Here Come the Children!

Today was the much anticipated day of Code 3/Clothe the Kids!  There were actually over 700 children served in Kingman!  There are months and months of work and preparation and fundraising that occurs to make this event a reality.  The Kiwanis club here holds an annual golf outing fundraiser in the summer with the proceeds going to clothe the children.  The hospital and all the major businesses in town contribute towards this event.

It’s very exciting for the children to be given the importance of an escort to the stores of police cars, fire trucks and ambulances, all making as much noise as they possibly can announcing the arrival of the children!!  And when they got off the buses, there was Santa Claus there to greet them.  Many of the children received hugs from Santa.

This year I was paired with an eight year old girl and her five year old brother to shop with.  The little boy asked me right away how much time we had to shop.  I told him we were going to shop until we had everything we intended to buy today.  The brother and sister were very well-behaved and patient as I continuously switched back and forth in focusing on first getting an outfit for the little boy, then his sister, then socks for one, then the other, then shoes and toys, etc.   At each department, I would say, “Pick what you like.”  The little boy was so happy with his t-shirt depicting the personalities from the World Wrestling Entertainment, that everytime we passed a child in the store he knew, he held it up in front of him and proudly showed off his new shirt to his acquaintances.

While I know that there is an emphasis to make sure each child receives a new winter coat, the sister told me they did not need to pick out coats because their caseworker was getting them new coats.  I asked her about this a few times to be very certain this was the case.  On the back of the slips of paper they had with them that listed their clothing and shoes sizes was a handwritten note stating that they each needed socks and shoes.   So with the extra money not spent on coats, both children got to select two pairs of shoes and several packages of socks.

Finally, the children got to each pick out a toy.  The little girl chose a package of trading cards that she was so happy with, she kept kissing the package and saying that she had never had this before today.

Near the checkout counter, we encountered Santa Claus again, who told them he had magic bells (set up in a circle like a tambourine) because when he shook it, a person could not help it but smile.  The little girl was determined to not be overcome by the bells’ magic and put on her most serious face.  She couldn’t hold it, and broke out in a big smile.  Feeling like she wanted to test her ability to withstand the influence of the magic bells, she approached Santa another two and three times determined to maintain her serious expression, but it was for naught; she could not triumph over the power of the magic bells.

I escorted the children to the parent pick-up location, told them how much I had enjoyed shopping with them today and wished them a Merry Christmas and left as they were digging thru their large shopping bag to pull out their toys.

I am grateful that Pa’Ris’Ha Taylor introduced me to such a wonderful volunteer experience.  In the words of Mohandas Gandhi, the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.

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Code 3/Clothe the Kids!

I am participating tomorrow morning in an event here in Kingman called Code 3/Clothe the Kids, which is the major annual charitable event that provides clothes and toys for local children whose families qualify below a certain income level.  It began here eleven years ago on a much smaller scale.  It started as a project with the local police department back in 1999 and the Detective Secretary raised $1473 to provide Christmas for 34 children.  Over the years it has continued to grow and governmental agencies, i.e, police department, fire department, public safety, game and fish, sheriff’s office have joined forces with other civic charitable organizations, Kiwanis, Elks, Toys for Tots, CASA, etc., to combine efforts and expertise to provide for more and more children.

In this way, area businesses are not hit up for multiple donations going towards essentially the same thing.  Impressively, the annual fundraising has grown to the amount of about $45,000.00 along with additional clothing and toy donations.

There are over 550 children participating this year.  Aside from the monies donated, it takes a herd of volunteers to accomplish this.  Last year, Pa’Ris’Ha Taylor approached me to volunteer on this project that she was involved in through the local Kingman chapter of Kiwanis.

Code 3 is a code used by police and emergency responders to convey urgency in responding to a call and to use lights and sirens.  The children are loaded onto several buses and half go to Kmart, the other half to Walmart.  They are escorted by police cars and fire trucks with sirens blaring to those locations.  Once on site, they are paired up with waiting volunteers to assist them with the shopping.  There are easily over 100 volunteers to assist the children.  We usually are given instruction to help them select a winter coat, and various articles of clothing and one toy.  It is very imperative to the organizers that the children get to make their selections as opposed to picking out what their parents instructed them to the night before.

A fellow Kiwanian shared at our last meeting that last year, a little girl was selecting a coat that was obviously a size too big for her.  The volunteer was concerned that the girl was picking out a coat for someone other than herself and asked her about selecting the large size.  The girl replied that she had never had a winter coat before and she wanted to make sure that it would last her at least two years.

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My Town’s Rich History

I spent about an hour and a half today at the Mohave Museum of History and Arts downtown.  I had been in there for programs and meetings but had not taken the time before today to explore all that was in there.  I went to gather ideas to finalize the Kingman-related sculpture I am working on.  Grandmother Pa’Ris’Ha suggested to me to select themes from Kingman’s history that reflects the best and most noble of ideals and endeavors of peoples’ vision for the town’s growth for which to put energy and focus on.  The museum was actually much larger than I expected and they had a good size research library that is considered one of the two finest research libraries in the state.   The library contains approximately 250,000 copies of local newspapers beginning in 1882, 14,000 indexed and digitized photographs of the County, and 15,000 catalogued maps that are available for research.

