In 2015 I had the opportunity to visit the FCN projects that Tom and Geetha founded in India. It was such an amazing experience that I knew I would want to return again. So in January 2018 I was able to visit India again. And once again it was an amazing experience! Not only did we revisit some of the projects that I had seen on my first trip, but was able to visit several projects that were new since my 2015 trip.
One of the highlights of the trip was meeting with the children that my husband and I sponsor. I met the girl we sponsor for the second time. It was wonderful to see how well she is doing and how excited she was to meet with me again.
So now I have 2 memorable trips to India and am looking forward to going again. The warmth and kindness of the Indian people is overwhelming as are all the achievements that Geetha and Tom have accomplished with the help of everyone who sponsors a child through FCN.
Midge Sheehan, Arlington Heights, IL
I’ve known you for 30 years and this was my fourth trip to India. My reflections may be quite different from someone coming to India for the first time.
When you met my son Keith he was only 7. What a joy it was to share this trip to India with him and see how he has grown into this wonderful and caring young man. Rotary is a big part of Keith’s life. I am so grateful to you for helping to get us to the Rotary meeting. It was wonderful meeting and spending time with Veera Kumar, whom FCN helped and now as an adult he is paying it forward and helping others.
Seeing you and Geetha in action in India and taking us around to all of the FCN projects, it really dawned on me how hard the two of you work and how dedicated you are to helping the poor. I especially marvelled at the way you have been able to connect with Rosy and Nirmala and provide FCN sponsorships to many of the orphans under their care. Where would these children be without FCN’s help?
Also, touring the new FCN Home, you again demonstrated how you think big and are later focused on setting and accomplishing your goals, and asking others to help where they can.
Another marvel is the openness and transparency of FCN. Looking at the work of Srinivas and others, every receipt and every letter is there to look at, organized in binders by project and by year, with pictures of the good works that are being accomplished. There is open verification that FCN is a good steward with the monies that donors and sponsors have entrusted to them.
This was my third visit to Karunagiri. It never gets old to visit this village and get treated like a rock star. You have brought so much joy to this community and the villagers never miss an opportunity to show their gratitude.
It was very nice to see everyone and renew my friendships from my visit in 2015 and work at the FCN School near Porumamilla. It was good to see the teachers and all of the children – so happy! It was especially rewarding to meet my new sponsored child Charan Kumar and his family. He was a little shy but he likes being at the FCN School a lot. It was also rewarding to visit with Uday, sponsored child of Pat’s best friend Sue Rose. He really enjoys developing his Tae Kwan. Do skills and competing at meets. Amala said when Uday first came to the FCN School; he would go stay by the main gate longing to go home to his village. Now the school and FCN have become his home. FCN is really making a difference and transforming the lives of the sponsored children.
It was very rewarding to visit the school for hearing impaired in Kadapa run by Christu Jyothi Sisters. Nice to see Sister Jancy and spend time with Ramakrishna, my other sponsored child. He showed me the clothing he had tailored and the crafts he had made. He looks forward to continuing his education as long as he can.
Who knew how you would change my life or how I would come to feel like a part of your family. I’m so very grateful for your friendship and how over the years you have gotten me out of my comfort zone to do and experience things I never would have dreamed of otherwise.
All the best to you, Geetha, Parneetha and everyone!
Love, Al Carlson, Palatine, IL
Tom and Geetha: Namaste. I cannot begin to thank you for the trip of a life time. First, your planning, guidance and then your hospitality and generosity, made everything go so smoothly. Your family and staff were like our own. Every detail was taken care of for us. I will always feel that I have an extended family in India.
When I close my eyes, there are so many wonderful pictures in my mind of India, all so very memorable. The Taj Mahal, the Tomb and Church of St. Thomas, the Lotus Temple in Delhi and even Mc Donald's. Those were all so very wonderful, but what I remember most are the faces of the children. My two new sponsored children were beautiful, smart and hopeful. We talked, laughed and learned about each other. I even met their parents. The morning I spent with the children at the school for the hearing impaired will never leave me. Their beautiful smiles and their desire to communicate and learn made me feel humble.
What little financial help I may be able to give them, is not even close to what I received in return. Just knowing that my small gift does so much to make the quality of life so much better for another human being is more than enough. May God bless you both, your families and FCN Staff for what you are doing every day.
Warren Hueber, New York
I have always hoped to visit India someday, but never in my wildest dreams did I know it would become a reality. Nor did I know it would be an experience that would change my life. So when my friend of 40 years, Midge Sheehan, invited me to travel with her to India, I didn’t hesitate to say yes.
