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updated: 3/8/2011 4:31 PM

New life plan: Head to Uganda

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  • Jim and Margaret Guzzaldo with several children from a Ugandan village during trip in late 2008. They are both 1999 graduates of St. Charles High School.

      Jim and Margaret Guzzaldo with several children from a Ugandan village during trip in late 2008. They are both 1999 graduates of St. Charles High School.
    Courtesy of Jim Guzzaldo

 
 

Who would leave a steady job these days? Or try to sell their house to go live in a Third World country?

Jim and Margaret Guzzaldo fall into that category. They met in 1999 during their senior year in high school at St. Charles (now East) High School and got married after completing college. They were introduced to Christianity as adults and began reconsidering what to do with their lives.

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The couple was swayed heavily to make a life decision most comfortable Americans would not, because "God had our attention," Jim says.

Both had successful jobs - Jim as an executive pastry chef in Chicago; Margaret as a communications coordinator - but a desire to spread their Christian wings was moving them to investigate mission work in Third World countries.

"We discovered the 'International Teams' organization, with an office out of Elgin, and Margaret began working for them in communications," Jim said. "She was encouraged to attend a leadership conference, and I tagged along and started learning about it, too. And we discovered that it was really exciting work."

After mission projects in three other countries, the Guzzaldos focused on Uganda and the mission of "Team Beyond" to support and equip churches in that country.

"Part of that mission was a need for vocational training for the pastors and ministers over there because they have to have other jobs to support their families," Jim said. "They started telling us that they needed trainers in agriculture, carpentry and baking - and my ears perked up when they said baking because I was a professional pastry chef."

It turned out that a musical trainer was also needed, which fit Margaret's passion, with her degree in music business.

"We took a two-week trip to Uganda in November of 2008, and our calling was confirmed," Jim said.

The couple is raising money needed for the self-funded mission - with the intent to leave in October to move to Soroti, Uganda, with their baby for two years. They must raise 100 percent of the monthly funds needed - at $6,000 a month - to last the two years.

"We are getting donations from many who support us, and help from our own church, Trinity Vineyard Fellowship in St. Charles," Jim said.

Anyone who would like to help in this effort can do so through the couples' interesting website, guzzaldos.com.

Who enjoys it more?: Most of the kids are back in school, but a world of play remains for those preschool age and younger.

Stephanie Hawkinson is utilizing her past experience as a preschool teacher at Bridges Montessori in St. Charles and The Compass School in Naperville to start a business that both kids and parents can enjoy.

"Through ideas from the children in my class, I was inspired to open up Kids Play World," said Hawkinson, who opened her business earlier this month on the west side of St. Charles, behind the Walgreens at the corner of Route 64 and Peck Road.

"This is the first one and we have been fairly busy since opening," Hawkinson added.

Kids up to six years old will have several themed rooms to keep their attention at Kids Play World - a princess castle, barn, construction room, and a house.

To make sure no one mistakes this play land as a form of baby-sitting, Hawkinson said, "The parents do have to stay with the children while they are here."

Parents will be in their own play world when they see the coffee bar with couches and tables, and Wi-Fi service.

"Parents sit and talk over coffee or bring their laptops in and work while their children play," Hawkinson said. "Parents have been bringing their lunches and staying all day."

Information is available at kidsplayworld.net or (630) 444-1734.

For teal toes: Tom Stuart had quite a scare when a cyst on his wife's ovaries had to be checked for ovarian cancer.

"It all turned out well for her, but sitting in that waiting room and not knowing, it was a little scary," Stuart said.

That experience helped him realize it is an illness that needs more awareness for early detection.

As owner of My Salon at 303 N. Second St. in St. Charles, Stuart is ready to do as much as he can to educate women on the importance of early detection of this deadly cancer.

Stuart's salon will participate in Ovarian Cancer Awareness month in September through a campaign called Teal Toes.

"Anybody who gets teal-colored toe nails or finger nails as part of a manicure during September, we are donating all of the profits to ovarian cancer research," Stuart said.

Teal is the recognized color for ovarian cancer awareness and the hope is that more women will learn about acting on the early warning signs and dramatically increase chances for survival.

"I'm excited to do this, and will be handing out materials about the early warning signs," Stuart said. "This is the first year for this, but I can see it becoming something we do annually."

For late arrivals: In case you are a procrastinator and have not signed up for the seventh annual Geneva Community Chest charity golf outing at 1 p.m. Monday at Eagle Brook Country Club, I have some good news.

Organizers always leave a little room for those who sign up late - as in during the 11 a.m. registration tomorrow. You can still get in for $125 for golf, and/or $45 for the dinner if you bring your check with you to Eagle Brook.

Matt Rodewald, a Geneva High School graduate who has gone on to make a name for himself as a traffic reporter on NBC-TV, will host the live auction at the event.

This is a popular time for golf outing fundraisers, as they resemble a last hurrah of sorts for the summer.

dheun@sbcglobal.net

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