Exceptional Service: Cindy Outlaw
Written by Plant With Purpose on September 15, 2016 in General
The Adrian Award for Exception Service is an annual honor awarded at the Planting Hope Gala to someone who has deeply invested his or her heart into Plant With Purpose. This year’s recipient has not only served on our board of directors but co-chaired our recent Plant For Tomorrow expansion campaign, and was instrumental in launching Plant With Purpose Tanzania. Read on to get to know our deserving recipient and join us on October 8 to celebrate Cindy Outlaw in person.
Summiting six of the world’s seven highest peaks is just one of the accomplishments checked off of Cindy Outlaw’s bucket list. While adventuring around the world, this Solana Beach local’s heart for serving others can’t be denied. Her day-to-day life is just like any average American. As a stay-at-home mom, Cindy engaged in her children’s activities by volunteering in their classrooms, acting as troop leader for the Girl Scouts, and teaching Sunday school. Conquering supermom duties, Cindy still managed to travel to Tanzania in 2000 to summit Mt. Kilimanjaro.
Cindy’s interest in individuals and heart to help surfaced. While trekking, she got to know her Tanzanian guide. He shared about the dilapidated state of the school in his village and the lack of opportunities for education. Just three weeks prior to Tanzania, Outlaw had been hiking and met Fred Schnitzer, who built schools in Africa.
Returning to San Diego, her first call was to Fred followed by a second call to Point Loma Nazarene University (Cindy’s alma mater). One year later she found herself with a group of students from PLNU on a Love Works trip constructing a school on the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro. During the three-week trip, Cindy was struck by the malnutrition she saw in the children and the deforestation of the local rainforest.
Back home, once again, Cindy recalled Plant With Purpose as an organization that is addressing the very issues of poverty and environmental degradation. A meeting was arranged with executive director, Scott Sabin and followed by Plant With Purpose’s board approving an exploratory trip to Tanzania in 2003. One year later the Tanzanian program launched!
As the program took root, the burden of poverty for these rural families began to ease. Cindy recalls visiting with a young Tanzanian mother. During this heart-to-heart conversation between moms, Cindy learned that in the past this Tanzanian mother could not feed her children enough food to keep them nourished. Malnutrition left her children weak. After walking to school, they would fall asleep lacking the energy to learn. Plant With Purpose taught her how to grow enough food to feed her family. Her children are now thriving—vibrant and doing well in school.
This mom in Tanzania is just one of the more than 8,000 families who are experiencing a brighter tomorrow because of Outlaw’s vision for those living in the shadows of Mt. Kilimanjaro. In Tanzania alone, 7.5 million trees have been planted restoring farms and providing an abundance of food for families in poverty.
Thirteen years later, Plant With Purpose celebrates the impact that Cindy, a local hero, is having on Africa. Executive Director Scott Sabin shares, “During her service she has been a tireless champion for the work in Africa and instrumental to its rapid growth.” The Tanzania program has acted as the launching point for country programs in Burundi and most recently the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
One trip to Tanzania to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro and a genuine interest in the people Cindy encounters while trekking allowed something extraordinary to happen. Plant With Purpose looks forward to celebrating Cindy at this year’s Planting Hope Gala.