Archive for March, 2010

Thanks again for the photos—I hope Supriya likes them!

I’ve just received word that in Supriya’s school, there are 60 children who don’t have sponsors. My heart goes out to these little ones.

I want to introduce you to Kavitha.

Kavitha is  Supriya’s classmate and is just six years old. She loves to paint and dance and sing–what an artist!

Her parents sent her to this school to get a better life than they could give her. Though they work hard as laborers, it’s not enough to meet the family needs.

Kavitha needs a sponsor in order to continue her education.

Now meet Sreekanth.

Sreekanth is a year older than Kavitha and Supriya, and he needs a sponsor too!

When he grows up, he wants to be a doctor and save lives. Will you help him reach his goals?

Like most of his schoolmates, his parents are laborers who work hard. But in this part of India, things are so tough, they can’t support Sreekanth or his brother and sister.

I’ve never done anything like this before, but I’m making it my personal mission to ensure that all of these kiddos have a sponsor—and quick! First, I’ll start with Kavitha and Sreekanth.

Can you help me?  I know some of my blog readers already sponsor CNEWA children. That’s wonderful!  Can you sponsor one more?  Or can you tell a friend about them?

I know I’m being bold. But, please, dig deep. I know together we can do this.

Sponsoring through CNEWA is easy. All it takes is $28 a month to provide Kavitha or Sreekanth with food, education, medical care — and put smiles on their faces.

So if you or someone you know wants to put a smile on the face of Sreekanth or Kavitha, please e-mail me directly: smile@cnewa.org.  I’ll help you get started in the sponsorship process.

And in the coming weeks, I’ll introduce you to more boys and girls who need support!


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In the last week, I’ve received dozens of photos from friends all over the world to send to the child in India I sponsor who loves photography and collects pictures.

I can’t send every one, but here’s a highlight reel:

From my friend and fellow photo enthusiast, Greg:

Do you see the buildings nestled in the trees? Gorgeous. This is Mt. Agung with Besakih Hindhust Temple in Bali.

My colleague at CNEWA, Beth, sent me shots from her morning commute through Central Park– looks like a movie set!

Check out the size of this monument in Japan that Cody sent me–that’s a person on those steps!

And the tips of ancient mountains emerging from the Pacific Ocean in Rockaway Beach, Oregon from Michael…

Down the same coast, the sky brightens from grey to blue–this is Kevin’s photo of Half Moon Bay, California.

My friend Hunter sent along this rocky riverbed–a totally different part of the same country:

More forest, with beautiful, bright greens from Mahesh…

Although those evergreens look closer to black against the snow covered mountains in Big Sky, Utah…

And To go full cirlce back to a major US city… The Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles comes from Machiko!

I love the symphony, it’s such a relaxing experience. The Los Angeles Philharmonic plays there.

Well, these pictures are ready to go, along with a card. I’ve never bought a birthday card for a little girl before, but I think I did a good job. Here it is:

Well, my letter, your photos, and the letters and photos from our other donors are off, in colorful envelopes, to the other side of the world where they will be received by excited youngsters. Thank you, thank you!

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Supriya is the new little girl I’m sponsoring. She just turned six two weeks ago. I didn’t know—so I’m sending her a late birthday card with the next package to India, which will leave next week.

Supriya has two brothers and a sister. Her parents are trying hard to support all of them, but like many hard-working Indian families, their wages aren’t enough to cover even the basics. My sponsorship program helps by providing Supriya with education, food, and medical care.

Supriya wants to be a doctor when she grows up—so ambitious! I also learned that she loves photography. I love it, too; my camera is one of the most important traveling essentials I have. Do you remember the pictures I took while I was in India?

I wish I had known about Supriya while I was there—maybe I would have been able to meet her. Next time, hopefully, I will.

So here’s what I’m thinking: since Supriya loves photography and collects pictures, why don’t we send her some for her birthday? I am sending her a few photos.

On my commute from Staten Island to Manhattan, I get to ride past the Statue of Liberty. I took this picture with my iPhone!

When I’m in Rome, I love the sight of St. Peters Basilica glowing in the skyline. I love going home to Italy.

But can some of you across the country send me pictures from your cities? You can send them right to me at smile@cnewa.org. Something beautiful, something interesting, something that will show a little girl in India what it’s like to be in the United States…

I’ll send print-outs to Supriya with a special message from all of us. Thank you so much in advance!

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I am excited. This week, my colleagues Sr. Christian and Sarah submitted a grant proposal for such a great program. I am confident their work will be rewarded. The grant would give dozens of poor women a chance at a better life by providing them with essential skills for their careers at the St. Joseph After Care Program in Kerala, India. Over the years, over 80 women have been helped through college this way, and I know that with this grant, we’ll be able to help even more! It’s such a worthy cause, and a wonderful answer to one of the most common questions I get at work.

So many of our sponsors ask us, “What happens to the child I sponsor after they leave the program?”

For many of the children, they grow up to enter seminaries and novitiates and devote their lives to God. For others, they apply the vocational skills they learned in high school to productive, important jobs in agriculture and infrastructure. But some children have career goals that require some extra training. Listen to the story of Simy.

Simy is the youngest of three girls. Her father is an alcoholic and she grew up in fear and neglect. Her oldest sister is now married and her middle sister is a nun. But Simy wanted to study and become a nurse. She is dedicated to helping people the best she can by healing their bodies and nurturing their spirits. Through this program, she has the chance to achieve her dream.

The little girls who go to the St. Joseph orphanage in Kerala are safe and well-taken care of until they are finished with high school. And after that, they have a great chance at a better life. But for the young ladies who end up at St. Joseph After Care, there’s an even greater choice.

Our primary and secondary schools give great building blocks—but some professions require more training. It’s wonderful that so many young women want to grow up to be nurses, teachers and engineers, but their ambition requires more money and training, plus support for a few more years. Please God, we’ll get the grant and enable a generation of women to help themselves, their families, and their countries. Grants, combined with donations from our special donors, help keep this program alive. (This project is number E7108) I know that CNEWA staff and our loving donors, like you, can make this happen!

Cicily, high school graduation, college plans

Cicily turns 18 this year, and she’s at the top of her game. Will she be able to go on to college to pursue a career in nursing?

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A few months ago, I told you about a very special little girl named Haymanot. But have I told you how she’s impacting my life at work?

Haymanot is my inspiration. Everyone has hard days at work, and I’m no different. But I’m lucky. I’ve seen my work in action with Haymanot and her family. I know how crucial every dollar CNEWA raises is to the needy families we are assisting. So I don’t complain.

Haymanot never complains, either. Instead, she thanks me for the opportunity to work hard in school. She doesn’t see her small house as cramped, like we might. Instead, she remembers the slum where she used to live and her heart sings. Look at her beaming smile here: a new pack of markers.

Haymanot is a beautiful little girl facing too many obstacles. So when I’m at work, thinking about what the children really need, I think of her.

A warm bed, a good school, enough to eat. The support of a family. And, thank God, that includes me.

Did you know I have started to sponsor another child? I haven’t heard anything about her yet, but she’s a little girl in India just starting school. Hopefully, I’ll get a letter from her soon!


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