The librarian pulled for me two volumes of articles, photos, typed and handwritten letters regarding Charles Metcalfe, a very prominent early settler of Kingman (although he was born in Cincinnati, Ohio!), and for whom the park across the street from the museum was named.

There were so many artifacts, period pieces, murals and themed displays from the Haulapai Indian room, displays of Kingman’s famous Andy Devine, to displays and info

Kingman's famous son, Actor Andy Devine

regarding the many mines and ghost towns in the county.  There were on display gold mining equipment and pieces of turquoise mined locally that had been sent to Japan, Germany and Washington State where they were carved into figurines and returned to the museum as donated by a local family.  There were artifacts, maps and information displayed regarding the Kingman Army Airfield which was in operation during WWII.  They had maps indicating were all of the cattle ranches were situated, mining claims.  They had many timelines regarding the history and growth of the railroad, Kingman and the County.

I really felt an appreciation for the enormous effort that went into the collection and the work to maintain it.  I feel like the more I learn and know, that when I am out in the desert, the more I can imagine, sense and relate to the events of times past.  When I go out with some of the old timers of the Mohave County Prospector’s Club on their claim sites digging for gold, I definitely feel like being connected to a historical continuum that spans to present time.

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Students and Robots

Today at my noontime Kiwanis meeting, there was a presentation by the high school

Robot made by Kingman High School students.

Robotics Club. I had read some time back that this local club had achieved very high accolades in putting Kingman on the map as far as robotics go.  Perusing their website, I learned that their team was number 3 in the world!  They stated they were number one in Arizona.  They take their robotics very serious.

What impressed me was that they spoke of having developed a marketing handbook which outlines from start to finish, the process of preparing and giving presentations and even follow up contacts.  They market themselves to the community and businesses for sponsorship and donations.

More impressive than having a very practical and systematic handbook was the fact that the students said that they share this handbook with other teams and assist other teams in many ways so that they may achieve levels of competency and recognition.  It was part of their philosophy.  It wasn’t enough for them to just win competitions; sharing what they have learned with others to enable their success was just as important to them.

They went on to share some of the perks of being in the robotics club; a major one being that colleges and universities are very impressed with future engineering students that participated in robotics in high school.  They shared that an acquaintance of theirs interviewed at an Ivy League school for an engineering program and was questioned why they had not joined the robotics club.  That person was not selected for the program.   Those in the club in the process of interviewing for admittance to university stated the schools are very enthusiastic about their robotics club background.

Members of the Kingman Robotics team in local parade.

And as their website states, “You don’t have to be a ‘nerd’ to be in robotics because there are many other jobs like: yearbook, web design, spirit, organizer, business contact.  The opportunities are limitless!’  

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Rainbows and Double Rainbows

I accompanied Grandmother Pa’Ris’Ha to Home Depot two months ago, when she went to buy many plants to add to her yard and garden.  It was late in the afternoon when we were done and I stepped outside.  Grandmother Pa’Ris’Ha pointed out the vivid rainbow that appeared above Home Depot.  She commented that it was in response to some things she had put in motion, that all was well received.

 

Upper left side of photo shows part of a double rainbow. (c) Photo by Arlene Potash

I kept stepping further and further back from the store in an attempt to achieve the widest possible vantage point to photograph the rainbow.  As much as I have gotten images with my iphone that I am satisfied with, I really had no expectations that I could capture the magnificence of this enormous rainbow.   This one photo shows part of a double rainbow.

While the dictionary defines a rainbow as: “a bow or arc of prismatic colors appearing in the heavens opposite the sun and caused by the refraction and reflection of the sun’s rays in drops of rain,” we know that a rainbow signifies a whole lot more.

Many people are familiar with the biblical reference, And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.” (NIV)

My point is, it seems to always be inspiring to see a rainbow.  It stirs something in one’s soul.  Speaking of stirring, there is a video on YouTube that has not only gone viral, but a group wrote a song about it.  A man with the online name of Hungrybear9562 (Paul Vasquez) shot a three and a half minute video of a double rainbow he was  witnessing. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQSNhk5ICTI He gets very excited and emotional and even cries, he is so emotionally overcome by the experience.  It has been viewed OVER 20 MILLION TIMES.  Then a group made a song from it (at least 17 Million views)  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MX0D4oZwCsA that is now even available on iTunes!  If you want to see the CBSnews interview with hungrybear, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=js6sySAGNS0&feature=related.

There really is a sense of communication from the heavens with the presence of a rainbow.

Rainbow over Hualapai Mountains. (c) photo by Arlene Potash

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My Trochenbrod Roots

This pic I found online looks so familiar, will have to check with my aunt if my father is in this photo.

