Donations of succulent dish gardens, eco-friendly jute bags, and Indian handicrafts helped us to raise funds for Pravaham at the Irvine Pres. Church’s Ladies Spring Cafe on April 17. We had a cool speaker (Angie Horn-Andreu), inspiring music (Chris Kernutt), wonderful food (Heidi, Linda & Julia), and restful fellowship. Our speaker’s challenge for us: change from “collectors” of information, knowledge, wounds, and things and become “serial repenters.” Folks who are continuously turning to Christ and are changing, becoming more like him, making a difference in our world and always using the abundant gifts we’re given (not just collecting and storing them away like the man in Jesus’ parable of the talents in the Gospel of Matthew). Thanks, everybody, for your heart for the ministries at Pravaham. As the letters from the girls and Lucy constantly remind us, we are helping to change many lives, and make a difference.
Read about the activities of Angie D’Aleo, a San Pedro, CA member of Team Pravaham USA, in the form of a letter she wrote to the Editor of her local newspaper. Naturally, Pravaham is featured in it – you figure out how and you’ll get the BIG picture :).
I had an experience with the local SP Girl Scouts which warmed my heart, as well as made me proud to have been a former Scout. But, this is only PART of an amazing story!
This last month and a half I’ve been seeking out sponsors for my own submission in the ‘decorated bra’ project that the SP Soroptomist group is hostessing as a fundraiser for low-income/not-insured women’s breast health and women’s health issues. OVER $10,000.00 have been raised and donated by them, with their yearly gala, “What a Pair,” as the main venue. Monies go to the hospital’s imaging center [for low/no cost mammograms & screening], as well as to a tuition-free, lowest-caste girls’ school for nursing assistants in Vellore, India. My own ‘arty’ bra is honoring numerous women, all battlers of breast cancer–both survivors and those passed on– and many are my sponsors.
While at the LCMSP hospital for breakfast with my husband Pete last Friday, I saw a powder-pink hoodie on display along with the flyers for “What a Pair” in a glass case. I asked in the gift shop if they had them for sale. A “sorry, no” answer sent me to the administrative office of Anne, yet another breast cancer survivor AND WAP entrant. She shared so very much information about their program for women’s breast health, as well as showing me the Comfort Bags another local ‘sorority’ of concerned women sew and assemble for those undergoing radiation or chemotherapy treatment. Included in the bag is a pink crystal bracelet with a “Love” heart charm. NONE of this–including the hoodies–was for sale. ALL are gifted to the women undergoing treatment. Their pink jackets ‘red flag’ them for TLC/VIP treatment, and the bags’ contents ease them physically: Baby powder, lotion, and gentle soap, as dictated by their doctors.
I left the hospital without a hoody, but very revved up for HOPE!
Back to the Girl Scouts: While grocery shopping Saturday at Vons on Gaffey, I found Girl Scouts had set up tables at both doors–no escaping them! I explained that I, thankfully, had been a Scout, had ALREADY purchased cookies from a little girl at my church, and wished them luck. While shopping, I decided to ‘loosen up’ and buy a box…and at the table I made small talk with the troop leader. She shared, ultimately, that it was HER troop of girls who’d made the bracelets–what’re the chances?–and that they are super-supportive of the LCMSP program and health for all women.
So, I emailed Soroptomist President Marta Valladolid [of Bringelson’s Jewelers] and told her this serendipitious vignette. She seemed really pleased in her response, with, “I’ve always said we are greater in numbers.” As if Providence put all these puzzle pieces together for me to become ‘enlightened’ by seeing ‘the big picture,’ or something.
It feels really right, the creative work so many are doing to combat the scourge of breast cancer. I applaud Vons for allowing the Girl Scouts to do their fundraising on their property; the personalized care and concern of hospital employees and concerned groups [such as the Scouts] amaze me; and the kind-hearted philanthropy of the Soroptomists inspires ME to be more and do more.
I will be at the Croation Cultural Center [7th & Pacific] Friday night to share MY bra, “I, Deux,” as well as see other artists–mostly women–proudly share THEIR bras and art pieces at this gala fundraising and pro-life happening. Out of the ashes of despair rises the phoenix of hope and wellness.
