LOL – Let Them Laugh Out Loud
By Carol S. Wolf
A few months ago, I received an email from Joann Brooks explaining that she and her daughter were volunteers at LOL – Let Them Laugh Out Loud, a grassroots, humanitarian, non-profit organization that provides clean drinking water, meals, education, lodging, medical care, hope, and a future for people of Mano in Sierra Leone, Africa. I checked out their website and discovered the amazing things they are doing.
The volunteer office for LOL is at 5205 Harris Hill Rd. in Williamsville, NY. I met with Katie Arcara, a visual graphic designer who helps people understand what LOL is all about. Her job is to let people know what LOL is all about visually. She and her husband Peter have been volunteers for five years, since 2012. Katie said, “I had a friend who went on a trip to West Africa (where we are partners). When he came back, he told us about what they were doing there and when we heard about it we knew we had to get involved. I didn’t go on a trip there until about a year later. At that time, I was a volunteer.”
Kate Vacanti, Director, is also a co-founder. She and her husband Joe went to a conference in Atlanta, Georgia and were amazed at how so many people were experiencing unjust suffering simply because they lacked basic resources to embrace a better future. They came back and started LOL. Their mission is to empower communities experiencing unjust suffering by providing them the basic resources and sustainable development so they can embrace a better future. Some of the things they do there is well drilling, well maintenance, and provide water filters for clean water. So far, they have drilled seven new wells, completed 200 well maintenance visits, provided 45,713 people with clean water, employed 51 Sierra Leone locals, logged 2,753 visits to the medical staff, treated 1,067 student malaria cases, provided 39 children with full-time care, placed 503 students in school, donated 6,912 meals to WNY Food Bank, packed 155,736 nutritious meals, and served 97,000+ meals at their school with the help of 4,000 volunteers.
One of LOL’s co-founders has a very unique laugh. Katie shared that the organization decided to make this laugh a ringtone to raise funds for clean water and spread awareness. LET THEM because many people who are suffering are full of joy, but their suffering prevents them from having a better future: LOL because we are using laughter to bring them hope.
I was really amazed at all they are doing and with so many volunteers. Katie gave me some of their flyers; one of the things stressed on them is that Buffalo is known as the “City of Good Neighbors,” here and around the world. Katie was so enthused about everything they are doing. She told me she volunteered for five years and then, about two years ago, she started working here. I asked her what has kept her here. She said, “I realized that we are really no different; many of us are struggling. However, we basically have so much more. Our group has empowered communities there by meeting physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. We bring them lasting change through clean water, providing well drilling, maintenance, and implementing healthcare. We have created a website and have opportunities for people to sponsor a child or become a volunteer. Right now, we have over 1,000 volunteers. That is amazing to me.”
Volunteer Center: 5205 Harris Hill Rd., Williamsville, NY 14221 716-458-0785
Drop-in hours: 9am-7pm & Sat. 9am-1pm.
E-mail: INFO@ LETTHEMLOL.COM
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|Carol Wolf is a writer, speaker, storyteller, and leader of workshops and retreats. She is retired from 35 years in health care administration and co-hosts a TV show called Challenge for the 21st Century for the Network of Religious Communities. She is the author of Journey into Prayer and Biblical Storytelling in Youth Ministry. She has been married to Dick for 58 years and they have two sons, four grandchildren, and one great-grandson.|
Carol wrote this book as part of her two year Master's program in the Academy for Biblical Storytellers. It has just been published and is available for $10.00. Carol is an author, speaker and leader of workshops meditations and conference.
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