Our last two rotations at Rising Star were done in the school helping to tutor the kids individually (more on that back here). During these two days Max was able to present the kids with the books he had gathered for his Eagle Project.2012-07-24 Rising Star Outreach 56972 It was one of my favorite parts of being at Rising Star. Max had gathered a whole bunch of books to bring as well as money to buy whatever additional books they needed (for more about that click here).  The week before we left for India we learned from Celina, the main American teacher at the school (who is going on her third year serving as a co-principal there, and who most likely has a special place set aside for her in Heaven for how amazing she is with those kids) that there were two classes dying for multiple copies of books they wanted to read as a class.  One class wanted to read “Pippi Longstocking,” and the other class had just finished “Little House in the Big Woods,” (sharing two copies between all twenty of them) and would love to have the second book in that series to read together. We found out that it’s rough to get multiple copies of the same book in India, so Amazon came to the rescue and we brought an extra suitcase full of those books with the money Max had gathered. Celina (who the kids affectionately call “Ma’am”) had Max come present those two classes with their special books.  It was cute because the kids knew they were coming.  They had asked us about them each day with pure excitement in their eyes.  It was so sweet to see kids so darn excited about BOOKS. Here’s Max before passing the books out telling about how he gathered the money to buy the books: there are so many people who care about them even though they have never met them.  2012-07-24 Rising Star Outreach 569652012-07-24 Rising Star Outreach 569712012-07-24 Rising Star Outreach 569772012-07-24 Rising Star Outreach 56979 I loved watching them sit down and be able to all go over the table of contents together at the same time since they all had a book to follow.  2012-07-24 Rising Star Outreach 569882012-07-24 Rising Star Outreach 56990They were so delighted about that little book. I helped one of the girls turn herself into Pippi like we do sometimes for crazy hair day back in the states in honor of the occasion.2012-07-26 Rising Star Outreach 57412(That little girl, in case you are wondering, is an albino Indian…that’s why her skin is so light.  She is such a little sweetheart.) After lunch, Max presented the next class with their “Little House” books.2012-07-25 Rising Star Outreach 57064 The only edition of these ones available on Amazon was a hard-cover full-color one so of course the kids were over the moon about that little fact.2012-07-25 Rising Star Outreach 570682012-07-25 Rising Star Outreach 570722012-07-25 Rising Star Outreach 57075 They cradled those things like little prized possessions.2012-07-25 Rising Star Outreach 57079 …and Max was a rockstar as far as they were concerned for bringing them those little jewels.2012-07-25 Rising Star Outreach 57084 The next day they all gave Max the sweetest, well-thought-out thank you notes.2012-07-25 Rising Star Outreach 57327Our neighbor’s son Taylor did his Eagle project totally parallel to Max’s…he collected money for books (and donated different ones) as well as making school kits for the kids at Rising Star.  Both boys had enough money collected that the school got to buy quite a lot of extra books for their library in addition to all those actual books donated from people in our area back home. What a gift it is to be able to give. They got to give the kids all the books (from the States and bought there) in a ceremony before school began the last day we were there:2012-07-25 Rising Star Outreach 572682012-07-25 Rising Star Outreach 57275I have a whole new-found appreciation for the fact that I can click a button on Amazon and have a book arrive at my doorstep…or even go to the bookstore.  I’m so grateful for books. …and that these kids now have a whole bunch of them. Thank you so very much to everyone who helped make that possible.  Those smiles stretched across those beautiful Indian faces are in part because of YOU. Next, Max distributed the flashcards he orchestrated the making of before we left home (back here).2012-07-22 India 562702012-07-22 India 56274 He got to give them to the pre-school/kindergarten class of adorableness:2012-07-25 Rising Star Outreach 573292012-07-25 Rising Star Outreach 57336 They were kind of excited:2012-07-25 Rising Star Outreach 573402012-07-25 Rising Star Outreach 573492012-07-25 Rising Star Outreach 573542012-07-25 Rising Star Outreach 573572012-07-25 Rising Star Outreach 57367Thanks so much to everyone who helped with those as well. What a blessing it was to be part of that Eagle project.  Max is a changed boy forever because of that experience. Then it was on to say goodbye to our adventure at Rising Star. …and to these sweet kids we could hardly bear to leave.2012-07-25 Rising Star Outreach 573912012-07-25 Rising Star Outreach 573032012-07-25 Rising Star Outreach 573042012-07-25 Rising Star Outreach 573102012-07-26 Rising Star Outreach 574012012-07-25 Rising Star Outreach 573132012-07-25 Rising Star Outreach 573162012-07-26 Rising Star Outreach 574002012-07-26 Rising Star Outreach 57414 Before we left, we helped paint our volunteer session wall:2012-07-26 India 574202012-07-26 India 57421 (Each volunteer group that comes paints a section of the wall…see these ones from the past groups?)2012-07-26 India 57425 Here’s how ours looked when we left (we had to leave before it was done).2012-07-26 India 57437 The kids also couldn’t leave without getting “henna” done.  In lieu of having one of the Indian kids do it for them (they made it off-limits for them because they were getting to riled up before bedtime trying to tatoo all the volunteers arms and feet), our kids had one of the volunteers do theirs.  2012-07-25 Rising Star Outreach 571882012-07-25 Rising Star Outreach 57224 As you can see, she’s pretty talented.2012-07-25 Rising Star Outreach 572262012-07-25 Rising Star Outreach 572382012-07-25 Rising Star Outreach 572392012-07-26 India 57423Elle hoped with all her might to have it stay on ‘til school starts but alas, it rubbed off in the ocean a couple days ago.  Fun while it lasted. Although our driver had a deadline to get us back to Chennai for our flight to Northern India we couldn’t help but drag our feet like crazy (poor guy).  Our kids were dying to go say their goodbyes to their new kindred friends.2012-07-25 Rising Star Outreach 57318 And Dave and I couldn’t have been happier that they were so attached.2012-07-25 Rising Star Outreach 57280 Maybe in the back of our minds we hope that the more in love they are with these kids, the more likely they may go back someday to give a little more of themselves.  …And to gain more than they could ever give in return. As we flew out onto our next adventure up in Northern India I think we all realized that we left some big chunks of our hearts at Rising Star.

