Support homeless girls in Kolkata

The school year is beginning in much of the world, and the Bill Cook Foundation has sent more than $30,000 in the last few weeks to support schools and students in Honduras, Kenya, Ethiopia, Laos, and Cambodia.  In a few days, additional funds will be sent to the Philippines.  We very much need to replenish our treasury to prepare for the start of school in other parts of the world that do not operate on the school calendar we are all familiar with.  For example, we are looking for sponsors for very poor and homeless girls in Kolkata (Calcutta) to attend Sealdah school (the school years begins January 1). The school is located only four blocks from Saint Teresa of Kolkata’s Motherhouse and tomb. For about $600, one girl can study for a year and receive all she needs, which may include housing and food. 

Sponsors will receive periodic reports about and messages from the girl they support.  Please think about sponsoring or organizing a group to sponsor one of these wonderful girls.  Right now, the whole USA only sponsors 3; we hope that our Foundation can sponsor 15 girls.  The photo shows two Sealdah girls (on the right) teaching young children in a remote rural school near Kolkata.  All the girls at Sealdah must do something to help others less fortunate than themselves, and often that consists of weekend instruction in the countryside.  Please consider sponsoring a desperately poor girl in Kolkata. 

A Life with Books: A New Chapter

I have been teaching in Beijing for a month and thus have not had access to Facebook. I am now home and getting ready for a new school year, not as a professor but as the president of the Bill Cook Foundation. Millions of children in all parts of the world are preparing to return to school. Many, however, lack basic supplies and good schools. The photo below is of a young child who lives on the island of Bougainville, a part of the nation of Papua New Guinea. Students there have lacked books—any books—until last year the Bill Cook Foundation shipped 1,000 books for children to Bougainville. Now this child can look forward to a year of school WITH BOOKS! Tomorrow, I will send more than $20,000 to places like Myanmar, Ethiopia, Laos, and Kenya for students starting a new year. I will need to replace those funds because we have ongoing projects and school starts in different places that occur all year long. I hope you can help. Go to www.billcookfoundation.org and give a gift today.

A shoeshine boy inspires a foundation.

I am often asked to explain why a retired, 72-year-old professor started a Foundation to help very poor kids receive an education.  There are many parts of the story, especially my decision 34 years ago to adopt teenagers.  However. let me focus on one story.  In 1992, my third oldest son, Angel, and I were driving through Mexico and stopped in the non-descript town of San Andreas Tuxtla.  We got a tolerable hotel room and headed to dinner.  We were the only customers in one of the few restaurants we found.  As we were eating, a kid entered the restaurant and asked us for food.  The owner came to throw him out, but I told Angel to tell him to wait for us outside.  When we finished, Pedro was there.  We took him to a taco stand where this little guy ate an enormous number of tacos.  He walked us to our hotel.  To our surprise, he was outside the next morning to say goodbye.  He had his shoeshine kit, for that is how he helped to support his family.  Pedro was 11, and he should have been in school.  I took a photo of him with his shoeshine kit, and we said goodbye.  I realized that I had fed him for a night, but he would be hungry again the next day.  When I got home, I had the photo of Pedro made into a 20x30 poster, framed it, and hung it on the stairway of my home.  Twenty-four years later, it is still there.  I often speak to the photo but also wonder what could have been done to help Pedro for more than a day.  The answer to me is clear--provide him with educational opportunities.  I cannot now go back in time and provide Pedro with educational opportunities, but there are millions of "Pedros" in the world, and I created the Bill Cook Foundation to help some of them, to provide a kind of food that would nourish them for a lifetime.

$25,000 matching grant challenge for 2016

Beginning January 1, 2016, the Bill Cook Foundation has received a challenge. Ann O'Brien, a friend of mine, has pledged to match gifts to our Foundation up to $25,000. This is a wonderful and generous act on Ann's part because she believes in what we are doing. So, please make a contribution today to help us reach that $25,000 goal. Let's build the momentum so that we can reach that amount as soon as possible.

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