In early January, my daughter and I had the once in a lifetime opportunity to travel to India. We spent ten days visiting the different projects supported by the Foundation for Children in Need. I cannot begin to express how deeply moved I was by the impact the Foundation has had on the lives of so many individuals! We visited numerous schools, our home for the elderly, and we even had an opportunity to meet our sponsored child and visit his family in their home village. What a privilege and joy that meeting was!
From the moment I met Tom Chitta and Dr. Geetha Yeruva, the founders of FCN, I was impressed by their integrity, commitment to serve the poor, and their contagious joy! Now having visited our projects in India, I have seen how these rare qualities have been embodied in the work of FCN. The money people provide the Foundation is translated directly into action and aid. I was fortunate enough to meet the coordinators and staff members of all of our projects. They are dedicated individuals trained and committed to efficiently carrying out the work of the Foundation. Children are learning in schools that provide not only excellent education, but nutritious food, clean water, and new opportunities. Goals or dreams once beyond the hopes or imagination of so many children are now attainable. Classrooms and playgrounds are filled with inquisitive children smiling, laughing, and learning. FCN is fundamentally committed to education as a vehicle to move beyond poverty.
The poverty I experienced in India was unlike any I have encountered before. I knew the Foundation helped provide shelter, education, clean water, medical care, and clothing for thousands of individuals. What I did not understand until I met these people was the hope and future the Foundation provides them. Speaking with our sponsored college students was such a treat. When I asked them which career they were hoping to embark upon, there was never a hesitation. With faces lit by the bright smiles so customary for them to display, they would answer back, “Engineering, a doctor, a nurse, business, a teacher, a nun. . .” Their pride in their studies and gratitude for the opportunity to be educated was always more than evident. I have never experienced so many children and young people so grateful and joy-filled for the seemingly simple opportunity to go to school.
I cannot conclude my letter without mentioning Shanitvanam (“forest of peace”), our home for the elderly. There is such a sense of peace and tranquility here, it is difficult not to find yourself smiling. Shantivanam is home to forty elderly individuals and is run by a dynamite administrator but truly gentle soul, Sr. Lucy. People here find quality care, companionship, beautiful gardens and a beautiful newly dedicated chapel in which to worship, regardless of creed. It was also very striking that a number of our sponsored college students live here as well. This intergenerational mix provides a wonderful and unique sharing of gifts and wisdom.
We experienced so many wonderful moments, sights, sounds, colors, foods, and especially, people in our adventure in India. Amidst their material poverty, the Indian people who welcomed us were the most hospitable and joyful people I have ever met. Having touched their hands and seen their faces, I feel even more committed to the mission of FCN. Thank you for the support you give to FCN. May you be as richly blessed for your giving as I was in meeting those we serve!
Chairperson, Mission Appeal Coordinator FCN
Jo Anne Mullen-Muhr, Chairperson Foundation for Children in Need, Arlington Heights, IL.
Dear Jo Anne Mullen-Muhr,
We the coordinators of Foundation for Children in Need are very pleased to be in your presence. We are so happy that you decided to visit us and spend some time with us. We sincerely thank you for taking trouble to make this trip to visit us with your daughter Anna. Tom and Geetha have shared with us about the help you have been giving to them and to the Foundation. We appreciate all your help and admire your spirit.
We also want to extend our special thanks to all the Board of Directors of Foundation for Children in Need. It is because of your support that we are able to carry on the service to the very needy in our area.
Please also thank FCN staff members and volunteers.
Please share our gratitude to all sponsors, donors and all those who are part of FCN family. We are truly grateful to all of you. We assure you of our prayers. Our sponsored children think of you and pray for you everyday.
We are confident that you are enjoying your visit. We pray that the rest of your trip will be an enjoyable one. We wish you safe travels in India and on your return journey.
Kindly visit us again. Know that there are many in India who love you and care for you.
Thanking you once.