Meet Jeff Munn, a National Instruments employee who has traveled to visit the kids twice to teach them robotics (and is getting ready for his third trip next month). In addition to supporting Miracle Foundation with a monthly donation, Jeff consistently helps spread the word about the kids and how other people can get involved. Read about why Jeff supports us below:
Q: What inspired you to go on your first trip?
A: I attended a presentation at National Instruments by Miracle Foundation and thought it would be an incredibly impactful trip. I’m passionate about science, children, philanthropy, and travel so it seemed like the perfect match: Traveling to India to teach science to orphaned children! My initial reaction was, “I don’t have time to prepare. I don’t have the money. And I don’t know how I’m going to get enough time off of work.” So I did what I always do when someone tells me I can’t do something: I signed up.
Q: What inspired you to go on this trip again?
A: Miracle Foundation’s approach is measurable, and they can prove that benchmarks are being met and that the children’s interest in STEM—even the girls—dramatically increases after our trips. Some of the kids are even going to college to pursue engineering degrees. They’ll probably go on to do great things, live great lives, and have families of their own. We had done it. We had helped to break the cycle of poverty. We had inspired and given hope to impoverished children that the world had forgotten about. We had transformed lives. How could I ever consider not going back to do it again? It’s quite literally the most important and impactful thing I have ever done in my life.
Q: What was your favorite part of a previous trip?
A: That face. You know that face when a child discovers something for the first time? That face of wonder and excitement? That face of magic becoming reality? That face that says, “I can accomplish anything!” That face is my favorite. That face when they finally have all the LEGOs put together and they run the WeDo code for the first time, and the kicker actually turns and kicks! That face when they see the incredible creations that their friends and brothers and sisters have made. That face that says, “Two years ago, I didn’t even know where I was going to find food, and today, I’m full and safe and healthy and I BUILT A ROBOT WITH MY OWN HANDS!” That’s the face that makes all the problems in the world just melt away for a moment. And I get to see that face on dozens of kids—orphaned no less—over and over again.
Q: What are you looking forward to most this time around?
A: This year our group is mostly women! I think we’re really going to impact the girls this year, big time. Having so many female engineers on the trip will surely be inspirational for the girls. I think that this year, the girls won’t simply see learning STEM and robotics as fun and exciting; they’ll see it as a future career possibility. They’ll see that what they’re learning from these female engineers is applicable to each one of them, personally.
Also, I think that working directly with professional female engineers will be great for the young boys, too. We’ll certainly be setting an example of equality, teaching and playing and laughing and loving all of the children.
Q: Why does this cause matter to you?
A: We are literally transforming lives and helping end the cycle of poverty for some of these amazing kids.
Interested in making miracles for orphans using your unique set of talents? Email Steph at Steph@MiracleFoundation.org today!
Photos by Antonio Delgado