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  1. Thank you for sharing your experience with us. From your first post on India, I've been telling my husband I want to do this with our kids someday. I've been reading and following your trip, and now I'm dying to go. We're setting a goal for when our kids are a little older to go have an experience like this. Thank you so much for your examples! What an amazing family you have.

  2. I am so touched by your family's experience in India. How wonderful that you have been so temporally blessed to be able to reach out and share that with others. (Any tips on how those of us who can't make such a trip can help from here at home?) I'm sure your children will always and forever remember the joy they felt while serving and helping such sweet beautiful children. I have loved following along your journey!

  3. Shawni, I have so enjoyed following along with your Indian adventures! How wonderful that you were able to give the gift of a book, something I always take for granted. Those kindergartners sure are ADORABLE, actually, all the kids are. Thanks for sharing!

    perfectly priya

  4. Awesome Shawn! It was so fun to see all those kids again in your pictures. It was especially awesome to see them with Max And Elle. What a cool experience for them! Can't wait to hear all about it!

  5. Shawni, thank you so much for sharing this wonderful experience! I'm from Brazil and, while I was living there, I was able to reach out to so many people. However, after living here in the US for 5 years, I somehow forgot all about it. Thank you for reminding me the importance of sharing with others. I seriously have tears in my eyes!!!

  6. WOW! I am so incredibly jealous of your experience and for the work your kids did. You captured their sweet faces so incredibly in those pictures it just makes my heart absolutely melt! Thank you for sharing and inspiring. I think about you almost daily as I try to be a better mormon, more loving and patient mom and an all around better person. You really are incredible! I appreciate your example!

  7. I loved reading about your adventures in India. It's so touching to see children helping children. What an amazing experience you've provided your kids with. I was able to work at a boy's shelter in Mexico for BYU study abroad and your post really brought back so many memories for me. Thank you! Thank you!

  8. I love that line you wrote that said, "What a gift it is to be able to give." What a great life lesson. Thanks for being an inspiration to all of us.

  9. I want to know more about the girl with albinism since my son has albinism as well. How was her vision? Did she read okay? What were some of her limitations if any?

  10. What a wonderful experience! The lighter skinned girl interests me, she doesn't look so much to be albino but more of a throwback to Indian Indo-Aryan/European ancestry. How fascinating. 🙂

  11. There is such a great energy in these posts of your trip to India…just looking at pictures and reading. Everything we think is so tough about life comes screaming into perspective when you see what so many deal with on a daily basis. Beautiful journey…thank you for sharing Pothiers.

  12. What an amazing experience! I have just read about rising star in your parent's book ( entitlement trap) and then to see your family continuing the service is so inspiring. Definitely a summer to remember.

  13. What incredible pictures of those beautiful faces!! What a wonderful blessing that you were able to go, I'm sure lots more people reading this will want to go along and help too – I know I do!! 🙂

  14. BAC

    These girls are south indians, not north indians; north india is where the Aryans settled and set up camp in South Asia. South India is where the Dravidian and Indus Valley people went to after it collapsed.

  15. Everyone reading here, let me repost this picture gallery of Indian albino's that show White Europeans themselves are albino's just like the albino indian girl in pictures on the blog.

    Please go look through every picture of these Indian albino's and tell me they don't look like "white people".

    Indian albinos:



































    Do you notice how they look EXACTLY LIKE WHITE PEOPLE? THAT IS BECAUSE SCIENTIFICALLY AND GENETICALLY, THEY ARE THE EXACT SAME AS MODERN DAY WHITE PEOPLE! Research Haplogroup R1a, Haplogroup R1a has it's origins in South Asia and is found in high frequencies in Europe.

    Now what this gallery disproves is that Whites are the result of a single mutation and a single event which arose in history as they like to claim.

    Because as you can see, even in hot climate South Asia, albino's that look like White people still get produced daily which means that Whites are not the result of a single mutation genetic event in Eurasia and is also not an evolutionary adaptation. In these albino's you find the entire color spectrum from blonde hair to red hair to brown hair JUST LIKE IN WHITE PEOPLE!

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