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 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.
Her involvement in Kenya didn’t end when she returned. In fact, it had just begun.
She realized the barriers to education the students faced, and she decided to help change that one situation.
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 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 contents of the 12,000-square-foot building was donated to Generation Next by the Boys and Girls Club of the Ozarks in November of 2013. Read more about Riley’s Treasures here.
Generation Next's Statement of Faith
1. That the Bible is the Word of God, written by men, but supernaturally inspired.
2. That the Godhead exists eternally in three persons: Father, Son & Holy Spirit - and that these three are one God. In God as the absolute and sole creator of the universe, and that creation was by divine command.
3. That Jesus Christ in the flesh was both God and man; that He was born of a virgin and that he lived a sinless life, in which He taught and performed mighty works, wonders and signs exactly as revealed in the Four Gospels; that He was crucified, died as a penalty for our sins and was raised from the dead body on the third day. Later, He ascended to the Father's right hand where He is head of the church and intercedes for believers and from where He is coming again, bodily, visibly to the earth to receive His own.
4. That it is the goal of every Christian to grow in spiritual maturity through obedience to the Word of God and the indwelling Spirit.
5. That the Holy Spirit is a person who indwells all believers.
6. That salvation is a free gift from God; it is not deserved nor can it be earned through our works. We believe that we are saved by God's grace, which we access by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. Because we believe in Jesus, we will show obedience through repentance, confession of our faith in Him, Christian baptism by immersion and living a Christian life led by the Holy Spirit.