Welcome to Send US to INDIA 2011!

Send US to INDIA (SU2I) 2011
Dates of Travel:
July 17-30, 2011

Welcome to our Send US to INDIA page!

We are Franay, Mireya, Crystal, Jessica, Jose, Katy, Karina and Kenya. We are eight youth from Norte Vista High School in Alvord Unified School District who went to India this summer as representatives of Child Leader Project and youth leadership in Alvord.

This page will be come the page for our blog and updates-- while we are there and what we are doing next to bring the experience back home! Check back for updates from us on your journey!

Send Us to India: Six Months of Preparation in Photos

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Post from Cheng: We Shall Not Cease (from SU2I)

"We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring

Will be to arrive where we started

And know the place for the first time."

We Shall Not Cease, from (Little Gidding) - T.S. Elliot

"How was India?"
"Did you enjoy it?"

"What was difficult about the experience?"

In a few days, I will be returning to the U.S. and will undoubtedly be asked these questions and, truthfully, I am unsure about how to answer them truthfully. This journey has been more than just the two weeks spent with the SU2I team in July, but rather a process that has slowly unfolded over the past year.

My journey with CLP began one day in October 2010 when I received an email advertising about the opportunity to intern with a local non-profit organization. Having just returned from a year studying abroad, I was itching to attach myself to something in order to give some sense of routine in a hectic point of my life. I remembered seeing Samantha give a presentation to a class I was in two years prior just as she had begun CLP and felt that maybe it would be a good experience for my senior year. Little did I know how much CLP and everyone in it would change my life for the better.

From the beginning, I was interested in being part of the Send US to India coordinating team because it bridged the gap between both CLP USA and TYCL. With Samantha and Serkadis as partners, we embarked on a journey to realize our vision of seeing local Riverside high school students traveling to India and sharing their experiences as youth leaders while learning from their brothers and sisters.

To do this, we (with the support and love of countless family members, organizations, community members, friends, and neighborhoods) managed to fundraise $24,000 to support the youth on their journey. From January to June 2011, everyone in CLP and beyond worked tirelessly to fundraise, spread awareness, and prepare for the trip. For the last seven months, mentors and supporters in the U.S. and India have worked constantly, struggled, laughed, learned, and loved to make SU2I possible. Now, at the end of my journey, I can only wonder in amazement at this experience. No words or pictures could do it justice.

I leave India fuller than when I arrived and with more brothers and sisters than I could ever have imagined. When I pause to think about it, the truth is quite simple: every day there are countless people on the opposite side of the globe and thousands of miles away who are passionately working on a similar vision. The SU2I youth are committed to bringing back their experiences to Riverside and the Inland Empire, especially at their high school. Our struggles have only granted us more ideas and visions for the future of CLP and SU2I, which will undoubtedly continue to grow and expand.

While on a trip through Munnar and its beautiful greenery, I was hit by a wave of emotions that made me tear up. Here I was traveling in India through the most beautiful place I have ever set eyes on. Here I was having the amazing experience in India and feeling intense gratitude for everyone that supported us throughout it all. Here I was about to move on from this moment in my life. These last seven months have been truly... awe inspiring if nothing else.

Thank you CLP and SU2I 2011 supporters. Thank you mentors and youth. Thank you India. I will see you again.

With love, gratitude, and blessings,
Cheng (Bang)

Friday, July 29, 2011

Day 12: Going Away Party and Top Ten Realizations in India

Day 13: Going Away Party / Happy 3rd Birthday CLP!

At our going away party, the youth leaders presented their "Top 10 Realizations" in India to the CLP-USA and TYCL-India mentor teams.