We ARE greater in numbers. This synergy WILL bring about comfort , hope, and a cure, if we join our efforts and our hearts together to finally conquer breast cancer once and for all. We stand by our stricken sisters and offer them our support and love. I am proud to be in their numbers.
Alma Angeline D’Aleo
Praise God! Last year was the first time Pravaham participated in our church’s Bazaar. We had 1 table and 2 volunteers. This year, we had 3 tables and 8 volunteers! In addition to giving girls the gift of Christian freedom (Pravaham Nursing-Aide sponsorships), donating towards a much-needed kitchen building (the current kitchen is nothing but a mud hut), and chickens (for pest control as well as for food), there were a variety of products on sale. These included Christmas greeting cards by San Pedro artist Peter d’Aleo featuring the artwork of some of the Pravaham girls, calendars, thank you and blank note cards featuring photos by Christie Van Vugt taken during her August 2009 stay at Pravaham, natural jute bags made by the Hearing Impaired in India and which were a big hit last year, jewelry by Pravaham students and others in India & other handicrafts. We also had plant gifts ready for gifting, donated by Garden Club members.
The whole Bazaar experience – from planning which started in August to execution on Sunday Nov. 22 – is an unforgettable and powerful reminder of God’s love and provision for all of us, here at IPC and far away at Pravaham, India. It is also about the power of prayer. So much was an answer to prayer, prayer by many faithful friends and prayer that was clearly Holy-Spirit led. God answered these prayers amazingly & powerfully. Friends Suzanne, Joy, Karyn, Shanti, Jennifer, Cindy and Nancy graciously offered to help with the Bazaar. It turned out every one of their presence was needed and most warmly felt. Christie who’d visited Pravaham summer 2009 gifted me the sponsorship biopics which made the girls come alive as the the stories are in the words used by the girls themselves – these were the sheets the sponsors took away with them. Angie & Pete designed cards, Aruna sent ‘natural products,’ Lucy, Annie & Paul sent exquisite Indian handicrafts, and Arlene & girls made jewelry! Suzanne packaged and price tagged everything! Cindy made beautiful table signs. Jennifer raffia’d the terracotta plant gift donations & I had fun helping some of my friends figure out which Indian dress they’d like to wear :).
Linda and her husband Dave’s unexpected donations of succulents brought God’s blessings most affirmatively to the Garden Club; before that we’d had only 8 baby barrel cacti, 8 aloes, 2 pizza dish gardens and a dozen each of tomatoes, and basil. Their gift – many, many dozens of succulents ready for gifting – boosted our Garden Club collection! Similarly, there were many more unexpected divine gifts. I was really sad that Kate Leavey’s family couldn’t be with us because of her recent tragic accident but here again, God is so marvelous! Sunday was Kate’s day of rest from daily, major surgery, her healing is proceeding miraculously, and God is being glorified. Our faith community and city is coming together in a way that is simply amazing. Many, many people signed the poster we made for Sean & Nora; we used the picture of Kate from last year’s Bazaar (she was at the same spot Pravaham was this year) and Jon enlarged & printed it so beautifully. I was blessed to be able to be with Tim & Nora too, briefly.
I could go on and on but pictures will share the story much better. I was touched by the generosity of Team Pravaham and also how many of our church folks came to the Bazaar and bought their Christmas gifts; that”s a lot of burning hearts for the unseen, under-privileged, and marginalized, hearts filled with love & desire to serve God and each other. I’ll be uploading ~130 pictures of the entire Bazaar shortly, pictures taken by Nancy & me. Jon also took pictures as did Rick, Joy and others too; send me yours if you’d like them added to the ACB Gallery & Archive. Meanwhile, enjoy the pictures from ACB 2008! 🙂 “Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3: 20-21.
The thank you card is for the Hygiene Kits prepared by IPC’s Third Saturday Service project and for the Welcome to School kits prepared by IPC’s Jr. High VBS students. Thanks to Angie & Snobia for carrying these kits and gifting them – you can see Angie handing the gifts to the girls (Lucy who runs Pravaham is seated next to her). Thanks to Christie for capturing all these photos – you can view the entire gifting ceremony album online. The Graduation & Invocation pictures are online too! Thanks to IPC’s wholehearted support of Pravaham.