I am very excited to share that a feature length documentary is coming out soon, it is in post-production regarding Trochenbrod, the small Polish town (shtetl) my father is from.  It no longer exists today as it was annihilated by the Nazis during WWII.  All but 33 of the 5000 inhabitants were murdered.  My father, his sister, Betty, and parents, Ely and Rivka, all escaped, survived and made it to America.  My dad’s one brother wasn’t so fortunate.  While my mother would tell us that she was in two of the concentration camps set up by the Germans, Aushwitz and Bergen Belsen, my father told stories of his family going into hiding.  At one point, they hid in the woods.  They had dug a long, narrow hole in the ground, and hid there for I don’t know how long.  At other times, they would ask the local gentiles if they could hide in their barn.

Betty Gold, my aunt, shares her experiences, traveled back to Trochenbrod, and is part of the documentary soon to be released. (My grandmother is pictured on the wall above her head.)

This one particular time, my father told me, a farmer refused them refuge, and they continued on foot for quite a long distance.  That night they heard a big commotion in the distance, and learned the next day, that the Nazis had been to that farm and demolished the barn and killed everyone on site.

My father told me that he joined forces with the Russian rebellion; he was just a boy at the time.  He did come to this country, speaking fluent Russian, and Polish and Yiddish.  Presently, the only remaining survivor from Trochenbrod in my family is my Aunt Betty.  She traveled to Trochenbrod site, which for a while became part of the Soviet Union but presently is now part of Ukraine.  She is in the documentary.  She is wearing a blue shirt and red and white scarf around her neck.  Later on, she is wearing a khaki hat.

Watch the trailer.  It says that Trochenbrod was the only all Jewish town to exist outside of Israel.  Seemed like a very special place, with everyone knowing everyone else.

When I was in college one year, I traveled with my mother to Israel to attend an International Holocaust Survivor’s Reunion.  We stayed with an older couple, perhaps related, that was also hiding out along with my father’s family.  One day, the Nazis were coming when they were in someone’s house.  Everyone, including all of the children were jumping out the back window and running for the woods. My father, his sister and parents made it to safety in the woods, however, this couple from Israel, their three children didn’t make it and were gunned down.  After the war, they immigrated to Israel.  After so many years of being asked by people if they had children, at some point, they began saying, no, they never had children.

I found a blog entry someone posted regarding my aunt giving a presentation to students at Malone University.  She shares more details about her experience in that post. http://joedresch.wordpress.com/2010/09/23/betty-potash-gold-holocaust-survivor-recounts-horrors-to-malone-students/

The film Everything is Illuminated is based on Trochenbrod.

I read some differences of opinion regarding this film, but I liked it.

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Wellness 101

I recently took a 4 week evening class held at the College called “Wellness 101.”  Its

(c) photo by Arlene Potash

description was “a program of dietary excellence and optimal habits.”  It was taught by, Don Walker, an exercise physiologist and owner of two gyms.  It is affiliated with The Wellness Forum, which is headquartered in Columbus (Worthington) Ohio.  I lived there for ten years and didn’t know they were there!

Basically, the course espouses a plant-based, vegan lifestyle.  I learned in the course that the most comprehensive scientific study ever undertaken (spanning 20 years) researching the connection between diet and health and nutrition and the risk of developing degenerative diseases was a study called The China Study by Dr. Colin Campbell and others.  It is published in a book and can be found at a discount online.  The findings of this study concluded that people who ate the most animal-based foods got the most chronic diseases, and people who ate the most plant-based foods were the healthiest and tended to avoid chronic disease.  In fact, degenerative diseases were referred to as diseases of affluence, because it cost a lot of money to buy many of the things that are the worst for you.

In a video clip we were shown, there was a doctor who took his patient’s blood vials to the lab for workup.  Instead of the tube of blood appearing as a usual liquid, it had an opaque, congealed substance on top.  Alarmed, the doctor went back into the patient’s room and asked him, “What did you eat?”  And the patient replied, “A cheeseburger and milkshake.”

Populations that eat very little animal protein and no dairy are significantly healthier and exhibit significantly less disease.  Dairy and meat are very acidic foods and they drain your body of calcium.  The research also demonstrated that not only can diseases be prevented by adopting a program of dietary excellence, but they can also be reversed.  Simply put, the most important aspect when it comes to health, is what you put in your mouth, which means you have control in this process.

It was very surprising to me to learn that the most virulent cancer-causing component is DAIRY, specifically casein, the dairy protein.  Our bodies just don’t react very well to it.  And isn’t it interesting how we can crave things that we are either allergic to or are the worst for us.

Raw foods deliver dietary excellence

If you can’t give up animal protein in its entirety, they say reducing animal protein intake to ten percent or less will afford you many benefits.  My Elder, Pa’Ris’Ha Taylor, often uses particular foods for their specific frequencies and their effects on the body.

I missed the fourth and last class which was when everyone was bringing in all kinds of vegan prepared foods for everyone to try.  There were people in the class taking it for a second time, because they felt they could still learn more.  I would do the same.

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