When we arrived in India, Dr. Geetha and Tom Chitta were so warm and welcoming. Every detail was well planned and everywhere we went we were treated like royalty. I especially loved visiting the orphanages, schools, home for the elderly and the culmination of their dreams, the FCN Home construction site.
Tom and Geetha have devoted their lives to care for the poorest of the poor. Children who never would have a chance in life are not only loved and cared for, but given an opportunity to be educated so that eventually can care for themselves. To see the smiles and the genuine happiness in these children’s faces fills my heart with joy!
Over 2500 children have been blessed to have Tom and Geetha in their lives. I was fortunate to meet one of their first orphans from 15 years ago. He has now graduated from college and is sponsoring his first orphan! That’s pretty amazing stuff!
I feel very blessed to have had this rewarding experience. And just to know my sponsorship has made a huge difference in a young woman’s life is priceless! I share my story with all who will listen and hope you will find it in your heart to help too.
Thank you Tom and Geetha and May God continue to bless you.
Jan Nelson, Plymouth, WI
My first trip to India was one of the most fulfilling experiences in my life. I sponsor one student, but this act pales in comparison to the gifts I received in return, which are truly priceless. Giving others the gift of hope is one of the greatest gifts you can give to someone.
Although many of the people we met visiting FCN projects face many challenges, I saw much hope in their faces, pure generosity in their spirits, and genuine warmth in their hearts. Why?
FCN gives hope, Tom and Dr. Geetha give hope, and sponsoring students in need give the great gift of hope. When an act or program is good to its core, hope can flourish and great things can be achieved.
Our group of 8 sponsors, who were lucky enough to see India and FCN schools and projects up close and personally know that FCN, its leadership and staff are good to the core and truly doing the God’s work.
It seemed like I took about 10,000 pictures in India trying to “capture “all the beautiful moments, but I will never forget the smiles on the faces of Lavanya, my sponsored student and her mother Lakshmi, when we first met. I’m so grateful for this experience, and I will encourage others and pray that they can experience all the gifts that FCN sponsorship has provided me.
Olga Prado, Chicago
My first trip to India was one of the most fulfilling experiences in my life. I sponsor one student, but this act pales in comparison to the gifts I received in return, which are truly priceless. Giving others the gift of hope is one of the greatest gifts you can give to someone. Although many of the people we met visiting FCN projects face many challenges, I saw much hope in their faces, pure generosity in their spirits, and genuine warmth in their hearts. Why? FCN gives hope, Tom and Dr. Geetha give hope, and sponsoring students in need give the great gift of hope. When an act or program is good to its core, hope can flourish and great things can be achieved. Our group of 8 sponsors, who were lucky enough to see India and FCN schools and projects up close and personally know that FCN, its leadership and staff are good to the core and truly doing the God’s work. It seemed like I took about 10,000 pictures in India trying to “capture “all the beautiful moments, but I will never forget the smiles on the faces of Lavanya, my sponsored student and her mother Lakshmi, when we first met. I’m so grateful for this experience, and I will encourage others and pray that they can experience all the gifts that FCN sponsorship has provided me.
Jim Murray Jr. Chicago
The people we met were warm, welcoming, hospitable and glad to see us. The greetings I got at so many places were far more than what I felt I deserved. The people made me feel like a celebrity, especially the children. What I’ve done for them is so little. Most people in the schools and villages, although poor, seemed to be happy.
Most of the things I’m concerned about on a daily basis seemed irrelevant when I was at one of the FCN programs or events. The few coins I gave someone seem so paltry compared to what I spent for my food and souvenirs. I need to make changes in my life.
The love, dedication and generosity of Tom, Geetha, Parneetha, Veena, Srinivas, Jayapal and the other FCN staff, religious and workers at the various sites we visited is amazing. I hope to be able to visit again.
Pat Sabol, Wheeling, IL
"What an amazing experience to visit India and FCN projects with 7 other sponsors this year. My wife and I have been sponsors for 2 years, and my father Alan Carlson has been involved from the beginning. The highlight of the trip was meeting our sponsored child Divyasree, a student at the FCN School near Porumamilla. What a wonderful time getting to know her and her family and see firsthand how our sponsorship makes a difference in her life.
Many thanks to our hosts, Dr. Geetha and Tom Chitta, whose hard work and dedication made all these possible. Project after project we visited, you could see the impact of FCN in improving the lives of the poor, disabled, and orphaned children. This was an experience I will cherish and I can’t wait for our next visit!"
Keith Carlson, Little Rock, AKFCN News TOP