  1. Hospitality and Trust: We value the hospitality we have been shown in India and we hope to bring that back to the USA.
  2. High Pride in Culture: Indians value their traditions and culture-- we wish this is something we held more highly in the USA.
  3. The Value of Education: Education is valued and appreciated here by our peers far more than we appreciate it in the USA.
  4. Significance of Community and Non-Profit Organizations: We have met many organizations and non-profits during our time here and have realized the important role of non-profits in making change in their communities.
  5. Importance of Women's Rights: We had an opportunity to meet with a women's empowerment organization and learn about efforts by women to make change in the world and we want to value and promote that more in the USA.
  6. Modesty and Manners are a MUST: Although we were afraid at first, we have enjoyed behaving in a way appropriate to our Indian community and to show our respect in our clothing and actions.
  7. India is Portrayed Differently: The popular movies about India are not exactly accurate-- there is a different India than the one portrayed in our news and our movies.
  8. A Belief in the Perfect Society: We have met many people here working hard to create a different world and we are inspired by their examples.
  9. Bus Rides are Legitimate: We love riding buses in India. Why can't they be just as fun in the USA?!
  10. Don't Stress! This is our greatest lesson from our USA and Indian mentors. When we go with what comes and respond to what comes, we all learn more and have more fun.

Post from Mireya: Rights for Girl Children and Dalits in India

Day 11

Today we had the opportunity to spend lunch with a very inspiring woman, Shanti. She cooked lunch for us and it was the best rice I had eaten in India. I might have liked it so much because it wasn’t too spicy. We ate lunch in a new building (still under construction) they were making for the organization Solidarity for Women. She told us that this was the first time they had a meeting in their new building, so that really made me happy to know that we were the first to be in there.

Their vision is to promote and protect gender justice for the human dignity and the right of children, adolescents and women. There mission was to provide them with education in means of clubs, groups, and other several activities to provide future involvement. She also explained to us that they provide women a job were they are able to learn various things like how to create cement brick-blocks and how to use the machines used to make them. Shanti explained that it provided them with a job in the future so that they would have something to be living off of.

After lunch with Shanti we had gone to another office for Social Awareness Society for Youths (SASY) (http://sasy.org.in/) and a leader in the organization, Ramesh Nathan, provided us with several information about the Dalits and what their organization did and provided for the Dalits after the tsunami in 2005. They had all given us some tea and cookies while he gave the presentation which personally I loved. If it weren’t for that presentation I would have never known that there was great organizations out there that had a mission to facilitate all efforts towards establishing a just society for human dignity by protecting and promoting the human rights of Dalits and tribes, fostering Dalit empowerment.

I had learned a lot from both Shanti Ma'am and Ramesh Nathan Sir and was really inspired on how they do anything and provide great organizations that help people here in South India. At the end of the day I really appreciated their great welcoming in wanting to speak to us and teach us more about their organizations and what they do.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Day 10 in Pictures: Day trip to Mahablipuram

26 July 2011

Today the CLP-SU2I Team took our SU2I "School" Bus to Mahablipuram, along the East Coast Road of India. Mahablipuram (or Mamallapuram) is a United Nations World Heritage Site and a fantastic example of ancient architecture and story-telling in India. Here are some of the photos from our experience!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Post from Kenya: What's your mission?

Sunday July 24 2011 -Monday July 25

This weekend in Bangalore we had the opportunity to spend time with the children from K.S. Garden "Slum."

My group, “S-Squared” had the experience to pick up the children from their home. Note that these children live in the slums, in which most of the community is unaware of. In my participation I noticed that most of feedback I received from the community within the slums was a feeling of acceptance. Even though we where complete strangers, my heart was joyful when the reply was a smile, or a simple gesture of welcome. With a limited amount of space in their community, it was clear that everyone was helping each other.

Our agenda that day was to spend it with the children at St. Joseph College in Bangalore. On our journey there, two of the little boys I was walking with asked me where I was from, what was my mission (mission means what career are you interested in), and what was my view on India.

I responded with: “I am from the U.S., I don’t know exactly what my mission is yet I can be many things, and that I think it is a beautiful place.”

I asked him the same questions, and he said he had three options, either a magician, engineer, or singing, he really likes singing. He said, “India, very dirty, and the U.S. is Clean.” He was surprised when I said that the U.S, was not all clean only certain parts.

