Party On

October 10, 2010

J arrived today, welcomed by me and grey skies at Seattle-Tacoma Airport. And so much laughter. It’s one of the best things about hanging with my brother: he’s funny and quick-witted.

We went straight to Taste of India for lunch, shopping for beer and snacks at the Metropolitan Market, then we settled in to watch the SF Giants v. Atlanta Braves.

We just returned from a walk round Green Lake. Tomorrow we head for Corvallis.

J has been a great patron of Isis Initiative, Inc.  Join us on Oct. 16 for our fundraiser and performance by the J Hatch Trio.

Thank you to Beth Rietveld and Sam Stern for hosting the party.

Advertisements

Check in the Mail

January 18, 2010

I went to our post office box on Saturday and found a plain white envelope addressed to Isis Initiative, Inc. No return address. I opened it to find a card and opened the card to find a check. I unfolded the check. $5,000. I read the number twice. Then I read the handwritten “five thousand” to be certain. (I won’t reveal more without the donor’s permission.)

I immediately thought: How many women can we send to college? I was giddy at such a generous and unexpected donation. Then I picked up the phone and called our board members to share the great news and my joy.

The money is great. And the check is so much more valuable than the numbers after the dollar sign. It’s a statement of support. It’s a testament of faith. It’s an acknowledgement of the value of the work we do and it’s a miracle. It demonstrates the possibilities when hearts and stories connect. When one  person’s story, one person’s words moves another person to act. It’s a shiny example of the power of women to make a difference in the lives of other women…and thereby make a difference for everyone.

I am humbled and elated. And inspired.

Picture Perfect

December 18, 2009

Alice Anderson found this painting during a Web search and we decided it would be a perfect fit for our thank-you card for our donors. The painting is by Filipina artist C.P. Adorio and she gave us permission to use it. We're thrilled.

Alice Anderson is in town for the holidays. Alice is a board member and a college student at College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine. I’m refreshed by and grateful for Alice’s energy and perspective.

We had lunch at our local favorite McMennamins and trolled the Web looking for images of textiles from Africa and the Philippines, trying to find colors and patterns that would represent the countries and women we hope to serve with our scholarship program.

Alice discovered this blog: http://cesandherdishes.blogspot.com/. It features the work of a Filipina artist, C.P. Adorio. When we found the painting of the three women in traditional attire in a rural setting, we thought it was perfect for our purposes.

Oh, the power of technology. We sent the artist an e-mail and explained the mission and work of Isis Initiative, Inc. and asked if she’d be willing to let us use her photo on thank-you note for our donors.

The next day we received an enthusiastic response from Ces, the artist. Today I received a large jpeg file. And I learned she lives in Houston. We had imagined she was in the Philippines. I’d like to meet her and see her work in person.

Thank you, Ces. Thank you, Alice.

This design features labradorite, known as the shaman's stone, in a hand-made silver necklace. It's an original design by Karen Hatch of Stones to Stars in Houston, Texas. This necklace is one of the original pieces for sale at Hatch's show on Dec. 13, 2009 in Houston, TX. More details below.

About labradorite: “It is truly a one-of-a-kind mineralogical experience. It is said to provide quick relief from anxiety, hopelessness and depression, replacing them with enthusiasm, self confidence and inspiration. The stone’s energies support striking out alone, whether in business or to follow a private dream.” Karen Hatch, artist

My sister, Karen Hatch, is an artist who creates original pieces of jewelry using sacred and precious stones from her travels in Central and South America. She has an opening this Saturday of her holiday collection and she will donate a portion of her sales to Isis Initiative, Inc.

If you are in Houston or you have friends or relatives in the area, I’d encourage you to visit

John Ross Palmer Gallery & Studio

1218 Heights Boulevard • Houston, TX 77008 • Dec. 13, 2009 • 15h00 to 17h00

You may find a beautiful gift for yourself or someone you love…and help offer the gift of a college education to a young women overseas.

Karen Hatch Artist Statement

My work is intentionally hand-to-hand. Everything is handmade and sold exclusively hand-to-hand. I work with materials from craftsman who cut stones and pull silver wire by hand and I hand picked each stone in the country from which it was quarried.

My commitment is to provide through my jewelry a connection: to the land, to other people, to our true nature and the Whole diverse, complex and rich pulsating Universal energy of love. Thanks be to God the Almighty Artist, Creator of Heaven and earth.

It is also my heart’s desire that people will see what total works of art they are and embrace their natural beauty and not rely on media messages to define their beauty.

