“Change begins with an idea, a hope, a dream, an individual. It can begin with you.”
                                                                                                                Deepak Chopra

Rising Star Outreach’s mission is to help those afflicted with leprosy experience hope and purpose in their lives,which comes through giving them the gift to change their circumstances.Proper medical care changes the way patients deal with pain and healing brings hope. A small micro-grant significantly changes the mentality of a person who once was a beggar, but now has the opportunity to own a productive business.  As always the gift of education changes our students’ lives in profound ways.
Deepak Chopra suggests, “Change begins with…an individual.”  One of these individuals, Amy Antonelli, has helped lives change for the better at Rising Star Outreach. In the words of Becky Douglas, Founder of Rising Star Outreach,

“No one has done more than Amy Antonelli to create the miracle that has become Rising Star Outreach! She came to us early on when we were still a fledgling organization. She helped define our goals and programs. She brought tremendous talent and enthusiasm. She put in place more professional ways of reaching out to others and getting our message out to the world. Amy had the vision and experience that we needed.  She worked tirelessly and passionately to improve the lives of the leprosy-affected and their children.  She had a particular passion and great love for the children, and guided our programs to improve their education and living conditions.  Many caught her enthusiasm and she oversaw phenomenal growth during her years as our Executive Director.  Rising Star will always have a debt of gratitude to Amy for her vision that helped define who we would become.”

 Amy Antonelli’s hand prints are on many of the programs at Rising Star Outreach, and she has touched hearts throughout the organization. I met Amy six years ago when I brought a group of volunteers to India for our first introduction to Rising Star Outreach. We were nervous to be in a different environment surrounded by new people and situations. But Amy made us feel as if we were old friends. We were immediately immersed into the volunteer program, an incredible participatory and heartwarming experience. (We all wanted to stay forever and be permanent volunteers!)
Amy’s passion endeared us to Rising Star Outreach and was so contagious that I brought another 40 volunteers back to Rising Star the following year! How fortunate I am to have been involved in this wonderful organization since that time. Thank you, Amy, for filling so many pages of the Rising Star Outreach story. Your legacy lives on.
Shawn Bradley Golf Event
A ripple affect of the Volunteer Program has been the service of Shawn and Annette Bradley, members of the Board of Directors of Rising Star. Because they were touched by the experience of volunteering with their family, Shawn and Annette continue ‘paying it forward.’ On Tuesday, September 16th Shawn will host the 5th Annual Shawn Bradley Golf Invitational at the beautiful Red Ledges golf course in Heber City, Utah.
Visit the website for information and bring your friends and co-workers or get your business to sponsor a hole or foursome.  If you’re not a golfer, come to the President’s Brunch.  “Hope Beyond Stigma” will give the latest information about how Rising Star’s reach is expanding throughout Tamil Nadu and how you can continue to be a vital part of Rising Star’s mission this coming year.  Tickets are available online August 18th! 
Rising Star Blog
The Rising Star Blog is a great way to stay connected by reading stories and updates about the programs Amy helped establish. I want to personally invite you to visit it often.
Rebecca Young, India Sponsorship Program Director, shares frequent updates about the students, their parents, and other happenings at Rising Star. You can read personal stories and blogs from volunteers and how their lives have been changed through their experiences. You can meet Change Agents like Maurine Westover and see photos of how these Change Agents are enriching the lives of many—especially their own! Best of all you can view the latest photos and videos of the students!
Rising Star Micro-Grants
Dr. Vijayalakshmi, Social Worker at Rising Star, recently shared this beautiful story and photos of Raman and his wife.
“Raman, aged 65 years, lives in Venkatapuram. He and his wife have been affected by leprosy for nearly 40 years. For the past 12 years, he has had a petty shop inside his house, which consists of a small hall. He used to display the snack items and provisions on the floor to sell. He found it very difficult to keep more products due to the small place. So he got less income and profit.
 Rising Star gave a grant of Rs 10,000 (about $160). Raman purchased an iron shelf and was able to purchase (and sell) more products from the wholesale shop to display on the shelves. Because he is able to purchase more supplies for his business, he is able to take care of his wife’s medical expenses.” 

Dr. Vijayalakshmi
I have witnessed the miracles of the micro-grant program when many have shared their stories about a tailoring business, a small snack shop, a barbershop, making pearl jewelry, or selling small packaged spices. When asked about how it feels to be able to support their families, their faces light up and the responses always center around the sense of dignity they have as a contributing members of society. The list of businesses goes on and on and it’s inspiring to see the blessing of a simple grant. Rising Star is grateful for Dr. Vijayalakshmi and her team for their part in lifting lives through the micro-grant program.
Becky Douglas and Padma Venkatraman

Change certainly begins with “…an idea, a hope, a dream, an individual” as it did many years ago with Becky Douglas and Padma Venkatraman. The ripple effect of their efforts has blessed thousands of lives. Thank you for being part of these waves of giving from that drop of a small pebble so many years ago. We couldn’t do it without your support!

With gratitude, 
 Sally Gardner Read
President, Rising Star Outreach

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