Boyd thankful for Kingdom Home progress

Detroit Tigers

DETROIT — Tigers pitcher Matthew Boyd has a lot on his mind between a growing family — his wife Ashley gave birth to twins last month — and his rehab from elbow surgery. But as he and his family sit down for Thanksgiving, he has plenty to be thankful for, not just at home but on the other side of the world.

While Boyd was working to rebuild his arm strength from surgery, Kingdom Home — the foundation he and his wife founded three years ago to combat child trafficking in Uganda — completed construction of three homes on land they purchased.

Boyd announced the news in October through his Twitter account.

It’s a massive step in their effort to protect kids. It’s also beyond the wildest dreams Boyd had when he and Ashley were inspired to help a house mother and a group of kids in need.

“It was so amazing,” he said this week. “I remember in 2018, when Ashley and I took this step. It was a dream to buy land, and it was a dream to buy permanent homes that would be debt-free, sustainable, that would help generations of kids. And it happened.”

 The Kingdom Home nonprofit has been a calling for the Boyds for the last few years. It began with a helping hand to a widow who had rescued three dozen children from forced marriages, prostitution rings and other harrowing situations in Uganda. The Boyds kept a single house going, then expanded the effort from providing housing and food to helping the kids get an education and develop a career.

For the first few years, the foundation was renting, starting with one home and adding a couple others. Through generous donations, they were able to purchase land to build. The homes were in the planning stages for over a year, from designing the rooms to acquiring land to gaining donations to help fund the project. But getting them actually built became a challenge amidst the pandemic.

The homes — large houses that can fit up to 40 kids — were just the start of the vision. The Boyds dreamed of a self-sustaining operation that could allow the rescue effort to flourish for years. They’re on their way.

Having a well on the land that can provide clean water was an early step. But beyond putting a roof over kids’ heads, the foundation received the donation of solar panels to install on each roof, allowing Kingdom Home to harvest the energy of equatorial sunshine for power needs.

Elsewhere on the 12-acre plot is an area to be used for farming, both hydroponic and traditional.

“We’re starting to grow crops and have agriculture,” Boyd said, “which will provide not only food, but a trade to be learned.”

There’s also education. While schools have been closed for much of the pandemic, they’ve brought in tutors to keep the kids learning. When schools resume, the homes are across the street from a primary school, and the foundation has raised money for a van to help transport older kids to a secondary school down the road.

Out of the 156 girls and boys Kingdom Home has rescued, over 100 are currently in the new homes, with the rest on a nearby property. The Boyds are hopeful to build more homes and help more kids.

“We’re thankful for the family that is Kingdom Home, from the house parents that are in the country to the employees in country and stateside,” Boyd said. “And credit to my wife. She’s the executive director. And then it comes down to the donors, from running a bake sale to raise money to the child sponsors that donate on every level.

“It’s my teammates, like Spencer [Turnbull], Niko [Goodrum], [Tarik] Skubal. Eric Haase did a signing and donated all the proceeds. We have partnered with multiple churches. The whole state has been supportive and we’re so thankful for that.”

All the while, the Boyds have been juggling their own family along with Matthew’s career. He underwent surgery last month to repair the flexor tendon in his left arm. He spent two weeks following the surgery recovering in Dallas before returning home to Seattle, where Ashley gave birth to Judah James and Joanna Grace on Oct. 29.

Pitching-wise, Boyd said he feels good. The timetable he was given suggested a return in June, and he plans to begin throwing bullpen sessions sometime in Spring Training. He’s eligible for one more year of arbitration; the Tigers have until Tuesday evening to decide whether to tender him a contract.

“Everything’s pointing to ahead of schedule right now,” he said. “Don’t really know what next year will hold, but I know what I’m going to do.”

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