My cousin, Dr. Judy, is about to have a milestone birthday next week.
She said she doesn't want any birthday presents. There's nothing she really needs that she can't afford to buy for herself.
What she does want is for us all to take the money we would have spent on her, and to give it to Naomi Bronstein's Canadacares Children’s International Foundation.
Why, because my cousin went to Guatemala to help out some medical friends who were volunteering to help orphans, children and sick families. Her friends gave Judy some fundamental medical training so she could provide some useful assistance while she was with them.
And Judy found herself doing things she'd never imagined, working alongside a doctor or a dentist, elbows deep in...well you can see the picture, can't you?
While in Guatemala, she met Naomi Bronstein and was deeply moved by the work she's doing to make life and health possible for people who are living in conditions of poverty and deprivation we can't even imagine.
Judy was intensely affected by Bronstein's devotion to children over years, airlifting orphans from Vietnam, adopting 7 of them herself, helping the children in devastated Guatemala after Hurricane Mitch.
That's where she wants our money to go - to Naomi Bronstein.
After reading more and more about her accomplishments, it's clear this woman can use help - and deserves to get it.
Only, it's not clear whether her organization qualifies as a charitable deduction.
But Judy's organization does. Share the Power is a qualified 501 (c)(3) organization.
So my donations will go to her.
In fact, I've done another thing.
Something that started out as a private joke... when we were talking about how we've aged.
That I didn't really want certain of the people she'd invited to her party to see me as I look now. They haven't seen me in many years. And she's feeling a little overly wrinkled here and there, too. Well, it led to this idea.
Instead of telling them they couldn't look at us - and destroy that wonderful image of us they've always carried in their heads, I suggested Judy to tell them to look at us through rose-colored memories.
Of course, that gave me another idea. And here it is.
I created a Rose-Colored Memories shop. Every dime of profits will go to Naomi, via Share the Power. http://www.cafepress.com/taxmama/1409950
And I appeal to you to help.
Well, read this letter from Naomi, and you'll see:
Things here have been pretty bad. Our co-worker and his 13 year old nephew were killed when going off the dirt road onto the highway after helping us with the wood. We build 400 beds for those sleeping in the cold mud. However Isaiah’s small truck was literally under this massive truck and both he and his nephew were killed instantly.
My financial support [name deleted] have written that they have stopped my living expenses and salary for Hugo and the light, phone, care payments etc as of this month, May. When I signed the contract I asked her first, and I told her that as the contract ended in Sept, I had to give notice in June. I don’t know if this was a mix up or not but it seems the payments stop in May.
There is no other place I can go as I have no money for rent or Hugo or car, or food or medicines. I have to be in country, actually living here in order to receive Grants and donations for projects, in order they be administrated and used correctly. All these expenses, including the place we rent for storage, and where Hugo and his wife and 3 kids live will have to go, his contract ends Nov 11th, but I think I can convince the owner to let us out earlier as Hugo, me, his wife, brothers and friends turned it from a cockroach infested, rat infected, giant cobwebs and filth to a painted clean place. I know he will be able to rent it for more.
However I have to pay for a place to live for myself, and salary and car payments and truck insurance, computer, light, gas, etc. This really adds up to $5000. per month. The Gibsons were giving me $9000 so I could also buy meds and pay for surgeries on kids here and still go to remote areas. Then it was cut more than half.
The US Weather bureau predicts 25 tropical storms and 17 Hurricanes for Guatemala this year.
31,000 are homeless, 1/3 of the country destroyed, we have grant and donation applications in, and one for the Mobile Medical Units that were old school buses that will go to the villages and treat the children & their families. If I am not living on the ground physically, none of these donations or grants will continue to happen and hundreds of children will suffer and many will die.
I need to find a way to raise, in a total pledge $5000 per month transferred to Canada and then my daughter wire transfers it to me here so an income tax receipt can be made that is acceptable to the IRS.
Really, when you think of $5000 a month divided up among people, companies, churches, clubs etc it really is not so hard to get going, and I am running out of time. The only thing is that whatever anyone pledges monthly, they have to keep this pledge for a year or how ever longer they want, but not less them a year. This is if its paid monthly.
I have to be here to help the kids, I cannot return to Montreal as I have no income at all, here or there.
So in 30 days I’m without funds, I am borrowing $3000 from a friend, but he knows I cannot pay it back. But I have to live and raise money for these children, who have nothing but more misery to look forward to this year.
Please Judy, I know it’s not your responsibility, but if you have any way that I can obtain living expenses in order that I remain here I cannot tell you how grateful I would be.
I have sent my CV in for jobs in Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The areas are more dangerous but there is a little more income because of it, they provide you with a place to stay medical and airplane there and back. Its not what I want to do.
It took me years to gain the trust of the villagers here, from all the places we go. I have all my contacts here since I arrived after the massive earthquake in 1977. Any ideas you can come up with?
Take Care, hope you are well.
That's why you'll want to help. They need her in Guatemala. She's doing a great deal of good.
Naomi is there, on the ground, helping people, doing things we wish we could be doing for others in conditions we'd never want our children or family to even see, much less live in.
Naomi is our proxy.
Naomi is our conscience.
Share your rose-colored memories with us (using the comments box below) - stories of memories and people and places that make you smile, and feel warm...and bring a tear to your eyes.
And wear your rose-colored memories proudly.