Buy Tickets...Be A Sponsor...Volunteer... for our Sips and Songs for LITERACY Event!

Ellenore’s Note

I recently spoke at the Women In Tech Regatta in Seattle.  It is a wonderful event focused on supporting women in technical career through panels on a variety of topics as well as providing an effective way to network. I love their hashtag #relationshipsarethetruecurrency. Each session is small enough to make connections and is set up with an experienced panel sharing experiences on a hard topic and then breakouts where small groups of attendees (no more than 5) discuss a prompt or the general topic among themselves. The entire group then gets back together to share insights and aha moments.  This is my third time being a contributing panelist and my first being a moderator.

I moderated a session on Managing the Tension between Career and Parenthood and a panelist on How to Lead From Every Seat.  My aha moments at these events are the extent of universality of many challenges faced and solutions that work.   I find themes and learning I (and fellow panelists) shared carry over to my work for OHBD as well as other roles.  Being a mom, whether working or not, whether here or in Ethiopia, the reality is you will likely be responsible for most of the childcare and housework. This reality makes taking on more, whether it be a career or learning to read (see our new Model Program Project “Read to Mom” below), difficult.  For managing different roles, whether it be parent, employee, volunteer, child or friend, there are choices and trade-offs.  For everything I can say yes to, I have to say no to something else.  We all have the same 24 hours a day and seven days a week everywhere around the world.  Success comes down to being really clear on your priorities and how you spend your most precious currency, your time and attention.  For OHBD, we look at impact, where we can uniquely contribute, and how we can build capacity in organizations and communities.  For example, we are looking at solving problems like literacy not just producing books or building libraries. We ultimately want to positively contribute to creating a reading and writing culture so literacy efforts are not needed. 

To accomplish bold goals like these, as an individual, team or organization, requires everyone to lead which was the topic of my second panel.  In the conference, we talked about the power each person has to contribute no matter their role or seniority.  It is the same in the work we do.  Each one of our leads, volunteers and collaborating organizations provides valuable insights and approaches to inform and guide the our work.  And in the end, #relationshipsarethetruecurrency because without them there is no trust. And without trust, we can’t become a part of the communities we support which is critical.  Building trust happens in different ways but starts with a genuine human connection and a desire to be a part of the solution.  We shared a few recent examples below and are so grateful for all the beautiful human beings and organizations who have joined us on this journey.

                                                                                                        ~ Ellenore

        Art Healer Frehiwot and “Fearless” by Ellenore Angelidis

Our art day in Adama, Ethiopia arranged by OHBD Board Member Sultan Mohamed, was magical.  We shared the art supplies we brought in our overflowing suitcases with the talented artists who accepted his invitation to spend a day creating art for #readysetgo books. Watching them take paints and brushes donated by generous supporters in the US and create pieces that would become part of our books was so amazing. They shared that the quality supplies we brought were not possible to get easily in Ethiopia.  The sight of the diverse styles of paintings, artists and pieces was an assault on the senses in the best possible way.  We had an artist from Harar, a potter of Ethiopian origin from Vancouver Canada, a current illustrators from outside Addis, fine artists from Addis and more.

When I first saw Frehiwot, an Ethiopian artist and art therapist living in London, I was stuck by her beauty, energy and her resemblance to my Leyla including her glorious curls, wild and free.  She was seated cross legged on the ground painting. Leyla took a seat next to her; they then painted side by side.  It was beautiful to watch.  What I learned about Frehiwot’s life was more complex. Here is a beautiful film that shares a bit of her story.  She was inspiring and inspired by our work.  She is illustrating some of our #readysetgo books as well as donating the piece she started in Adama.

A little bit more in her own words; “I have decided to donate the painting I did on the day I met you guys. I was actually painting that painting with your daughter. I named that painting "Fearless". I started doing illustrations for the children book. I am excited about it. In addition, me and my artist friend who was also with me on that day, Tsegaye is working on the book project. I had finished the first draft writing the story. He started by painting first and we are using the material you brought to us, the oil pastel and the sketch book.  I am excited about finishing the book.”

For Frehiwot, art was a healer for her and she now uses art to heal others.  OHBD believes in the power of art to inspire and heal which is why we chose it as an area of focus. We are thrilled to have Frehiwot as part of our global team.

“Read to Mom”, A New OHBD Model Project, by Caroline Kurtz (photo credit: Laura Bond)

In April, Maji Development Center (“MDC”) sent four women leaders to learn how to start women’s self-help co-ops in Maji District, a county-sized area with 6000 families beyond the Ethiopian grid system. The MDC goal is to organize three pilot self-help groups in 2019.
In a district where literacy rates are low even for Ethiopian standards, OHBD is collaborating with MDC to support these women’s dreams for their children. MDC will distribute books to the women in a project called, “Read to Mom”. Studies show that if the parents own the books and have children read to them, it connects literate children with their illiterate parents, and results in surprising surges of success for those children in school.
In Maji, children are taught to read their local language, Dizin, first. In third grade they learn a second language and learn to read another alphabet! MDC will distribute books in both languages. The Ready Set Go collection of colorful books with simple stories and illustrations that show the Ethiopian corner of the world, are delighting parents and children all over Ethiopia. The “Read to Mom” project will give these moms, who are among the most disadvantaged population in Ethiopia, a rare access to resources and support for their children in school. Who knows—maybe some of the moms will also dust off their educations, or even be inspired to learn to read as well!
Shop Our "Ready Set Go" Books!

Keeping It All in the Family Starting at Sips & Songs for Literacy

At our first Sips and Songs at the amazing Efeste Winery, Global Basketball, a regular sponsor, invited parents and coaches to enjoy the sounds of Voodoo Economics, our volunteer band playing music from the 80s.  One parent was April Phillips, mother to twin sons who play basketball for Global.  She is also an artist.  She met Jane Kurtz and the books team.  They shared our early reader project and April signed up to volunteer as an illustrator. 

She has been one of our biggest contributors.  She already illustrated two #readysetgo books including “Only in Ethiopia” and more recently “Let’s Play Football.”  She is now working on getting more artists to volunteer their talents. 

Her sons got involved in supporting recently. They ran two fundraisers.  One was a NCAA tournament pool where they committed to donate one half the proceeds to the winner and the other half to OHBD.  When one of the twins ended up as the winner, he donated his winnings to OHBD for $400 in donations.  They also ran their own Value Village Fundraiser – collecting used clothing, shoes, and household good from local garage sales, dry cleaners and folks moving.  They collected over 2400 pounds filling a U-Haul truck driven by April since the boys aren’t 21 years old yet, raising $438 which their dad Joe committed to matching bringing the total of the second fundraiser to $876 and overall total to $1276.  We so appreciate the Phillips family for their generosity.

Your Support Matters! Here Are Ways You Can Give!
Copyright © *2017 - 2019* *Open Hearts Big Dreams*, All rights reserved.
** *Newsletter Archives*

Our mailing address is:
** *a non-profit organization*

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

This email was sent to <<Email Address>>
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences
Open Hearts Big Dreams Fund · Editor - Sabrina L. Matson · 3518 241st Ave SE · Issaquah, WA 98029 · USA

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp