sidoti (my former web student at William Paterson University in NJ.), Heather LaBonte Efthymiou (an amazing volunteer turned partner), Zoe (Courtenay) Honeycutt (one of our first donors turned partner) and Inga Katelari (yet another amazing volunteer turned partner.)

We also have had some wonderful volunteers and interns over the past few years.  In particular, we are grateful to volunteer, Mats Andersson for all his amazing help keeping the site up to date. THANK YOU so much for all you do. See a full list of all the wonderful volunteers we are thankful for.

Help us celebrate!

Please consider donating as little as $8 to one or more of our active projects. It is only through the accumulation of small donations from normal, everyday people that have enabled us to help so many needy families around the world. We may not be Bill Gates or Oprah, but we can all do our small part to make the world a little better for those trying to overcome extreme poverty. Consider helping a family who will never be able to repay you. (*Plus you may win a $100 Amazon Gift Card or $100 Donation to your favorite charity which would be a nice bonus along with the non-material reward of helping fellow human beings.)

You can also email this post to eight of your friends or post a link to us on Facebook, Digg, or Twitter.
Thanks so much! Happy Birthday Aura’s House and Happy Birthday Aura!

Best wishes,
Kristen, Anastasia, Mike, Christina, Courtenay, Heather, Inga, Mats, and The Aura’s House Team


Happy Birthday to Us! :-)



  • Kristen (author) said:


  • Kristen (author) said:

    It looks like Children International’s site is undergoing maintenance, and therefore will not be accepting donations until July 2. Since we are working with CI, our payment page is directly through them. Thanks to those of you who would like to enter the raffle and donate. Please come back and try again on July 2.

  • Kristen (author) said:

    OK. All set. They’re back.

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