You can learn more about her work at stonetostars.com

Leah Mamhot sent me all the receipts for Marethel Guinsayao's first semester in college, including this receipt from a seamstress for her two school uniforms.

Leah sent me the receipts for Marethel Guinsayao’s first semester of college on Mindanao  in the Philippines, including the one for her uniforms: $20 buys two school uniforms for four years of college.

I spent $25 on a book for my father for Christmas. Over and over again, I’m reminded of the power of a small amount of money to make a big difference.

We have 246 fans of our Isis Initiative, Inc. Facebook page. I posted a note stating if every one of our fans donating $20, we’d be well on our way to sending another young woman to college.

I haven’t yet received a response to my letter to President and First Lady Obama. I remain hopeful. They’re busy and they’ve got a lot on their minds and their schedules, no doubt.

If you’d like to donate, we have an easy PayPal button on our Web site at isisinitiative.org.

As always, thank you.

Investing in Live Stock

November 16, 2009

Leah earns 6,000 pesos/month teaching at the Montessori School in Ozamiz City on Mindanao in the Philippines. That’s approximately US $125, depending on the exchange rate. She’s applied for a position with a public school for the coming academic year. She’ll earn 16,000 pesos/month (US$335) plus benefits. And the school will be closer to her home and village.

Please send Leah all your good thoughts and best wishes. She’s worked hard for this opportunity and the extra money will make a world of difference for her family.

Leah’s a resourceful and determined young woman. To supplement her salary, she bought a pig. She pays approximately US$20 for a pig. Then she raises it and sells it, making about US$140. When I attended her graduation from La Salle University Ozamiz in October 2007, she had her pig butchered and cooked to make luchon, a traditional Filipino dish, to honor and thank me, “her benefactor,” and her family and friends. For her graduation celebration, we traveled to a local beach resort. Friends and family came from miles to join the feast.

Leah has two pigs now as an investment. Her brother, Juven, feeds and cares for the pigs. He’ll get a cut of the profits when they sell the pigs. Leah had planned to prepare luchon again for Christmas, when I had hoped to visit. Not this year. I’ll be working–the prize for being the most recent hire at the newspaper.

I’ll be there in spirit.

Remember this holiday season, $20 can make an enormous difference in a young woman’s life. Leah buys pigs to supplement her salary. Your donation of $20 will help provide a college education to another scholarship recipient.

Please help us continue to send young women to college with scholarships from Isis Initiative, Inc. You can donate through PayPal on our Web site or send a check.

Thank you.

Unintended Consequences

November 8, 2009

Leah arrived in Dumingag about noon on Friday. She met Marethel, our scholarship recipient, and her sister, Rosel, who’s a third year education student at Josefina Cerilles State College. Leah paid her tuition fees and Marethel is enrolled for 15 units her first semester.

Marethel will share a small room in a boarding house with her sister and another student. Since they live in a mountainous region far from the college, the sisters must live near the college in order to attend classes.

“It’s a very small room, Cheryl,” Leah said. And if Leah says it’s small…

There’s a bed and a set of bunk beds and not much else.

Leah and Marethel went looking for the landlord to pay Marethel’s rent for six months. Rosebel tried to ask Leah about an allowance for Marethel, so Leah showed them the contract. Leah said she told Marethel be thankful enough for the opportunity she’s received to go to college.

She gave Marethel our agreement, which says she accepts the Leah B. Mamhot Scholarship from Isis Initiative, Inc. We will cover her tuition, boarding room and two school uniforms. She will cover her other expenses and maintain a “B” average in school. If she doesn’t have a “B” average one semester, she will get one chance, i.e. the next semester, to raise her grades. We will fund her entire education if she continues to do well in her studies.

Leah said Marethel is very happy and she signed the contract.

Then Leah told me that Marethel’s younger sister, who was a working scholar at La Salle University, which Leah attended, had to abandon her studies. Since she’s the youngest, her family requires her to work to help support Marethel and Rosel in their studies.

We offered one young woman a college education and it cost another young woman–only temporarily, I hope–her education. This is a standard practice in Filipino culture. The younger sister and her brother will work to pay for the expenses of the two sisters now in college.

When they graduate and begin working, they will help pay for the education of their siblings.

Leah is doing the same for her family. Her brother, Benjy, 17, won a scholarship to study criminology in Tangub, where he’ll stay in a boarding house. Leah will use a portion of her teaching wages to help Benjy pay for his expenses. Benjy likes LeBron James and wants to become a police officer.