Friday, April 23, 2010

Last days at Rising Star Outreach


We were happy to see that the Star Program turned out to be a success! It helped teach the children ownership as well as improve their behavior at school and at the hostel.  Below is the line outside the Star Store on a regular opening day. The children are lined up based on their earned stars. The ones with the most stars earned for the week can enter the store first.


This is shortly before opening the store and the little ones are really excited.


These children have worked hard for their purchases at the Star Store and we think it is easy to see the excitement and satisfaction in their eyes as they earned their very own item in the store…
Below is Nagaraj with his new small soccer ball.


And here is Jennifer with her new bracelet. She was a real success. In the beginning of the program she got 0 stars for the entire week. By week five she was up to the maximum of 7 stars. For those of you who do not remember, the children are given one star per day for completing certain tasks and behave well. If they do not, they don’t earn a star. So Jennifer went from not behaving to behaving very well in a matter of weeks.


Amirtham with some beauty products.


Vimal Kanth is one of the kindest and most polite people at RSO. For example when we asked him “how are you?” he would answer “Fine. Thank you for asking”. How adorable is that!


Papitha got a gift for one of her relatives.


Some of the top performers in the Star Program decided to buy the most expensive item in the store – a field trip to a nearby town for Parothas (a popular local food) and a shopping allowance of 75 Rupees.  Below is the group of 10 that saved up 40 stars for this trip….

From left to right: Rajesh, Rahamath, Krishnamoorthy, Logeshwari, Karpagavalli, Priya, Malavika, Tal, Sujatha, Vijayalaskhmi, Anita, Pasitha.


We had an absolute blast!  The boys went with Tal and looked at things like toys and video games, while the girls shopped with Anita and Kristen for necklaces, greetings cards, and other girl things…

Below are Logeshwari, Priya and Karpagavalli with their newly acquired birthday cards for their uncles.


Krishnamoorthy and Rajesh shopping for the coolest guy’s stuff.


And below is Kristen with Sujatha, Malavika, Viajayalakshmi, and Rahamath. (counterclockwise)


Here are the girls and Anita looking for bangles and necklaces. We ended up getting matching necklaces we all wore at the Annual Day.


After a very gratifying shopping experience with these wonderful children, we all went to a popular restaurant and had Parothas… Below again are Sujatha, Vijayalakshmi, Malavika and Rahamath.


Anita, Karpagavalli, Priya, and Logeshwari.


We all had fun showing our purchases…


On the last week of the Star Store, Anita and I asked the top three performers in the Star Program to help manage the store.  They were so happy to help and did a great job and will actually continue running the store now that we are returning home.


Cole Hendershot (the son of the Directors) took over as he banker and loves his new responsibility. We were thrilled that he would be willing to help us carry this program on when the children get back from their summer break.  Poor Cole did not realize that being the banker in the Star Store is utterly exhausting as 150 children want your immediate attention and keep asking how much they have to spend etc. But he and Krishnamoorthy (who will assist him in the future) will do a great job, once they are used to it all.


Becky Douglas, the President of RSO, came to visit for a week.  She loved the Star Program and wanted to make sure it stays as a program at RSO for years to come.  That news made us really happy because we didn’t want to see something that we had put so much work into just fall apart when we leave.  Sarah Hendershot (Director at RSO) has taken on the management of the Star Program and the Star Store which we are really excited about.

On the 17th of April all of the parents were bussed into RSO to pick up their children. The children had prepared a program for “Annual Day” which included dances, skits, a magic show, and a keynote address.  Anita and I had the chance to teach the 2nd graders the “Wide Mouth Frog” skit, which they performed rather well.  For those of you familiar with this skit, you know how fun it is and the kids did such a great job being different animals etc.  (For those of you who do not know the skit, have Tal tell it to you when you see him next. It is worth the wait!!)

Here are a few pictures from Annual Day…

Below is Eswari with her father. Eswari, like most of the children, had been talking for days about going home. This was a happy moment for everyone.


The Kindergarten children performing a dance. It does not get much cuter.


The “boys” doing a dance. 


The teachers and housemothers looking on. We will miss these ladies a lot.


And yes we look gigantic next to Meera, one of the cleaning ladies. We loved her as she had some real spunk.


And this marks the end of our experience at RSO. We will miss the children and the staff and will look back on it with fond memories.