I’m just back from Irvine Presbyterian Church’s Third Saturday Service Project (click on the Saturday Service tab) led by Van and Mary Partible. I arrived at 5: 30 pm with my donations for the hygiene kits and lasagna. At 5:45 pm we began to enjoy the potluck dinner and at 6: 30 pm or so, Angie d’Aleo and Christine Von Vugt were introduced along with their husbands, Peter d’Aleo and John Stephenson. Angie shared copies of the stunning flier shown here and talked briefly. Created by her husband Pete, the flier front shown here, has a map of India and Indian flag, and the verso describes their upcoming Our India Adventure and what they will be doing in Pravaham.
Then, the kids started on the letters to Pravaham and El Nino students, drawing and putting stickers. At Van’s request I’d made Tamil (தமிழ்) stickers which said: Our Jesus is Good – Nam Yesu nallavar – நம் இயேசு நல்லவர். This is, apparently, the first line from a popular Christian Tamil song as well. I wonder if the Pravaham girls will learn it? The stickers for the Mexico kits said God bless you in Spanish. The kids also started making the hygiene kits, containing 8 items in a ziploc bag: lotion, chapstick, a bar of soap, kleenex, comb, toothpaste, toothbrush, Johnson’s band aid kit and of course the card from the kids. In record time, less than an hour, 400 kits were assembled! Van gave 50 to Angie to take to Pravaham, India and 350 to Karen to take to El Nino, Mexico. We all laid hands on Angie and Christine and prayed for travel mercies and blessings for their loving and caring hearts for Pravaham, and for the girls at Pravaham to know the love of Jesus. Later, I collected and gave Angie the 30 Welcome to School kits from the VBS Jr. High kids.
The evening went by really fast and as my friend Nancy (remember Nancy, Arlene , and everybody, do check out her Incredible India website, a web journal of her own trip) put it: we did something that will help many! I was very glad Shanti (Lucy’s friend and now mine too) could be there. Shanti brought two huge dishes of chicken wings and the 400 ziploc bags – thank you, Shanti! Another of my friends, Karyn came too and that was great; the bean salad she brought looked and tasted gorgeous and her donations were most appreciated too! I do hope you guys will join us for other Third Saturday Service projects! I introduced Angie to Donna as also Jennifer and her fascinating houseguests: Ron, Erin, and Nikki (missionaries in Indonesia).
Back to Angie’s little talk: Angie did a wonderful job conveying the essence of Pravaham’s work in 2 minutes or less: how girls from the untouchable caste are touched by the love of Jesus and given freedom from the indignities of caste through their Nursing Aide student program. Jennifer Dietz reminded me to arrange for Angie and her friends to share with us again after they return from India. I do hope Angie, Snobia (who could not attend today because of a conflict), and Christie will do so along with Pete and John ! Thanks Angie, Christi, Pete and John for braving the freeway and coming to Irvine. We all appreciate it very much.
When the kids were preparing the cards, I shared a teeny weeny bit of the history of Tamil with a few of the older girls: Tamil is a Dravidian language, distinct from the Indo-Aryan languages (e.g. hindi, urdu, sanskrit which are common in northern India). Indo-Aryan languages are a group of Indo-European languages. Tamil and other Dravidian languages are quite distinct from English, etc. In fact, Tamil is supposed to have some similarities to Finnish, Korean, Ainu, and indigenous Australian. I wish I knew more about Tamil language and literature!
Third Sat. Service project is an incredible undertaking – thanks to everybody who donated but especially the Partibles, Siakis, Culbertsons, Korneychuks and other families who are leading this with their kids ranging in ages from months old to the mid-teens. They have a nice little assembly line for putting the kits together and the kids just go down the line … with a few adults doing quality control at the end :). TSS is an innovative way to model the love of Christ and social justice in action for our kids. I’m glad I got to be a part of this – thank you, Van & Mary (and Pastor Tim too). I am very grateful to Angie and her friends for taking IPC’s gifts of love to Pravaham. God bless IPC, Pravaham, Angie, Christie, Snobia and their church United Methodist, San Pedro, and all the people involved in Third Saturday Service, abundantly.