Both children were so talkative, which made me feel so comfortable and open to conversation. At one point when we were crossing the street it humored me when these children told me, “We are such a handful”. But what really opened my eyes was when he said that, “we may be small, but we all help each other no matter what”. My realization was that even though these children were limited to many resources, much of which is taken for granted by others around the world. They still keep their head up, and are thankful for the gift of life and their family. When it comes to education it is not taken for granted and used to the best of their ability.

I see these children as a strong inspiration. Their journeys have been long and hard, and yet the rest is still to come and I know that with their dedication they will become the best that they can be.

Once we came back from Bangalore on Monday we had a day with no events for the first time! This made me miss being busy, and understand the concept of using your time wisely. We had a fun day at the beach and saw that the day went by faster when we were occupied during the day. By far the weekend was significant and educational.

Our All Group, Child Leader Project/TYCL Photo:

CLP-USA Mentors and Youth Leaders (14 total), TYCL-Pondicherry mentors (8 total) and Bangalore (8 total) and 47 Child Leaders from KS Garden Slum

Post from Samantha: Integration and Integrity

Day 8: Bangalore, Karnataka
c.1450, "wholeness, perfect condition," from O.Fr. integrité, from L. integritatem (nom. integritas ) "soundness, wholeness," from integer "whole" (see integer). Sense of "uncorrupted virtue" is from 1548.
As many of you know, I can be pretty wordy. This has proven to be a positive and negative characteristic. Thus, when people ask what I think CLP ultimately aims to do, and I say “human liberation and wholeness,” it isn't totally unexpected.

Human liberation and wholeness includes an integrated life. A life where our love and our work and our family and our lives align in feeling, thought and outward manifestation. When we move from a life of “labor” to “leader” we're moving from a mentality of control to a mentality of change.

I'm working towards integration. I'm working towards integrity. And integration and integrity was the theme of this recent trip to Bangalore.

First of all, we took 22 people on two private vans on a 6-hour overnight drive from Pondicherry to Bangalore. 14 of these people were USA volunteers-- 8 youth and 6 young adults. Alongside them were 8 CLP-TYCL India leaders from Pondicherry-- young men who have spent the last year building the organization (Trust for Youth and Child Leadership) in Pondicherry, South India.

Saturday morning found all 22 of us in the Don Bosco Center in central Bangalore. Don Bosco is a powerful figure to me and I've had many run-ins with his present-day manifestations: a partner in Chennai working in slums to the Saint for the largest Catholic Church in a city in Mexico where I once stayed for CLP programming. Saint Bosco was a youth-organizing saint. He was loved by young people, having once said “Being young is reason enough to love you.” Thus, CLP arriving at Don-Bosco-Anything is a good opportunity to follow in his footsteps.

First Point of Integration: Water Justice from California to Karnataka

Upstairs we found a large circle of chairs and several representatives of The People's Campaign for Water, Bangalore. The leader, Prabhakar, and I had been talking over Skype and email for the passed four months, sharing information about water justice work in Bangalore and California. After introductions, I gave a half hour overview of the Human Right to Water campaign in California (currently AB685). There was a very active question and answer, a sharing of CLP-TYCL and a friendly goodbye.

Second Point of Integration: Representatives of CLP Riverside, Pondicherry and Bangalore...All in One Room

After lunch, we met with the CLP/TYCL Bangalore team at Saint Joseph's College of Arts and Sciences. This was an incredible moment for me: 14 USA leaders (youth and young adult), 8 Pondicherry leaders and several Bangalore representatives from the college and CLP all in one room.

I have to admit-- it caught me off-guard. Was this really happening? Had the CLP world folded in on itself?

Yes it had. And thank God it did.

What does it mean for all these groups to come together? It means that three sets of people from three different locales worked very hard to get to one place in a common struggle to cultivate relationships. Embracing all the complexity of whatever it means to “unite” people and build relationships. I have no illusions about the “joy” and “rainbows” of human unity-- I know unity is complex and dirty and messy and painful. Perfect is in the imperfect. Relationships are beautiful for their resilience and their fragility.Relationships take work and they require that we see beyond our immediate day-by-day tasks to the larger vision.

