Over 150 people donated to Project 1 in Barrio Blanco. Our pledge to donors is not to share their information with others without permission. It is impractical to ask all 150 for their permission to use their name here. Almost all donors have written to express their pleasure with the project. Others sent checks, and read some of our updates, and didn’t correspond…just watched things unfold. Everyone 100% was happy with how we used their money. Also, 100% of beneficiaries were thrilled. It’s hard to please 100% of any large group. We did.
Whose “testimonials” should we print here? Every donation was used, every donor was needed, every donor was valuable.
Possibly the best person to ask “is it true?” is Randi Bjornstad from the Eugene Register Guard newspaper. Randi wrote an excellent article about our project published Nov. 13, 2011 before even breaking ground. I never knew Randi before this publication. She was so intrigued, and I’m sure wanted to verify, so in March 2012 Randi came to Barrio Blanco with Paul Carter, Register Guard photographer to check things out first hand. They were greeted at the barrio entrance by around 40 residents of the barrio holding up a welcoming sign for them and a great round of applause. Then the people opened their hearts and homes to Randi and Paul. They spent their entire week immersing themselves in the culture of Barrio Blanco, and saw who we were helping and how. They saw the barrio at work. They got to know several residents on a personal basis. Randi and Paul, and various residents were sad when they left. Their second article about Barrio Blanco was published Easter Sunday, 2012, and took the entire front page of the Register Guard and most of 2 more pages. These are the links to the two articles:
Register Guard article November 2011
Register Guard article April 2012
Michel Zaleski is a philanthropist involved in helping others world-wide. He is also President and Chairman of The Dream School which provides education to poor children in 6 other communities in Northern Dominicana. In late spring, Michel visited Barrio Blanco in the midst of our building. A week later he sent a generous donation. Michel again visited the barrio in November…after we finished Project 1. He just multiplied his donation for Project 2 by 2 1/2 times. Here is Michel’s quote on Nov. 13th, 2012:
“Hi, went there this morning and blown away by what you have accomplished. Took lots of pics, spoke to many residents, who are so proud, and spent time in the Montessori class. It’s a fabulous space. Extremely well designed and flexible. Incredible accomplishment. But there is more to do!”
Everyone who has visited has said the same things in their words.
Will you become part of this wonder of people helping people?
Following are people who had donated to Project 1, have already pledged very generous support for Project 2, and have given me their permission to be references. Most have visited the barrio and become more and more involved with their hands, hearts and wallets. I have pictures of some of these donors visiting the barrio:
LaDonna and Bob Vigil
LaDonna with Daniella.
Gene after dog attack.
Roger and Robin Best
Ray and April King
Vince and Debbie Marcus
Debbie and Daniella.
Rick and Betsy Bronson
Del and Lunita Hawkins
Julie with ChiChi and Leandro.
The beneficiaries’ testimonials are best said with pictures. We had a Fiesta Celebration on Sept. 28th marking our completion of Project 1 that included a Key Ceremony where we called family names to come forward to receive the keys to their new homes. Several presented me with plaques.