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Thanks for visiting our website and learning about our charity that helps children in China stay in school.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Matching Pen Pals

I spoke at a two grammar school classes today about China. It was a lot of fun. Those kids were very interested in being pen pals to Nine Mile School and some of the other primary schools. I gave them some of the folded cranes that the Yangshuo student's always give me as thank you gifts. One teacher promised to teach them how to fold the peace cranes later.

I had a slide show of our recent trip, and we all enjoyed it very much, except for the dried dragon eye fruit that I let them try out. It was a little too tart for their taste, and they were all running to the sink to wash out their mouths after the tang hit their tongues. I have to get busy and do some more pen pal cards for a Girl Scout Troop too. I could use an extra hour or two in my day or a computer wizard to help me out.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Jinbao Lower Middle School

Blessing Hands has several students at this school and two of the children had sponsors who had sent money for us to buy their children coats and other special gifts.

Li Zhaochun, who is shown here in his new coat, came an hour on foot and by bus with his grandfather (standing on the right) to meet us. Li brought a small box of fruit to give us that he had picked from his family's land. Li wants to be a teacher.

Mo Yufang’s sponsor gave her a new red coat. The other students in this school do not have special sponsors. Maybe some of you would like to sponsor them.

Gaotian Anding Primary School

One of our first stops was at Anding Primary School. The school had recently received a new bathroom, water tower, and other needed repairs from Founding Family Charitable Foundation, and Nina wanted to see the improvements.

Many of the students had drawn pictures to send to prospective pen pals and to thank us for the improvements to the school. I have included one of the paintings here. We have five children at Anding who are supported by Blessing Hands. We were delighted to see that the roof of the kindergarten was repaired, and they now had electricity in that room.

The Recent China Trip Was Wonderful.

I am getting over jet lag and reading all the thank you letters that the students gave me while I was in China. I was able to give out tuitions to most of our 476 students including the college students who came home for Chinese New Year.

Nina Ottinger from the Founding Family Charitable Foundation and I traveled for two weeks to four presentation ceremonies and got to meet many of the students. They all wanted to give us drawings, letters, and little homemade gifts. You can see some of them in the photo. I went with a suitcase full of gifts to share with them and came back with more gifts than I took. They are so appreciative that sometimes we felt like movie stars.

We visited about 10 schools and celebrated Chinese New Year with dumplings and fireworks. We were entertained with music, dancing, and student and administrator’s speeches. We even got to make some speeches of our own and taught two groups the Hokey Pokey.

We gave out about $2,300 in education grants, dispersed books sent from America, inspected FFCF construction projects at two primary schools, and got to see many of our students. Nina met my Chinese friends and plans to return to Qinzhou this summer to conduct an eyeglass clinic as we did in Yangshuo last summer.

Friday, February 02, 2007

February Newsletter

Blessing Hands February 2007 Newsletter

China Trip: I am ready to leave for China tomorrow. It has been a whirlwind for the last week with many opportunities opening up. Li Xiao Long, Sophia Chen, Walson Li, and I have been working on a Chinese translation of our Blessing Hands PowerPoint and brochure.  I was still putting in larger pictures in the brochure late last night, so the printer in China could get clear pictures in the Chinese brochure.  It should be printed by the time I reach Nanning.  I have printed out some on my home printer to give away in Yangshuo.

A door has opened in Nanning for Blessing Hands to be mentioned to some important people there. I will be able to give the Chinese translation of our literature to a UN staff member that works with the Poverty Reduction Office of the United Nations Development Project. I have also been in contact with a World Vision staff member in Nanning. One Nanning person may go with us to take photo of our children and schools.

Tuition Ingatherings: Nina Ottinger of the Founding Family Charitable Foundation and I will be participating in Tuition Ingatherings in Yangshuo, Qinzhou, Wuming, and Pubei. In Yangshuo, we will have TV coverage and receive banners of thanks for helping the Blessing Hands students there.   I have been gathering small gifts to give to the students and am looking forward to meeting some of the 83 new students that we added in Yangshuo last fall.  

In Qinzhou, we will meet 180 students in our new program in Qinzhou County.  Anna Liu has ordered new shoes for them ($3 each) and coats for the 28 primary students in Wuming. Over 70 of them have been writing me e-mail, and I hope to see some of the teachers that I taught there in the summer English camp in 2004. There are 31 Blessing Hands students in the Pubei area where we will have another public presentation of tuitions.  In Nanning, I will get to see some of the visiting scholars that have been at Morehead State University and other old friends.

Family Founding Charitable Foundation: Nina Ottinger from the Founding Family Charitable Foundation will be inspecting the two bath buildings that FFCF funded in two primary schools. She will also be making arrangements for an eyeglass clinic for our students in Qinzhou this coming summer and perhaps service projects in Yangshuo in cooperation with a Sister Cities group of American high school students. It will be a pleasure to have her help in giving out the tuitions.  FFCF gave us a $25,000 grant to start the Qinzhou fall program.

Book Drive: We sent 24 boxes of books today through charitable arrangements with UPS. They went to three different administrators that will disperse them in our 85 schools. Some of them will be there for us to give out at the Ingatherings.  We will also continue to encourage schools, churches, Girl Scout Troops, youth groups, clubs, and individuals to send books through M-bags at the US Post Office for $1 a pound up to 60 pounds.  

Volunteers: We are looking for enthusiastic volunteers to process the new pictures and files I will bring back from China this trip.  Adding 263 new students means that there are many pen pals and sponsors to match and lots of computer files to create.  I thank Ryan Newberry and Suzy Sun for all the hours they put in last semester working on files. We are coming up with a naming system for the pictures that will help us standardize information.

Pen Pal and Sponsor Opportunities: A blessing hands representative has been invited to speak at the McBrayer Elementary PTA in March, and we hope to get open doors for other contacts to develop our pen pal and sponsor matches. If you would like to write a Blessing Hands student or choose one to support, we have many pictures posted now at http://picasaweb.google.com/bdcutts?pli=1.  Just pick one out and e-mail us at blessinghands@gmail.com for their address. Just this week I matched four students at Zhanghuang Middle School with a young pen pal in Fleming County Kentucky. She is going to encourage four more of her friends to write our students also.  She wants to send $10 a month from her allowance to support one high school student’s tuition.  E-mail letters help our students develop their English writing skills and motivate them to learn how to use computers while learning about the USA.  American pen pals learn about life in rural China and have the pleasure of giving of themselves to others.

Betty Cutts for Blessing Hands’ students