Like the story about the stonecutters. Once upon a time, there was a traveler who came upon three individuals working with stone. Curious as to what the workers were doing with the stones, the traveler approached the first worker and asked, “What are you doing with these stones?” Grumpily and without hesitation the worker quickly responded, “I am a stonecutter and I am cutting stones.”

Not satisfied with this answer, the traveler approached the second worker and asked, “What are you doing with these stones?” The second worker paused for a moment, sighed, but smiled a little and then explained, “I am a stonecutter and I am trying to make enough money to support my family.”

Having two different answers to the same question, the traveler made his way to the third worker and asked, “What are you doing with these stones?” The third worker stopped what he was doing, bringing his chisel to his side. He looked at the traveler with a beaming smile on his face and declared, “I am a stonecutter and I am building a cathedral.” Relationships are like that.

Third Point of Integration: Century of the Small

In the evening, Prabhakar met Shiva and I at our hostel to share more of thoughts about child and youth organizing. He reminded us of two important, complicated things: (1) the hypocrisy of neutrality and (2) the necessity of big. I struggle with both of these things. (A) I don't think of CLP as a “neutral” organization, but I know the temptation, particularly in the midst of building a broad base of support in a very diverse community. And I question the very foundation of “neutral”-- neutral only represents unthreatening, unchallenging implicit statements of support for the dominant narrative. Neutral is not really neutral, it can often be complacent. I don't find CLP to be this way.

As to the necessity of big. That one settles weird on my stomach. Arundhati Roy, a famous Indian activist and writer galore wrote in an essay that this century could be the century of the small:

“It's possible that as a nation we've exhausted our quota of heroes for this century, but while we wait for shiny new ones to come along, we have to limit the damage. We have to support our small heroes. (Of these we have many. Many.) We have to fight specific wars in specific ways. Who knows, perhaps that's what the twenty-first century has in store for us. The dismantling of the Big. Big bombs, big dams, big ideologies, big contradictions, big countries, big wars, big heroes, big mistakes. Perhaps it will be the Century of the Small. Perhaps right now, this very minute, there's a small god up in heaven readying herself for us. Could it be? Could it possibly be? It sounds finger-licking good to me.”

On this night, as all the CLP leaders go to sleep in one city... and others rest in Pondicherry and Riverside, I stay awake wondering about the small and the integrity of the small. I wonder about the small upon the small upon the small. I wonder how they integrate.

And all that small stuff, all that stone cutting, is actually quite a big thing, isn't it?

I can see the cathedral already.

-Samantha Wilson, Executive Learner CLP

Friday, July 22, 2011

Post from Shiva: Pondicherry University Social Work Department

Day 7
I am very happy happy to write this blog about Pondicherry university visit with all our SU2I team.

We went and met Dr. Nalini, Head, Department of Social Work. She gave brief orientation about the Department and University. We had very good interaction program with Master of Social Work students as they shared about their Rural Camp experience and Field Work experience with our CLP & TYCL team. Ms. Samantha honored all the facilities of the Department.

I am very glad all our youths and mentors had a very good interaction with MSW students, which exhibits the USA and India Social Change Works .

Then we moved to next class where we met a new batch of MSW students and attended class with them on the topic of Life Experience & Community Based Coastal Disaster Management by Dr. C. Satheesh Kumar. It was nice to spend time with USA and Indian students in one room. We met all the faculties and had interaction with them and took group photo with them as well as conveyed our great and strong gratitude to all the Faculties and University people.

We had a typical North and South Indian Lunch at University Canteen at our University. I can able to observe that some of the youth really like Thanthuri Chicken. It was fun.

It was my dream to show my university, faculties and department to all the SU2I team , because this is the place where I raised and get involved in Academic and Social Change work with various organizations in India.

