Lindsey Dickey gives Diego a big hug after to celebrate her decision to become his caregiver. Dickey was so moved by Diego’s plight and the lack of resources to help him she took matters into her own hands, uprooting her life and returning to South Africa to care for him (Contributed/The Report).

Twin Lakes woman opens school for underprivileged children in South Africa

By Mike Ramczyk
Staff Writer

Lindsey Dickey always wanted to help people.

When the Twin Lakes native and Wilmot High School graduate left the United States for South Africa in 2016, she knew she wanted to get into the medical field but didn’t know exactly where that path would lead.

Little did she know in less than two years she would change her life – and the lives of children – forever.

Along with some help, Dickey started the Glo House, a nonprofit organization where South African kids can learn, grow and enjoy a positive, loving environment.

Taking a leap
She decided to take a gap year and volunteer for six months in South Africa. There, while teaching, she met a 10-year-old boy named Diego.

“We clicked right away and became really close by the time I had to come back to the U.S.,” Dickey said. “When I left Cape Town, I felt like I had not accomplished what I had set out for.”

Dickey just couldn’t stop thinking about Diego and the children she met 8,000 miles away.

She said she couldn’t go anywhere else in the world without checking on these children.

When she returned to South Africa, things had changed drastically.

“Diego was in a really terrible living situation,” Lindsey said. “He wasn’t enrolled in school, was living and working in a gangster drug house and looked very unhealthy.”

“I spent the whole month running around the western Cape trying to find a better living situation, but they were all dead ends. I decided that if no one was going to look after this child, then I would.”

So, Buckey returned to the United States and was determined to save Diego.

She uprooted her lifestyle to earn enough money to get back to South Africa and make a real difference.

“I got three jobs, sold my car, quit my studies and gave all my belongings away,” Buckey said.

“Three months later, I was back in Cape Town with a registered NPO, funding for a year and a Visa.”

Humble beginnings
The Glo House started with Diego and Mercy, only two children, and has blossomed into eight full-time children, who go to school during the week and have opportunities to visit family and take part in recreation like surfing on the weekends.

Glo (pronounced ha-loo) is an Afrikaans word that means “believe.”

“The children used to always say “Glo,” and it just stuck. It also stands for growth, love and opportunities,” Dickey said.

Dickey is listed as founder and director, and Darron Nicholson is the director of OceanHood, a community outreach branch that has a surfing team of 20 children.

Dickey says everything is based on parental consent, and the Glo House consists of a home, an education advancement center and a community outreach program.

The goal is to give kids a chance to grow.

“The home serves as a place of refuge for children who are forced to deal with gang violence, drug and alcohol abuse, lack of educational support, and sanitary or safe housing,” Dickey said.

“Each child is valued and encouraged to strive toward reaching their potential both academically and of stewards of the Earth.”

“Our goal isn’t to tear families apart. We give children and families a chance to grow separately and come together in a healthy way.”

A new Diego
Diego has pulled a complete 180 since meeting Dickey. He recently celebrated his 13th birthday and is first in his class.

“Diego had gone from rarely going to school, stealing, getting into fights and barely passing,” Dickey said. “Now he’s in a new school where he gets straight A’s. He takes his schoolwork very seriously and dreams of being a doctor. He has come full circle and is a great influence on the other children.”

So what is the most rewarding part of Lindsey’s work?

“It’s when you see their growth,” Dickey said. “Children who have suffered brain injuries from doing hardcore drugs are now winning social upliftment awards. The hardest part is watching a child throw away opportunities because they miss the thrill of township ways of living.”

“The reality is some kids don’t want to better themselves, and it’s sad to see their potential being wasted.”

Dickey has been so busy, she hasn’t been back to Wisconsin much, but family has visited her in South Africa. She plans to come home in October.

Dickey, still only 21 years old, hopes to buy a larger piece of land to house up to 50 children, and she hopes to eventually open Glo houses in other countries.

At times, Dickey still can’t believe how far she’s come.

“It’s crazy how you have one plan for your life but somehow you get led down another path,” Dickey said. “I am extremely grateful for all we have achieved and for all of our support. I think when you work for something you are passionate about, you don’t notice all the hard work until you have a moment to really think. I often think of where we were in the beginning and all of the uphill climbs, but it is definitely worth it.”

“We still fight battles and make sacrifices, but it’s only the beginning for the Glo House.”

For more information or to make a donation, visit www.theglohouse.com.

What is the Glo House?
Lindsey Dickey, a Twin Lakes native who attended Randall Elementary School and is a 2016 Wilmot Union High School graduate, is making a difference far across the world in South Africa.

The 21-year-old started Glo House for underprivileged children.

The Glo House is a 501c3 public charity dedicated to providing children of South Africa with the opportunity for education, safety, and to grow in an environment where they are loved, respected, and encouraged.

The Glo House consists of a home, an education advancement center, and a community outreach program. The home serves as a place of refuge for children who are forced to deal with gang violence, drug and alcohol abuse, lack of educational support, and sanitary or safe housing.

At The Glo House, each child is valued and encouraged to strive toward reaching their potential both academically and as stewards of the earth.

Everyday routines for school days include homework/reading sessions, chores, and the kids wash their school uniforms.

On Fridays it is either family game or movie night.

On Saturdays, the children have an opportunity to visit their families or surf. Sundays are family days
involving church, swimming, picnics, hiking or a braai (barbecue).

 
 

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