Friday, March 7, 2008

What do Pink Elephants, Laptops for Lankans & Diplomatic Dinners have to do with Roosevelt Island? - Orphan's International Open House on Sunday

Image from article below of Councilman Mathieu Eugene, M.D., U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, Jim Luce, and Donald Hoskins, M.D.

Here's a message and invitation from Roosevelt Island resident and Orphan's International Founder Jim Luce:

Dear Roosevelt Island Neighbors & Misc. Friends!
Join us this Sunday afternoon from 1-5 for our monthly Open House.
Come hear exciting volunteer activities at:
Linda Stanley’s Pink Elephant fundraiser on March 26
Our 24 Interns coming to R.I. this summer
Kim Andino’s (Manhattan Park) successful campaign to collect computers for Sri Lanka – she takes them there in three weeks!
Toni Cela’s report from Jacmel, Haiti – the new house and fresh start for our kids there
Amin’s work on the beautiful and exciting diplomatic dinner in June
Hope to see you on Sunday! Could you bring a bottle or bag of goodies – we try our hardest to keep expenses down! If you can’t make it, I’m sure I’ll see you on the tram or at Trellis. Cheers, Jim

Warm regards,
Jim Luce, Founder

Orphans International Worldwide
Associated with the U.N. Dept. of Public Information
540 Main Street #418 ♦ New York, N.Y. 10044 U.S.A.
O: 212/755-7285 ♦ F: 212/755-7302
And here's more about the work that Orphan's International does around the world:

Augmenting Small Homes
OI Rolls Out ‘Family Care’

By Linda Stanley

Just before New Year’s Day, Jim Luce presented “Vision 2008: OI Family Care” at an Orphans International fundraising dinner on Sutton Place, in honor of Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney, who was presented OI’s Certificate of Distinguished Honor.

Luce, a Roosevelt Island resident, founded Orphans International Worldwide, incorporated in New York as OI America in 2001. Congresswoman Maloney represents our community in Washington.

In his remarks, Luce described OI’s expanded vision for 2008. “Over the years we have been able to house 36 children around the world, offering them love and nutrition, surrogate parents, proper medical care and education, clothing and housing,” Luce told the audience. “We are raising global citizens.”

“Ten years ago I envisioned assisting orphans in the developing world by building small homes and hiring houseparents. Instinctively, I felt that the key to proper care for orphaned children anywhere was a strong substitute family. My vision was a good starting place. We have now figured out how to be four times more effective with your contributions.

“In the last year we have partnered with an existing program in Sri Lanka that does not have custody of its children—Tsunami orphans—but rather assists the extended family members of those children to care for them. I have seen how this program works. It is impressive.

“At the same time,” Luce admitted, “I have been frustrated by the sheer number of orphans. There are 12 million AIDS orphans alone, nearly all unaffected, but whose parents have died from the virus.” “What can I do—what can OI as an organization do—to meet the needs of 12 million children?,” Luce turned to the diners.

“As much as we would like, we cannot build millions of small homes.” Yet, he pointed out, there are millions of homes in the developing world.

“The key to reaching out to more and more children in need—to expanding our vision— is to use existing housing,” Luce told those gathered. “The original model we have developed, with four children to each small home, is one of the best in the world, but it is expensive. It is too expensive for grassroots groups in developing nations to be able to readily duplicate.

“But through OI Family Care, we can reach out to hundreds more children and make it possible for others to join our efforts, helping potentially thousands of children in need.

“The new paradigm will be a community center serving as the nexus for each village where our new OI Family Care children will meet once a week for English, computer and arts education, and medical attention.” All current OI Child Sponsors will continue to sponsor their existing children. OI now has 102 child sponsors. Each child has four sponsors apiece.

The evening set the tone for 2008. Both Fentonie “Toni” Cela, M.A., OI Worldwide’s new Executive Officer, and myself, OI America new Executive Director. Island resident Donald W. Hoskins, M.D. from Riverwalk has been OI America’s Board president in 2007.

Rivercross resident and OI America Ambassador-at-Large Ethel Grodzins Romm received OI’s Special Recognition Award for her tireless efforts on behalf of OI children around the world, especially in Indonesia. The new OI Chinese-American Chapter was also recognized.

The event was hosted by renowned child advocate Regina Skyer, Esq., and OI America Advisory Board member Alisa Chazani, Psychoanalyst.

New York State Representative Micah Kellner and Haitian-American New York City Councilman Mathieu Eugene, M.D. also attended the year-end event and pledged their support to OI’s ongoing international efforts. Rep. Maloney, fortuitously, is an expert on family care.

Beginning this month, OI will start to assist fifty children orphaned by the Tsunami in the village of Kathaluwa, Sri Lanka as part of the new OI Family Care. This is more than all of the children OI has been able to assist in its short history.

In 2007, OI raised approximately $250,000 to help children around the world. About 16% of these contributions were given on Roosevelt Island, with 28% donated from Manhattan. The average contribution was slightly over $600.

OI has opened four projects to date, and is on the ground working towards opening in the many other countries. Due to stringent local rules and regulations, it takes OI about three years on average to open a project in a developing nation.

Orphans International Worldwide, founded on Roosevelt Island, is associated with the United Nations Department of Public Information and is one of only two networks of interfaith orphanages associated with the U.N. The other is SOS Kinderdorf, also moving towards a family care model.