As the only son of Dominican-native parents, Geguel Landestoy truly appreciates the value of opportunity. In his youth, his parents ensured a future full of promise by migrating his family of eight to American soil. Today, he honors their commitment through an education and career devoted to giving back, and serving as an avid volunteer.
Amid his inspiration, Landestoy credits his experience as a mission trip student abroad in Africa with The Kerry Jon Walker Fund (KJWF) for his motivation. “I am extremely honored, and grateful to have had the amazing opportunity of visiting Rwanda,” shares Landestoy. “It was a trip that offered profound knowledge and opened my eyes to how a small contribution can make such a big difference.”
Today, Landestov is proudly a first-generation college graduate, furthering his education through a Master’s degree program at Simmons College where he aspires to a future as a science teacher. He witnesses the value of his KJWF mission trip in his daily life, while serving in special education at The New England Center for Children in Southborough. His passion for working with youth, in particular with those challenged with physical limitations and learning difficulties, is audible in his voice. “I love the work that I do for the simple fact that I am helping kids achieve their full potential and most importantly learn how to embrace their uniqueness at this amazing school.”
Paralleling his career of giving, Landestoy recently accepted the role as a member of the KJWF Board of Directors, and rejoins KJWF on a mission trip to Rwanda as a chaperone this summer. “I am extremely excited! As a future educator, it is an honor to engage in this amazing adventure and help other young students learn more about themselves and the struggles that others endure daily.”
The inspiration for the formation of The Kerry Jon Walker Fund evolved when life-long educator Mikey Walker experienced the problems plaguing third-world countries during a trip to Guinea, West Africa in 2005, one of the world’s poorest countries. Shaken by widespread poverty, yet deeply touched by the generosity freely given by those who had so little, Walker transformed her personal journey into a greater mission to help. The extraordinary experience inspired her to found The Kerry Jon Walker Fund, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping humanity and supporting those affected by poverty, in memory of her late son. Since 2010, KJWF has been dedicated to enhancing the education of youth in America and abroad, promoting initiatives designed to improve the quality of life those suffering from poverty by promoting sustainable programs to improve health, education and economic opportunity for those in need. By bringing literacy and educational necessities to children across the world, KJWF provides students like Landestoy and those abroad with the hope to aspire to a better future for themselves and their communities,
KJWF funds mission trips for financially-challenged teen students providing life-changing opportunities of global service in Africa, inspiring youth leadership. The experience has fueled those leadership qualities now thriving in Landestoy as an adult. On their fifth annual expedition this summer, Landestoy will experience the journey through the lens of a chaperone to several devoted students. “The Kerry Fund creates leaders to help the Fund’s mission while it empowers inner city students to become leaders themselves by becoming involved in world service.”
Landestoy, Walker and fellow former mission student/current chaperone Jameilis Matos recently gave a presentation to the members of Old Ship Church in Hingham in gratitude for a grant that helps continue their work. On her own student mission trip experience, Matos was inspired. “It was really life changing for me,” she shares. “I feel like I was able to mature and grow so much through this program.”
KJWF’s goal is to provide opportunities for five new students this summer to charitably create global objectivity previously not in their vision. The group will continue KJWF’s service to the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village in Rwanda, home and school to 500 homeless and victimized teens, young victims of the country’s genocide. The Boston-based students serve and bond with their homeless peers abroad, African teens who once survived daily conditions that lacked clean water, electricity and reliable food sources. Currently students are considered from schools in Boston districts, enhancing their potential to grow into strong citizen leaders.
To donate, learn more or support the Kerry Jon Walker Fund, visit www.thekerryfund.org.