“Quiet is peace. Tranquility. Quiet is turning down the volume knob on life. Silence is pushing the off button. Shutting it down. All of it.”
                                                             ― Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner

In May the Rising Star Outreach campus is quieter than usual because the students, teachers, and some of the staff have returned to their homes for summer break. As the writing of Mr. Hosseini indicates, this break gives the students and the employees of Rising Star Outreach an opportunity to “[turn] down the volume knob of life” while spending time with their families, enjoying free reading time, and socializing with friends.

IMG_1178.JPGAlthough the laughter and squeals of happy children are absent this month, other sounds are heard on the campus. This is the time given to much needed maintenance of the hostels, the classrooms, and other buildings. Can you imagine the fingerprints of 240 students that dot the walls of the school and the hostels! A big thank you to the staff who continue working in May to oversee this work and take care of other important tasks for the continuous upkeep and care of the campus.

Another exciting development over the past few months is the groundbreaking of the new Ron and Joyce Hanson Girls’ Hostel. With an expanding school we’ve felt growing pains and subsequently the number of students a housemother cares for has dramatically increased. Having a “family” of 23-24 students is not optimal for the students or the housemother. (Because many of the students live away from their families for about ten months of the year, we divide them into family units, much like a traditional family with the older girls/boys helping with the younger children and a housemother overseeing and caring for those in their ‘family.’)

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Photo of the rendering of the hostel by Laura Cunningham
To honor the incredible service, dedication, and resources Ron and Joyce Hanson have given to Rising Star Outreach over the past 15 years, we are proud to name the new hostel the Ron and Joyce Hanson Girls’ Hostel. Construction will continue over the summer and into the fall and will be ready for use at the beginning of November 2015. It is remarkable that Rising Star Outreach continues giving more and more students the opportunity to have a quality education. Another big thank you to Ron and Joyce and all the generous donors for sharing their resources with Rising Star.

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Jeri Colton at Rising Star
In March a successful Rising Star Outreach event was held in Atlanta, Georgia at the home of Jeri and Steve Colton. Jeri volunteered during the Women to Women Session in January. She was deeply impressed by the effectiveness of the programs and wanted to get involved in the work of Rising Star Outreach. Board members Hugh and Ellen Morton, Mark and Christine Cronquist, Teresa Claugus, and Jeri invited a group of friends and acquaintances to learn more about supporting the mission of Rising Star Outreach.


Brooke Hunter, Barbara Snider, and Sharon Thompson were in attendance. They were part of the five women, who years ago had gathered around the kitchen table of Becky Douglas to start Rising Star Outreach. Sadly, Gillian Mason had passed away a few months earlier, and Becky Douglas is still serving in the Dominican Republic. They were missed at the event, but Brooke, Barbara, Sharon, Gillian, and Becky were honored by those in attendance for planting those first seedlings of hope, support, and love to begin the organization of Rising Star Outreach. Because of their vision, thousands of lives have been changed for the better.

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Adrienne and Kelly Cohen, Rising Star Outreach President Sally Read, Marci and Del Tanner (Former Chairman and Board Member of Rising Star Outreach)

Special guest recording artist, Bianca Merkley (www.biancamerkley.com) shared her music during the event and touched the hearts of everyone with her beautiful and poignant song, “Grateful.” Ember Hobi, who has volunteered with Rising Star Outreach several times over the years, used this song to make an inspirational video about Rising Star Outreach’s medical work. Little did Bianca know how meaningful her lyrics would be to those who have participated in the volunteer program.

Jean Shifrin in India

Another special guest at the event in Atlanta, photographer Jean Shifrin, was honored for her incredible service to Rising Star Outreach. Jean has traveled to India many times and her beautiful photography is featured on the Rising Star Outreach website, in brochures, and in much of the informational materials sharing the work of the organization. Her photography is inspiring and these photos have chronicled countless tender moments in the history of Rising Star Outreach. I can’t imagine what Rising Star Outreach would have done without Jean’s photos! Thank you, Jean.

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Hostess Jeri Colton, Marci Tanner, and Heather Greenburg

I express my sincere appreciation to Steve and Jeri Colton, Bianca, and to all in Atlanta that opened their hearts and wallets for the continued support and expansion of Rising Star Outreach.

A big thank you for the continued assistance we receive from YOU, our many supporters and donors, and for keeping Rising Star in your thoughts each month!

Maybe this month of May we can ‘turn down the volume knob of life’ and enjoy ‘quiet moments’ of introspection and appreciation for the reawakening of nature around us – the colorful blossoms and the buds on the trees and experience peace and gratitude for the beauty that surrounds us.


Rising Star Outreach

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