2010-04-01 / Front Page

Island brothers to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro

Effort to benefit orphaned children
By Holly Benton

Brothers Josh Furtado (left) and Jared Furtado will climb Mt. Kilimanjaro this June to raise money for orphaned children in Africa. Brothers Josh Furtado (left) and Jared Furtado will climb Mt. Kilimanjaro this June to raise money for orphaned children in Africa. Jamestown-born brothers Jared and Josh Furtado – co-founders and owners of Towerhill Associates in Newport – have hearts so big that they would climb a mountain for orphaned children in Kenya.

Literally.

This June, the brothers, along with their good friend, Jonathan Shippee, will make the seven-day trek up Africa’s Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise money for children living at the Flying Kites Leadership Academy, a home for orphaned children located in the central highland of Kenya.

After taking a trip to the orphanage last November, Jared Furtado said he came back inspired to help.

“I was able to meet the children and see the conditions, and witness first-hand just how bad it is,” he said. “There are so many children without anywhere to go, just living on the streets.”

Upon his return, Furtado shared the experience with his brother, who said he also wanted to get involved. The brothers decided to continue working with Flying Kites, a Newport-based nonprofit organization that provides highquality residential care to Kenya’s most desperate orphaned, homeless and abused children.

“What they’re doing down there is amazing,” Jared said. “I came back and showed Josh the pictures. We decided to participate in this program, Adventure Challenges, and do the Kilimanjaro trip.”

The Adventure Challenges program allows Flying Kites supporters to partake in one of six expeditions after achieving a set fundraising goal, which for the Furtado brothers is $10,000.

“We’re covering all the costs ourselves,” Josh said. “So that every dollar donated goes directly to Flying Kites. Essentially, it’s a really cool way to raise not just the money, but a lot of awareness for what Flying Kites is doing. That’s the big goal.”

As part of their climb, the brothers will sponsor two children currently living at the orphanage. Benson, 7, is an HIV-positive boy who loves Spiderman and wants to follow Jared to the top of the mountain. Daniel, 9, shares Josh’s love of dogs and cares for the orphanage’s new puppy, Winnie.

“We met the individual kids there, and they were amazing. It’s hard not to fall in love with them,” Jared said. “They’re just so grateful for everything they have – you’ve never met children like this.”

With 100% of donations going directly to Flying Kites and children like Benson and Daniel, Jared and Josh look forward to their climb in June.

“You see the resilience in these children from having absolutely nothing; it just makes you want to climb a mountain for them,” Jared said.

The Furtado’s stepfather, Stephen Page, spoke highly of his stepsons’ compassion, saying they make him want to constantly challenge himself to do and be more.

“We obviously couldn’t be any prouder of what they’re doing, but even more importantly, who they’ve become,” Page said of himself and his wife, Debra. “I’ve got a long way to go to catch up with those two.”

Mt. Kilimanjaro is one of the largest inactive stratovolcanos in the world and consists of a variety of terrains and climates, including subzero temperatures at the top.

“There are some risks, because the altitude is so high,” Josh said. “You have to acclimate in small stages so your body can adjust to the amount of oxygen in your blood and in your lungs.”

“It takes five days to get to the summit,” Jared added. “And the last day, you hike at night, so when you get to the top of the mountain, it’s sunrise. And our goal for that is to have a copy of the Jamestown Press with us and take a picture.”

With such a wonderful cause at work, the brothers are hoping to make their fundraising goal a reality. They have scheduled a fundraiser in April and an open house in May. The April fundraiser will take place at The Sambar in Newport, on Saturday, April 10, from 2 to 7 p.m.

“We’ll be there all day, giving as much information as we can on our trip, our fundraising efforts and Flying Kites, while people are having a good time,” Josh said. “Any donation goes such a long way and I think people sometimes want to find a new way to give, and this is such a good organization.”

An open house and fundraiser will take place in Jamestown on the porch of the old “Fricks” in the Bayview Condos on Saturday, May 8, from 9 a.m. to noon. The public is welcome to stop by, ask questions and potentially donate.

Donations can also be made online at http://www.firstgiving. com/furtadobrothers, or mailed directly to either Jared or Josh Furtado at P.O. Box 1043, Newport R.I. 02840. The Furtados can be reached via email with questions or comments, at either Jared@TowerH.com or Josh@ TowerH.com.

“We really wanted to connect with Jamestown people because we know that this is the kind of cause they’d really appreciate,” Josh said.

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