Friday, January 11, 2013

Letter from the President

As a New Year begins, we express gratitude to all who helped make 2012 an amazing year for Rising Star Outreach. Our work for those affected by leprosy is to create opportunities for them to gain the skills to be self-sufficient. This is exemplified in the saying, “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” Through micro-grants, medical care, and education individuals learn skills for a lifetime, which creates a ripple effect that lifts entire families and communities! The micro-grant program, directed by Mrs. Padma Venkataraman, continues to help those in the colonies become self-reliant. Funds have been provided for many businesses; including snack shops, barber shops, a carpentry shop and businesses in both pearl jewelry and sewing clothing. With continued support, these programs will expand in the coming year, giving the recipients the gift of work and the gift of dignity to support a family!
Barber shop micro-business and pearl jewelry micro-business.
Rising Star’s medical team visited colonies each week and even traveled to mountain villages in remote parts of Tamil Nadu. Much needed medications, vaccinations and the tender act of washing wounds and changing bandages. These acts continue to give hope to those affected by leprosy.
Dr. Susan Hilton helping patients and members of Moot Leprosy Colony standing by the medical van.
Overseen by Dr. Susan Hilton, our amazing Managing Director, the campus is busting at the seams! Through our educational programs, the Rising Star campus now has 223 students.  Other students have received assistance through our Perpetual Colony Education Fund. This year we are excited about a new English immersion program for students and teachers. Through the generous support of Reading Horizons and Imagine Learning the computer programs are being upgraded and enhanced.

Through another generous donor, full-time volunteers from Harvard University’s WorldTeach program have greatly assisted students and teachers. We look forward to another year of their expertise and personalized support.

It is wonderful how much our Volunteer and Sponsorship Programs grew in 2012! Rising Star Outreach benefits from volunteers who share their talents, their resources, and their selfless love to bless countless lives! The Sponsorship Program is also supported by the generosity of individuals whose contributions give hope and support to our students.

It is exciting to look ahead to 2013 and anticipate the possibilities awaiting Rising Star Outreach. My prayer for 2013 is that together we will continue teaching, sharing, and giving hope to our Rising Star Outreach community!

Happy New Year!

Sally Read




Volunteer

With the start of every New Year it is a tradition to make New Year’s Resolutions.  It is a fresh start and a time to make some changes for the year to come.  These goals are often about going to the gym, eating better or cutting out television shows from our daily schedules.

Rising Star Outreach would like to assist you with these goals!  How are we going to help?  When you come to Rising Star in India for a volunteer session you will be playing soccer and other activities with the kids on campus, there are no TVs and you will have fresh Indian food cooked daily along with fruit and vegetables.  This is a great place to get a jump start to a new beginning!
Kyle Bergson, one of our volunteers, playing soccer with the boys.
We just had a group spend the first week of the New Year with us at the Rising Star campus. This group consisted of individuals and families in a range of ages.  I thought of what a great start they had to the New Year by spending it in a beautiful foreign country serving people who are in need of our help. I was able to watch them throughout this week grow in different ways, learn new skills and overcome fears. Both Rising Star and India have a magical feeling that has the ability to transform people in a few short days.  I don't believe you can come to Rising Star Outreach and leave the same person.

Miranda Rigby, a volunteer for Rising Star, sits with Sudha.
One volunteer who was here this past week has been a sponsor for a child on campus for over two years.  She has done fundraisers and events to support Rising Star over these years. She commented on the surreal feeling she felt as she passed the Rising Star sign, entered the campus walls and walked on her stone on the Pathway of Hope. The Pathway of Hope is dedicated to sponsors, volunteers, and honorees by giving them their own stone on the path leading to the volunteer hostel.  

Volunteer coordinators posing on the Pathway of Hope
 All the support she has given was now tangible.  She was able to meet her sponsor child in person and build a relationship with him.  This is one of the things I love most about Rising Star Outreach- it is a charity that is hands on. You can touch, taste and work to see what your support really does.  You are able to look in the patient’s eyes and really see them and know you are making a difference and changing their lives.  It’s a very powerful thing that is available. 

I hope in the next year we will have more stories like this one where dreams are realized and charity becomes tangible and lives can be changed.

Thank you to all of you who volunteer time, money and labor.  Rising Star is here because of your support.  The work that we do is making a change.

We invite you to make Rising Star a part of your New Years Resolutions

-Callie Reagan

Shoes, Shoes and More Shoes!

Christmas came early for Rising Star this year! Our generous accounting firm, Larsen & Rosenberger, chose to make Rising Star Outreach the beneficiary of their holiday giving campaign. All charitable donations by Larsen & Rosenberger employees and supporters went towards new shoes for the more the 223 children (ages 5-17) attending the Rising Star Peery Matriculation School in India.  


Students of our school with their new shoes.
Most of the children attending the school are from leprosy colonies whose parents or relatives are affected by leprosy. Good sturdy shoes are an expensive, but very important need in India. The Rising Star children were overjoyed with the news! At this time we would like to express our appreciation to Larsen & Rosenberger for their generous and thoughtful contribution to the beautiful and bright Rising Star children, who are living and working hard to change their country and the lives of their families.

The children presenting a certificate of thanks to Larsen & Rosenberger.
-Steele Hendershot


Annual Peery Matriculation School Science Fair

January 5, 2013 was the Annual Science Fair day at the Peery Matriculation School. The Rising Star Outreach students had demonstrations and diagrams of complex scientific topics like nuclear power plants, solar power, herbal medicines and much more.

The program started with a morning assembly which featured words from David Pierce, Eric Lizerbram and Callie Reagan who were visiting Rising Star Outreach. After the assembly there was the Welcome and Lighting ceremony followed by a ribbon cutting by Callie Reagan.  After the ribbon cutting the science fair was proclaimed open and the demonstrations began.

Each student participating was required to give a short presentation on their topic and have a demonstration or a working model. Guests to the fair visited each booth to ask questions and evaluate their work.  

-Callie Reagan

Child Spotlight


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