From South Africa, A Special Message to our Friends in Sarasota

“I want to volunteer in Africa. I’ve never been so sure of something in my whole life.” – Excerpt from Leanna’s Knopik’s diary

This weekend, our CEO, Kate Groch, is in Florida (USA) lending her voice to a beautiful story that begins with Leanna Knopik, a young lady you is no longer with us.

The story connects a ‘love’ that began in the pages of Leanna’s personal diary (after a trip to South Africa), with rural South African children, who are now accessing a world of learning via a wonder-filled space of gamified apps, lego, coding, poetry and music. The links and cross-overs of this story are remarkable and can be found below. Kate – from your team in South Africa, we love you and know you will be amazing! We are sending so much love.

There is a tribe of selfless people who ‘love’ as much as Leanna did, and we want to mention them here, ahead of tonight’s event. “Thank you’s” are normally done after an event, but sometimes gratitude truly cannot wait.

That tribe includes so many incredible people from the Sarasota community, led by Stephen, Beth and Rogers Knopik, and Michael and Terri Klauber. The amazing team at Michaels on East. The volunteers. The IT people (thanks Johnathan). The superb Samantha Schulman. Our ‘family’ at the LEAP Foundation based in California. Chef Jamil Pineda and Anna Ridgewell. The hugely generous guidance of Veronica Brady of the Gulf Coast Community Foundation. Videographer, Richard Laburn, from Londolozi. Our team of exceptional young teachers and facilitators at Good Work Foundation. And, of course, to Leanna: what we feel cannot be expressed in words.

To everyone who is part of this mission and will be joining the events this weekend, the only way we can express our gratitude is through our actions, and we can’t wait for Kate to share with you what has been achieved since 2013.

About Leanna Knopik

Leanna portrait with All Heart2

Leanna’s time on earth was brief. At the age of 16, she passed away suddenly after contracting a rare heart infection. Despite her lost battle, she fought exceptionally hard during her final days, surprising even her physicians.

But Leanna’s heart always guided her path in life. She was very passionate about her faith and loved helping others throughout her community and beyond.  A family trip to South Africa was a life-changing experience for her.  She felt a sincere connection to the South African people and wanted to work as a missionary, helping children in schools and orphanages.

Leanna’s loving friends and family often remember her as “all heart.”

The All Heart Fund

Leanna never had the chance to volunteer in Africa, so in the spirit of her heart’s wishes, the All Heart Fund was created in 2013 to provide the resources and education necessary to enhance the lives of rural African families.

The All Heart Fund, supporting Good Work Foundation, creates opportunities for students to travel to larger communities and cities for unique educational and leadership experiences and to connect with real-life businesses. The fund also benefits the Open Learning Academy that provides digital learning to thousands of primary (elementary) school children, supplementing their formal education with ‘gamified’ English and math learning experiences. In addition, one special student is chosen each year to receive the Leanna Knopik Cup, an award which honours the student who demonstrates the biggest “heart.”

To everyone attending the 2015 Safari Sarasota and the Selby Botanical Gardens ‘Bush Dinner’, thank you from the Good Work Foundation team.

Michael and Terri Klauber, together with Stephen and Beth Knopik, under the Digital Tree of Knowledge with two 'Leanna Knopik Cup' winners and children from Good Work Foundation's Open Learning Academy.

Michael and Terri Klauber, together with Stephen and Beth Knopik, under the Digital Tree of Knowledge with two ‘Leanna Knopik Cup’ winners and children from Good Work Foundation’s Open Learning Academy.


Wonder-filled learning under the Digital Tree of Knowledge. Photo by Michael Klauber.