Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

by John Aldrich

We all hope that everyone in the ANE family as well as the world in general is having a wonderful day full of gratitude and thanks for the many blessings we enjoy.

ANE volunteers had their own special Thanksgiving event last Sunday at the annual dinner to honor those whose dedicated service make the work of our organization possible. Here are a few highlights of the evening:

The warehouse was miraculously transformed for the event. Approximately 100 people attended and brought special dishes to add to the turkeys and ham provided.

Robin Field-Williams brought her famous strudel dessert.

After everyone had settled in with full plates of food, Linda conducted a brief program which started by honoring Virginia Aldrich who had organized the event.

Alice Sikorsky was honored for her work organizing the Christmas stocking program which will deliver over 1200 stockings to school children on the reservation.

Our new Shi Yazhi princess, Tiffany Singer, attended with her proud parents.

CJ Robb provided details of the rug show financial results which were very impressive this year.

Gina Zimmerer spoke about the Christmas Ornament Program which sold all but 13 of the ornaments at the rug show. She told us that these remaining ornaments were available for purchase that evening.

At this point Shawn Acerson challenged everyone to make a donation and a basket was passed around the room resulting in $1000 which could be split among the 13 unsold ornaments.

 Shirlee Silversmith's little granddaughter made a generous $10 donation.

Shawn and Gina totaled up the final total of donations.

After this outpouring of generosity, Linda thanked everyone and offered a chance at the mic to anyone who wished to add their own remarks.

This offer was led by Shirlee Silversmith.

Followed by Andrea Berman who offered a few of her hand-made earrings for sale to benefit the Elders.

Rose Jakub offered a few words and sang a song.

Rosie Begay expressed her gratitude for the Program, and also spoke of how much ANE means to her mother-in-law, Madeline Begay. Madeline is an Elder in the Program at the Dilkon food run.

Harry James spoke and sang.

The evening ended with the surprise appearance of James Bilagody a very entertaining Navajo comedian.

Many thanks to all our volunteers, and a Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

ANE Volunteer Honored At Utah Philanthropy Day

by John Aldrich

Thanks to the generosity of Lisa Wishnick, ANE has had a table the Utah Philanthropy Day awards luncheon for a number of years. This year seventy-two participating non-profit organizations nominated people for the Heart and Hands Award.

Virginia Aldrich was our recipient.

Virginia has been a dedicated volunteer at ANE for 13 years where she plays an active role helping at the warehouse, attending food runs, and assisting Linda at the annual rug show. Virginia has helped make a difference in the lives of the Elders as well as her fellow volunteers.

Here is the group who joined in honoring her on November 14th.

In addition to this award, Virginia also was honored on October 8th at the annual Ethel Percy Andrus Community Service award ceremony sponsored by AARP.

This award came about thanks to Wendy Sanborn who wrote a glowing letter of support for Virginia's nomination.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Rug Show School Programs Produce A Volunteer

by John Aldrich

On Thursday and Friday, prior to the rug show opening to the public, we have a series of programs for school children. Over 600 students from a variety of schools attended these sessions this year. The purpose is to provide an opportunity for young people to become acquainted with Navajo culture and people.

The ages of the students range from pre-school to high school with most being in the earlier grades.

I have often wondered what sort of impact this experience might have on these youngsters, especially the youngest ones.

That question was answered in a clear way when I met Isabella Canada at this year's show.

Isabella started coming to our school programs when she was in first grade at her Montessori school and has been to every rug show since. Now a freshman at Park City High School, she came for the first time as a volunteer, working shifts both Saturday and Sunday.

When she was in third grade she received the gift of a necklace from Ruth Benally. She wore this necklace this year and was happy to have a chance to get reacquainted with Ruth.

Isabella spent most of her time working at the station where show guests can buy bundles of yarn to give to weavers of their choice. Since there was a chair handy, this provided a perch for Isabella to get a glimpse of the action at the pow wow.

We hope to see this wonderful young woman at many more shows and hope that many other students at the school programs will follow in her footsteps.


In a subsequent email exchange with Isabella, I learned that she was attending the Colby School in 2008 when she gave Ruth a rug she had made which resulted in Ruth giving Isabella the necklace she was wearing in the photo above.

Looking back at photos from the 2008 rug show I identified her in the following picture:

This was taken just after she had presented her gift to Ruth.

What an unexpected continuum this photograph has added to the story.