-MDS Shiva, Executive Learner of TYCL (CLP INDIA)

Post from Franay: Public, Private, California

Day 5

Part of CLP-USA's programming is to directly interact with youth from CLP-India's community. Two days ago, we visited a public Indian High School were we received our very first exposure to the Indian School system. Today, we were given the opportunity to interact with students and faculty of a Private Indian high school located within Pondicherry, India. To our surprise there weren't as many differences between a public & private school building in India. As a student in America, I took constant notes on what seemed familiar and what did not.

There are many more similarities and differences between the three school facilities, but ironically the rest of the youth and I cannot think of one similarity between Veda Public High School, in Pondicherry, Tamil Nadu, and Norte Vista High School, in Riverside, California.

Despite the differences within our school systems/facilities, I believe that during our hour (or two) of genuine interaction and question-&-answer time with the students, the Indian students learned a lot from the CLP/SU2I youth/mentors and “American” traditions, and, simultaneously, we as well were granted with an abundance of information related to Indian culture, society, education and youth concerns/actions.

Post from Candice: The Path to Freedom

Krishna was not named Krishna at birth. Krishna was born named somebody else from some place else. Great Britain to be exact. Krishna claims he had an epiphany at nineteen. An awakening that told him Auroville is where he needed to be.

Auroville is a purposefully designed society near Pondicherry with the lofty intentions of being utopia. Aurovillians follow the teachings of philosopher, Sri Aurobindo, combined with the founder, Mirra Alfassa aka The Mother’s, ideals. A place without rules, it is believed Auroville can exist peacefully as long as people leave controversial life practices such as religion, politics, and capitalism outside the town’s entry gates. I wanted to see this place where life was perfect and after watching the welcome video, immediately wanted to leave.

If utopia is a place that contradicts itself, then Auroville is not for me. It is said to be a place without rules, yet there are plenty of rules Auroville residents must abide by in order to reside there. For instance, religion is not allowed, however, all Aurovillians must follow The Mother’s belief systems and teachings – sounds like a rule to me. I had thought Auroville was a place where one comes to live how ever they wish, and to discover the opposite was a let down.

But then I met a man named Krishna. Krishna is a 34 year old, permaculture farmer who has lived in Auroville since for fifteen years. He passionately explained how he tries to make his land as self sufficient as possible, even if it means turning human bodily waste into fertilizer. He explained how instead of depleting the soil, his crops return nutrients to it. He explained that as a young adult he realized Auroville was the place he needed to be. It was a moment where his path was so clear, he moved there without question.

Here I am. A woman on search for the life she was meant to lead listening to a man who knew early on who he was, where he was supposed to be, and became exactly that. I watched his body language, the energy with which he moved his arms and changed his expressions as he spoke. Passion. You see, I have been longing to meet someone like him. Someone who lives fearlessly. What had at first seemed to be a wasted trip to a wannabe town evolved into a life altering experience.

“Do your parents think you’re crazy for living here?” I asked.

“No,” he replied, “They are crazy for still living in England.”

The best answer ever.

We left Auroville and went to the beach. I watched from the sidelines as Shiva, Sam, Sara, and Karina ran into the ocean water without reservation. Man, I wanna go in, I thought. What am I gonna do with my purse? I worried. I’m gonna get all wet, I fretted. And then I reminded myself that I was in India on a once in a millennium trip of external and internal liberation. I handed my purse off. Removed my earrings. And dove in. Full length skirt and all. I learned – my watch is water proof.

Auroville may be imperfect. But Krishna has certainly created his own Utopia with in its failed dream. Thanks to Krishna, I can now say, “I have swam in the Indian Ocean and loved every wave of it.”

-Candice Mays, CLP Mentor

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Post from Crystal: Attitudes to Bring Home

Day 3

Our first visit this morning was to Veda Secondary School, a public school that serves many of the students in our partner organizations, Child Collective (CC) and CHILD. Although they school functions for a very poor community, they recently achieved 100% passing scores.

The majority of our visit was spent observing classrooms in small groups and interacting with the children. We noticed that school lessons in India and in the USA had their similarities and differences. These observations not only make us feel grateful for the luxuries we have in our classrooms, but also inspired deep respect for the teachers and the students that we got to meet.

