This blog was written by Angela Blankenship, who teaches third grade at St. Luke School.
St. Luke School, Columbus, GA. Photo c: HKI/Angela Blankenship
St. Luke School is a faith-based school in Columbus, Georgia, of about 560 students from kindergarten through eighth grade. Serve, Lead, Share in mind, body, and spirit was the school’s theme for the 2012-2013 school year.
Through this Serve, Lead, Share focus, each grade level chose an organization to support for one month. It was hard for each grade level to decide which organization they would like to support. However, it was exciting for the third grade class because St. Luke’s third graders participate in an interdisciplinary unit of study of Helen Keller.
This blog is written by Peggy O’Neill, HKI’s Vice President of Development, Individual Giving.
Seeing world renowned television journalist and HKI champion, Brian Williams back on air last night with the return of Rock Center, reminded me of this year’s Spirit of Helen Keller Gala.
Today is the birthday of Helen Keller, one of the greatest American heroes. I am always amazed by how much she accomplished during her life. She never let her blindness or deafness get in the way of her goals. Chief among those was being a voice for those who were less fortunate than she was, but her vision was not confined to those who were blind or deaf. She wanted to help all who were vulnerable, a legacy that Helen Keller International continues today in her name.
I’ve often wondered how Helen experienced New York City and I was given that opportunity at the immersive interactive show called Dialog in the Dark. All participants are given a white cane and walk in total darkness through several New York settings. Our group’s guide was himself blind. We wandered through “Central Park” and heard more clearly the songs of birds and the ripple of water. In a grocery store, our senses of smell and touch were heightened as we tried to find fruits and vegetables. It was fun and stimulating.
The famous social activist talks about the importance of vitamin A
Shopping at my local supermarket this morning, imagine my surprise when I spotted Helen Keller! I debated whether I should bother her – because most celebrities like to be left alone – but decided I had to go up and introduce myself. Not only is my organization, Helen Keller International (HKI), named after her, but she is also a personal hero of mine.
I caught up with her in the vegetable aisle and asked her why she was shopping so early on a Sunday morning. She was beyond gracious, encouraging me to call her Helen instead of Ms. Keller. “I am making a sweetpotato pie for dessert tonight,” she explained, “I’ve invited some friends over for dinner to introduce them to the great work that HKI is doing, and wanted to show them how delicious vitamin A can be.”
An interview with HKI's Program Manager for Neglected Tropical Disease Control
In honor of World Water Day, I am highlighting Helen Keller International’s Program Manager for Neglected Tropical Disease Control, Emily Toubali. One of her responsibilities it to manage our Trachoma Control Programs, a major component of which is promoting face-washing and proper sanitation to prevent this blinding disease. I recently sat down with Emily and asked her about her background, what drew her to the career she has today, and why water is so important to global health.
Tags: Emily Toubali, Lymphatic Filariasis, Mali, Neglected Tropical Diseases, Niger, Sierra Leone, Trachoma, Water and Sanitation
Categories Africa, Helen Keller, Preventing Blindness, Staff Profiles
An interview with HKI's Senior Program Manager for Nutrition and Health
I often wonder how people actually get to live their dreams. I sat down recently with Jennifer Nielsen, Senior Program Manager for Nutrition and Health for Helen Keller International, and discovered someone who has actually done just that. Here is Jennifer’s story:
Tags: Acute Malnutrition, Breastfeeding, Burkina Faso, Complementary Feeding, Essential Nutrition Actions, Food Security, Homestead Food Production, Jennifer Nielsen, Maternal Nutrition, Nepal, Niger, Sweetpotatoes, Tanzania
Categories Africa, Helen Keller, Reducing Malnutrition, Staff Profiles
An interview with HKI's Vice President and Regional Director for Africa
Since Shawn Baker recently blogged about his experiences traveling with NY Times Columnist Nicholas Kristof, we thought it would be a good time to get to know Helen Keller International’s VP and Regional Director for Africa a little better. I sat down with Shawn who told me of a moving experience he had that helped determine the course of his life and his 29-year career as a leader in public health.
How this marine biologist got into public health: “What most people don’t know about me is that I’m supposed to be a marine biologist. I grew up watching too many Jacques Cousteau documentaries and studied marine biology at University. My foray into international development work started out as a two-year hiatus as a Peace Corps volunteer in what was then Zaïre (now Democratic Republic of Congo), which has ended up being a 29-year hiatus. It just shows the impact a life-changing experience can have.
HKI’s Spirit of Helen Keller Gala a Smashing Success
This post was written by Peggy O’Neill, Vice President of Development, Individual Giving.
Herbs from Provence, a Hollywood legend, and vitamin A. What do they have in common? All took center stage on Tuesday, May 24th at Helen Keller International’s sixth annual Spirit of Helen Keller Gala.
Over 300 guests filled the Grand Ballroom at the Pierre Hotel on Tuesday, May 24th to support HKI’s programs to prevent blindness and reduce malnutrition and celebrate our honorees, Reader’s Digest Partners for Sight Foundation (PFS) and Reinold Geiger, CEO of L’OCCITANE en Provence. Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, we raised a remarkable $825,000 for HKI’s sight-and life-saving programs! And donations are still coming in!
An interview with HKI's Senior Vice President of Programs
Have you ever heard the saying, “You are what you eat?” In working for Helen Keller International, I’ve come to realize that this simple adage can mean different things to different people. In America, we often say it when we’re talking about losing weight. In developing countries, this simple phrase becomes a powerful reminder of the life and death impact nutrition can have on the lives of millions of people, especially young children. No one understands the importance of nutrition better than Dr. Victoria Quinn, HKI’s Senior Vice President of Programs. I met with Victoria recently to learn more about her background in nutrition and her views on the importance of nutrition on world health.
Tags: Bangladesh, Behavior Change, Essential Nutrition Actions, Food Security, Gardens, Homestead Food Production, Maternal Nutrition, Victoria Quinn
Categories Africa, Asia-Pacific, Helen Keller, Reducing Malnutrition, Staff Profiles
An interview with HKI's Vice President and Regional Director for Asia-Pacific
Have you ever met anyone who has visited and worked in over 50 countries and lived in Zaïre, Niger, Cambodia, Vietnam, The Philippines, Cameroon, Senegal and the U.S.? We have, and it’s our Vice President and Regional Director for Asia-Pacific, Nancy J. Haselow. I recently asked Nancy to tell us about her career in public health, and found someone who is not only an inveterate traveler, but also a tireless crusader for improving the lives of as many vulnerable people as possible.
Tags: Cambodia, Cameroon, Gardens, Homestead Food Production, Nancy Haselow, Niger, Onchocerciasis, Philippines, Senegal, Surveillance, Vietnam, Vitamin A
Categories Africa, Asia-Pacific, Helen Keller, Preventing Blindness, Reducing Malnutrition, Staff Profiles, United States