Outreach’s Development Specialist and Volunteer Manager, Marsha Penrose, followed a thread of inspiration from her local library, over Niagara Falls, and through to our cherished longtime supporters to share the following gale-force testimonial:

While thinking about all the people in our Annual Report that have donated to Outreach International for years, it occurred to me that those are the people who, like Homan and his kite string, have laid the foundation for Outreach International’s work. People like you.

While my granddaughter was searching for her umpteenth book about princesses at the library last week, I looked through their online catalog on my cellphone for something about kites, thinking of it as an activity for both grandkids. A search result about a kid with a kite who helped build the first suspension bridge over Niagara Falls captured my attention.

Given the width of the Niagara gorge, the drop to the river below, and the turbulence of the rapids, the greatest challenge for the Niagara bridge-builders in the early 1800s was getting cables from one side of the falls to the other. After considering many unusual methods, the construction supervisor suggested having a kite-flying competition to see who could fly their kite over the gorge while keeping their string intact.

After several tries, 16-year-old Homan Walsh won the contest and a $5.00 prize, flying his kite from the Canadian to the American side. His kite string was then tied to sturdy trees and used as a pilot line to stretch increasingly stronger ropes and cables to the other side, which was the first step toward the construction of a bridge connecting Canada and America, completed in 1848.

While thinking about all the people in our Annual Report that have donated to Outreach International for years, it occurred to me that those are the people who, like Homan and his kite string, have laid the foundation for Outreach International’s work. People like you.

As an individual or as a group, you heard of a need and helped meet it. You bridge gaps of uncertainty and despair, and help create strong, resilient individuals and communities. Whether creating awareness with a Hunger Challenge, fundraising with a bake sale, making an honorary birthday gift, committing to give monthly, or including Outreach in your will, each effort made on behalf of those who lack access to basic needs provides strands of hope for humanity. Together, those strands have connected thousands to clean water, food, schools, electricity, sanitation, infrastructure, and more.

Over the years, your support has strengthened those connective strings, and helped build bridges of hope, dignity, and self-worth around the world.

Build your own bridge to the future by creating a legacy of hope! Everyone can do something, and collectively, we can make an even bigger impact. Share our work with others in your schools, workplaces, churches, and community, and help us build more bridges that can withstand even the mightiest gust. As Winston Churchill once said, “A kite rises against the wind, not with it.”