Friday, March 23, 2012

March 2012 CORDUSA News

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After the December newsletter went out, we announced the 2012 Summer Service visit in January.  This summer the children and the parent chaperones are going to CORD Sidhbari to volunteer for 2 weeks.  We were overwhelmed with the enthusiastic responses we received!  The slots got filled well before the deadline and now we are all set with 35 students and 6 parent chaperones for our July service visit.  We wish them a pleasant trip, and will hear about their experiences after they get back in August!  There were some disappointed students and parents who were not able to secure a spot this year.  But we’ll be sure to have another opportunity for them next year!

A new year always brings new challenges. It offers a new start – a determination to change one’s diet, give up a bad habit or take up a difficult new activity! New Year draws a line in the sand, one that many relish for the chance to start afresh.  For us, it is time to look back and assess our progress.

Last year in review. In 2011, various centers did fundraising for CORD USA and brought in $201K!!  This is up from 2010’s number $143K.  We want to recognize the efforts of these centers in bringing awareness and funds for the less fortunate ones.  A big thank you to (numbers rounded off to 100’s):

New Jersey, Philadelphia & Bridgewater - $51,000
Ann Arbor - $40,000
Chicago - $1,700 (Marathon) $20,000 (Empowering through Music)
Los Angeles - $17,800
Boston - $15,000
Minneapolis - $13,200
Portland - $12,500
Miami - $12,000
Columbus – 8,500
Kansas City - $3,600
Austin - $2,900 (Kite festival)
Atlanta - $2,400
Buffalo - $1,000

This has only been possible because of your continuous support and commitment to CORDUSA. Let’s keep it up!  You can review last year’s list and numbers here.

I mentioned in my last newsletter about the “Chinmaya Inspiration Yatra” led by Acharya Vivek Gupta.  One of the places they visited was CORD Siruvani.  Moved by the quiet work that is relentlessly going on there, CHYK Toronto did a one of a kind CHYK Retreat in February, "Starving for Service" conducted by Swamini Sivapriyananda and Acharya Vivek, where participants fasted for 40 hours at Chinmaya Dhara (Niagara Falls, Ontario) as a means of conserving their physical and mental energy and directing this towards greater societal development in the villages of Siruvani in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu. They raised $14,000!!  

Service is Vedanta in action, we are continuing to make a difference in the local communities in USA.

Pranji Lodhia, my co-Board of Director at CORDUSA, presented about CORD during the India Development Coalition of America (IDCA) conference at Milipitas.  India West did a write up about the conference and about CORD, please see India West news.

CORD USA Princeton chapter under Chinmaya Vrindavan is partnering with World Cares to help local communities affected by disasters like Hurricane Irene. Lisa Orloff, the founder and Executive Director of the World Cares center did a training seminar on understanding and implementing disaster relief and recovery efforts for CORD USA, Princeton chapter on October 16, 2011. For more information on the World Cares organization, visit www.worldcares.org

CORDUSA DC chapter in Virginia began a monthly drive to help cook and serve food at the homeless shelter in their community. It was priceless to see the smiles on the faces of our children when they engaged in this noble service of spreading warmth and love to those who need it the most. The joys and rewards of Seva are contained in itself and these pictures hold proof of that timeless Truth.  View pictures here.

CORDUSA Princeton Chapter did a winter coat and clothes drive in December.  Items were donated to TASK - Trenton Area Soup Kitchen. 

Learning is a process we do on an everyday basis, one way to feel it is by experiencing. Chinmaya Bala Vihar, Little Rock, AR, collected food and other items and donated them to the Arkansas Food bank.

CORDUSA Portland chapter, collected food, worked as volunteers for more than 150 hours as well as donated $1000 to the Oregon Food Bank. The Food Bank describes that with its purchasing power, it is able to get the equivalent of $ 8 of food for every $1 that is donated.

Did you know that Los Angeles Downtown has the most homeless people in US?  Los Angeles Chinmaya Bala Vihar did homeless feeding and a Christmas toy drive to put their Bala Vihar teachings into action.  Children took the initiative of making a difference in a child's life during the holiday season by collecting a toy from every child in their Bala Vihar and donating it to the Fire Station, which in turn will be given to the needy children, who cannot afford a toy.

Now let us touch on the news from our CORD centers in India and Sri Lanka

CORD Deuladiha extends its arms even further. During the last quarter, CORD Deuladiha has set up four new Mahila Mandals which increased the membership base from 856 households to 935 households, four new Self-Help groups and two new Yuvati Mandals! Way to go!  Read more

CORD Kaza brings home the gold! In the last quarter, the children were encouraged to participate in an Inter School Sports Competition where all the gold medals were won by the children of Chinmaya Vijaya in Long Jump, High Jump, 100M and 400M running competitions!  Read more….

CORD Lathikata inaugurates a new building! A building comprising of a dining hall, five residential rooms and a kitchen was inaugurated on October 5, 2011 with a paduka pooja of Pujya Gurudev. Swami Kevalananda presided over this auspicious occasion and blessed CORD Lathikata with continued dedication in its mission to serve the tribal people of the area.  Read more….

CORD Siruvani promotes preventive medicine. Over 1,000 patients between October through December were given Hepatitis B vaccination, pap smears, as well as information on life-style modifications for high cholesterol and other preventable diseases. Special eye camps in collaboration with the Eye Foundation and Sankara Eye Center treated over 250 patients, with some receiving cataract surgeries as well as other interventions. Dental screenings and treatment camps continue to provide excellent care to the patients. Read more….

CORD Thamaraipakkam visits CORD Siruvani! During the visit, members of CORD Thamaraipakkam met with several members of CORD Siruvani to learn about their procedures and activities. CORD Thamaraipakkam met with the Farmers’ Club and discussed about forming cluster groups such as: paddy groups, sugarcane groups etc, in order to share agricultural knowledge amongst farmers.  Read more….

CORD Sri Lanka takes education to the next level. They facilitated a two-day workshop conducted by Swami Ramakrishnananda and Brahmacharini Mahima Chaitanya with a participation of 605 teachers! The emphasis of this workshop was the Chinmaya Vision Program (CVP) which focuses on four key areas of child development: physical, mental, intellectual and spiritual. Read more….

I was in India in January and I collected some interesting tidbits during my visit which I want to share with you all…

I was in Hyderabad, I had the good fortune to see some handicraft work done by rural women under Hyderabad Chinmaya Seva Trust, which got my attention.  Exploring further, I came across the tireless work that is being done by Brahmacharini Sulabha Chaitanya, quietly empowering the local women through threads and needles.  Please read more here.

In order to help with the livelihood opportunities for young girls from rural Andhra Pradesh, "Chinmaya Swasti" is offering a Special Health Care Assistants training program where the trainees will be able to attend to the needs of elderly, the sick, physically challenged people apart from post-operative and neonatal requirements. The training is for three months including practical training of two months in a recognized hospital. To find out the ways you can help, please see here.

Big thanks to Paulomi Campbell and Shabana Dipchand for their help with the newsletter!

As always, if you have any questions, concerns or suggestions, I am just an email away...

Thank you!
Subha