After witnessing these dedicated students and how much more dedication and diligence they had, CLP youth were definitely impressed and know what attitudes to bring home.


  • A correct answer from the student is praised (but in this classroom, applause always occurs when right)

  • Teacher is at the front of the room

  • Students take notes

  • Answers are sometimes said together

  • Respectfully quiet when someone is speaking

  • Numbers are written in English

  • Have an agenda

  • Interactive teaching


  • Boys and girls sit on separate sides of the room

  • Stand up when reciting an answer

  • Answers should be in depth; a couple of words won't suffice

  • Lessons taught in 2 languages: English and Tamil are mixed in

  • Fast paced learning

  • Bench seats instead of desks in a row

  • No computers, projectors, etc.

  • Chalkboard instead of whiteboard, smartboard, etc.

  • Walls are empty

  • Only one light and one fan, both at the front of the room

  • Students volunteer instead of always being chosen

  • Much more respect for teachers


P.S. from Samantha:

The evening was spent with the Child Collective (CC) of Chinna Mudaliayar Chavadi. We spent three hours interacting with children and youth from the village, the same village and home of the TYCL leader, MDS Shiva. Shiva's mom provided tea and snacks to all the children and youth from India and the USA. It was a powerful experience in exchange.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Post from Jessica Adame: Colonies, Parties and PB&Js

Today is Day 2 today. I wake up this morning and it feels like a better day. We have breakfast—I chose PB&J with Indian banannas. Yum!

Then we start our day:

  • We had our first Tamil class (so confusing and hard to get) but it was very fun
  • Did you know that India was also colonized by the French? Well pondicherry was a very important colony to the french. We took a tour around Pondicherry and learned about the relationship between France and India.
  • We went shopping for Indian clothes at FABINDIA! This is not as fun as it sounds. For me it was very frustrating, but the clothes were good.
  • Then we came home and got ready for our Welcome Party with CLP and TYCL (TYCL is the Indian branch of CLP), to get to know each other better. At first TYCL and CLP were sitting on different sides of the room. But after a while of playing fun games we got to know each other better.
  • First we played BINGO and went around asking people questions to get to understand them. We asked about religion, family, food and TYCL/CLP.
  • Then we played charades about how CLP and TYCL work. We had so much fun (Team 2 won!).
After a long day we were all tired but satisfied with what we did today. We had a lot of fun with the TYCL group and had a good time together having laughs and getting to know each other better. By the end of the day we all felt like family and as if we knew each other already even though we are from different sides of the world.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Post from Jose: The Incredible Experience of India (Day 1)

Hello, my name is Jose Barragan I am one of the eight, Send US To India students from Norte Vista high school.

What brought me to Child Leader Project was that this organization touched on issues that are limited in our classrooms, but in CLP they addressed the problem and talked about all aspects of the issue. I joined the SU2I team, because the work that we do, would be more meaningful and it was a great opportunity to travel abroad. I also wanted to meet the other half of of Child Leader Project-- our Indian brothers and sisters who tackle the the same or similar problems in their communities.

Today being our first day in India was a completely new experience. We started off our first day by waking up early and having a breakfast that was locally grown in the area of Pondicherry. This meal consisted of fruits and a less-locally produced “home food” called peanut butter and jelly sandwiches!

After our breakfast we took personal time for about two hours. We then moved on to House Orientation. During orientation we covered many items such as washing clothes, food and showers. Later TYCL (CLP Indian Mentors) came over to our apartment and discussed the formation of a documentary that would occur within the time we are abroad.

The came a great time to interact and see more about CLP India, we took a fifteen minute ride over to Baby Sara's Home. Baby Sara's Home is a orphanage located within the city on Pondicherry that takes in ordinary children as well as less supported children with mental disabilities. While we were there we met with the director of the home then went to observe their community garden. At the community garden SU2I and Indian mentors busted into action and began cleaning up the garden by pulling weeds, raking leaves and picking up trash. We then returned home where we washed up then went to dinner at a multicultural restaurant. Afterward we walked back home (in the monsoon rains!) were we held a SU2I Council to focus on concerns and joys that we might have had on the first day as well as to discuss our next day's schedule. We then retreated to our beds for the night.

