Generation Next is a nonprofit organization that exists to improve the lives of young Kenyan children and empower them to improve the lives of the next generation.
Riley Banks was 13 years old when she visited Kenya for the first time, and what she experienced there has changed the course of her life and hundreds of children’s lives forever.
It was just a two-week trip, one that involved visiting family, feeding babies in a neonatal unit and serving in an orphanage, but her involvement in Kenya didn’t end when she returned.
In fact, it had just begun. While visiting, she noticed the babies first: naked, diaper-less, and fed from a medicine cup instead of a bottle. She then noticed the orphaned children, sharing one pencil during their school lessons.
She realized the barriers to education the students faced while sharing their supplies, and she decided to help change that one situation.
She founded Generation Next and began collecting school supplies. A year later, she returned to the orphanage in Kenya with 200 backpacks full of supplies.
While there on her second trip, Riley noticed another barrier to education: Sanitary supplies. Many girls, once they reached a certain age did not have money for sanitary napkins. Without the supplies, they missed several weeks of school per year or, sometimes, they didn’t return to school at all. In the worst cases, they would turn to prostitution to make money.
Generation Next then collected 200 hygiene kits for girls, and during Riley’s third trip to Kenya Generation Next distributed them to girls in need, then partnered with Nomad Charities to host a medical clinic that served 1,324 people.
During the same trip, Generation Next also began work to complete a building that had been left untouched after the initial builder had been robbed and killed. Generation Next continued sending money to complete the construction of the building, and it became a school called Pamoja, meaning “Together.”
The school, which serves 50 students, opened in Summer 2013. Generation Next pays each student’s school fees, provides a meal, and also pays the teacher’s salary.
In 2015 Generation Next finished negotiations and agreed to payment arrangements with another organization that owns a building complex, with a few acres of land to go with it, in Kibwezi, Kenya. We are planning to utilize the building for a children's feeding program and children's safe house. We will also be teaching women different trades so they can help be providers for their families. Riley hopes for the second floor to become her permanent home someday. There is 5 acres attached to the property that has three tilapia ponds and lots of room for farming. This would help with the feeding and sustainability of the property.
In addition to its work in Kenya, Generation Next also completes projects to serve people in the Ozarks. Most recently, Generation Next provided Christmas gifts to families in need in Taney County, and it is also planning a prom dress drive to provide dresses for local girls.
Generation Next operates on donations and on any profits made at Riley’s Treasures Thrift Store, located at 215 North Veterans Boulevard in Branson, MO. The 12,000-square-foot building was donated to Generation Next by the Boys and Girls Club of the Ozarks in November of 2013.