By Justin Swanson | LB Indy
Living up to its name, With Our Two Hands, representatives of the Laguna Beach-based nonprofit will welcome orphans to a new home in Kenya this weekend. From funding through fruition, the seven-month, $40,000 project culminates in a ceremonial opening on Sunday, May 19, according to the founder.
Laguna resident Lindsey Pluimer, the organization’s founder, spearheaded building a new four-bedroom house on seven acres owned by an orphanage facing eviction elsewhere, only the latest in her organization’s philanthropic work in Kenya.
The former professional basketball player shot hoops in college at UCLA and later internationally for clubs in Spain and Australia. After a trip to South Africa where she volunteered in an orphanage, she decided to redirect her life and focus on helping the needy.
“I discovered it was something I had to do. It’d been in my heart for a while,” Pluimer says. “I found a little went a long way. The energy and love and joy of children is so beautiful to witness. I decided if I wasn’t going to do basketball, this is what I wanted to do.”
The primary mission of With Our Own Two Hands is to promote the tenets of yoga and sport as well as raise awareness and money to benefit children in Africa.
Pluimer, now a yoga instructor, explains that the practice of yoga requires self-disciplined breathing and body control and connecting to something greater than the self. Through sports, one also learns the value of teamwork in acting on a goal. By applying the two together, Pluimer thinks she can accomplish good works for children.
St. Ann’s will operate rent-free in their new home in Kikopey, Kenya. Though the orphanage owned land elsewhere, they lacked the resources for development, Pluimer says.
Though With Our Own Two Hands was established in 2010, the new home was not its first initiative for Kenya’s children. Previously, the organization provided school supplies and beds for another orphanage. As she spends the next week in Kenya following St. Ann’s opening, Pluimer will visit a school in Nairobi which may become a beneficiary also.
Plumier applies her twin interests in yoga and sport to fundraising also. For example, at a stand-up paddle event planned for June in Newport Beach, participants will perform yoga on the water. The organization will sponsor an upcoming 5k/10k run in November. The last run they put on drew 500 participants. And Pluimer plans a yoga retreat in Santa Barbara in August.
While Pluimer says contributions raised are spent entirely on operations, the organization’s financial results could not be verified at the nonprofit database Guide Star.
Additionally, a documentary about building the St. Ann’s orphanage is in the works, which Pluimer hopes will eventually be screened in Laguna Beach.
“I’m excited to show people where and what their contributions went for,” says Pluimer.