Something I have noticed in India from day one was how movies just simply portray this country different from what it really looks like. Some of the challenges I faced from the moment we touched ground here were things like the humidity, the congestion of human traffic as well as vehicle traffic, and homesickness.

All and all, my experience in India on the first day was a little different then what I expected, but nonetheless we still have two weeks to further our experience!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Post from a Parent, Mr. and Mrs. Padilla

We grow up not thinking much about what it takes to be a responsible parent until we become one our selves. I‘m speaking for my self.

As long as I can remember we have been involved on our daughter’s education and activities, sometime it was hard to make time to attend the activities that our kids were involved with-- between my wife and I we had to take turns to make sure that we do the best we can to be there for our kids.

One day after school Kenya told us that there was a meeting downtown for “Child Leader Project.” I didn't know any thing about this group. But, we attended the meeting. I was very skeptical, I guess this is one of the functions that we have as a parent. As the meeting progressed it started to make a lot of sense: bringing youth together to help with the community, show the youth the path to focus in life and to make a better world.

...and my child was interested in doing all these? Why not.

Then one day that Kenya came home and told us that she has chosen to go to India with CLP. I then knew that we had to make every sacrifice to make this happen for our child. We met Samantha and quite frankly the transparency that she and the rest of the young adults reflected made it possible to feel comfortable about letting our daughter go to India and experience a different culture that will help Kenya with her desired on making a difference in the world.

We Love you Kenya and want to tell you on how proud we are. Thank you Sam and the entire CLP team for making this possible.

Mr. and Mrs. Armando Padilla

Friday, July 15, 2011

Post by Samantha Wilson, Executive Learner: Preparations for the youth

Candice, Sara and I arrived in India on July 6th and began early preparations for the youth when they reach on July 16th. From cleaning house, creating posters, confirming calendars and schedules, arranging buses and hostels, food, water and mosquito repellent, it seems like we've been waiting for this day for a long time.

One poster we made hangs on the entry way door:
Take courage friends.
The way is often hard, the path is never clear,
and the stakes are very high.
Take courage.
For deep down, there is
another truth:
you are not alone.
-Wayne Arnason
One of my biggest lessons in this journey? If you ever want to truly learn about human interconnectedness and interdependence, try to raise $23,000 in six months with no budget. This is the quickest way to fully understand how all of our actions and manifestations of our visions and hopes rely on many hands from our community. It takes a village to fundraise eight trips to India. From mentors and their families giving, youth and their families giving, community members and strangers and students giving, organizations and foundations giving, over 150+ people across Riverside helped us reach our goal.

In India, volunteers have organized housing and day trips and visits to schools, centers and organizations. They have given countless hours of their own time as college students and have committed to being present when youth arrive, for welcoming dinners and programs with CLP-India/TYCL youth and children. They will share family photos, tell stories and take the youth for "Mentor-Led Activities" in their homes with their families here locally.

This is how education should be-- mutually transformative, meaningful and relevant and full of reflection, connectedness, dialogue and action.

We look forward to updating you once they arrive. In the meantime, we'll be decorating their rooms, stocking our fridge and eagerly awaiting!

-Samantha Wilson, Executive Learner

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Post from Katy Gutierrez, 10th Grade

Hey All! Just got back from participating with Kenya in the 14th Annual Neighborhood Conference at Cal Baptist University.

Being able to take part in the14th annual neighborhood conference at CBU was such a great pleasure. I hadn't noticed how many people are interested in our community. I love how there is plenty more other than us who are willing to make change in our community. When we spoke to people about our future community garden in the Arlanza community they seemed very eager to take on this project and become a part of a change. Our hope is for all the community, from infants to seniors, to come along and join us as we make a healthier environment.