A volunteer service journey to Kenya is scheduled to kick off Dec. 30. Service Journey volunteers will experience Africa first-hand while traveling in Kenya as a group with Beverly Stone, Expanding Opportunities’ founder and director, as well as indigenous Kenyans who work with the organization. An invitation is extended to individuals and groups with a desire to serve those in Kenya and gain personal reward and perspective.

Expanding Opportunities obtained nonprofit status in 1999 with a mission to increase self-sufficiency through educational and charitable projects nationally and internationally. The organization began as a feeding program for street boys that has developed into several programs to increase self-sufficiency: Aina Moja, a retail shop in downtown Belfast providing market for artists in Kenya; JWHS, a children’s home in Mangu that offers a safe home and education while meeting the needs of former orphans, street boys and rescued girls resisting early forced marriage and female genital mutilation; and Gordon Clem Academy, a newly constructed school in the rural village of Aremiet that opened in February for secondary students. Service Journey volunteers will engage with the individuals involved with these programs and assist in various ways from physical labor to skills sharing.

In addition, the group will support Aina Moja artisan-support project to follow up and seek new artisans for continued support, community building and human relations. It will be a rewarding experience for cultural exchange and social responsibility as volunteers experience diversity and support skilled craftsmanship.

The Service Journey is planned for Dec. 30 through Jan. 14; however, extended stay volunteers are welcome and encouraged. Cost of the 16-day adventure is $2,800 and includes flight and accommodations. Those interested are encouraged to call Nicole Carbisiero at 930-9766 or visit Aina Moja at 39 Main St./1B in downtown Belfast. For more information, visit exop.org.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.