Eleventh Annual YETI Silent Auction and Dinner
Indianapolis, Indiana USA
February 24, 2014
Keynote Address: KP Singh
YETI: A VISION AND SPIRIT OF HOPE
I am honored to be invited by Mr. Jeff Papa, Chief of Staff/ Chief Legal Counsel for the Indiana Senate and the Founder and President of an Indiana-based philanthropic organization, Youth Enhancement and Training Initiative (YETI), that financially supports and sustains an orphanage in a far away land, the former Himalayan kingdom of Nepal. Approximately 10-15% of the raised funds help underprivileged youth in central Indiana. YETI supports child development initiatives and invests in “vocational training and access to basic needs - healthcare, education, nutrition, and recreation.” YETI and its 11-member Board of Directors promote a vision that “empower and enable every individual who wishes to make a positive difference in the life of an underprivileged child” so they may have a bright future.
CHALLENGE BY NUMBERS AND MAGNITUDE
According to the postings on the internet:
<> Orphans and widows are mentioned more than 60 times in The Bible.
<> Number of orphans have grown exponentially over the last 17 years - from about 15 million in 1990 to 143 million in 2007.
<> A staggering 80% of new orphans can be directly attributed to the spread of AIDS. The civil wars, regional tragic conflicts; poverty, illiteracy, unwanted pregnancies, and abandonment; religious persecution: and ethnic cleansing from genocide to starvation have been swelling the ranks of orphans.
<> Orphans are a heart-wrenching international crisis.
<> The consequences of doing nothing are too painful to imagine or ignore: exploitation, slave labor, human trafficking, and child pornography are a familiar and growing global menace.
LESSONS IN FAITHS AND SPIRITUAL TRADITIONS
<> Unconditional compassion, tolerance, and love towards others.
<> Children and especially the orphans are a universal humanitarian concern.
<> “Children are the world’s most valuable resource and its best hope for the future.” -JFK
<> “There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.” - Nelson Mandela
<> There are a number of programs: Hands of Hope - Adoptions and Orphan Care Ministry.
IMAGINE AND VISUALIZE THE TIMELESS WISDOM
<> Children are God’s uncut diamonds; precious stones awaiting to become jewels in skillful hands.
<> “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” - The Bible, Mark 10:14
<> “The soul is healed by being with children.” - Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-1881)
<> “There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in.” - Graham Greene (1904-1991)
<> “Ask not what your country (or church, family, networks, others) can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country (for one child or entire humanity).” - President John F. Kennedy
<> “One person can make a difference and every person should try.” - President John F. Kennedy
FAITH MANDATES AND HUMANITARIAN TESTIMONY
Homeless or abandoned children need shelter, food, healthcare, education, safe and hopeful future. If we do not address this problem, then these innocent children (or orphans) attract the attention of sex predators, human- traffickers, and unconscionable exploiters. The great Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore reminds us that, “Every child comes with a message that God is not yet discouraged by man.” Why is God not disappointed with us? Perhaps, because there are good souls at work at all times, doing divinely inspired unimagined humanitarian work, lifting heavy burdens to bring hope and healing wherever there is a need. They understand the Sikh faith commandment (with similar echoes and lessons in every faith): “God is Love; To love God is to love all His Creation; Every act of service (compassion, kindness, and generosity) is an offering to God.” The All-Loving and Benevolent God acknowledges our gifts: “When you do unto the least of thee, you do unto me.”
“God is the Father and Mother of all Living Beings, and we are all His Children,” proclaim the Sikh scriptures. Then, it stands as our unmistakable spiritual mandate to help those placed at our cultural and spiritual crossroads - be like: the Africa Mercy hospital ship that provides free healthcare to the poor on the West Coast of Africa; Christel DeHaan’s Christelhouses that offer free education to disadvantaged and underprivileged children in India, Mexico, and Indiana; the Indianapolis Interfaith Hunger Initiative that feeds children in Kenya; Brooke’s Place For Grieving Young Persons that consoles the grieving survivors; and thousands of acts of generosity across the continents that bring daily hope, healing, dreams, and promise to others.
God asks us to take a chance on life. Those who are suffering or who are orphans today could be us in another lifetime, in another place, or represent the life-experience of someone we know. Faith, Hope and Love are without conditions, boundaries, and personal expectations. Serving and sharing of our blessings is not about “do we have to” or “would it make us look more important in the eyes of someone that we admire or like to imitate.” Loving and supporting ideas that are fundamentally sacred and can uplift others is our way of venerating Life and honoring God who is the Source and Guardian of all Life and makes all things possible.
REFLECTING ON RESPONSIBILITY AND CHALLENGE
What difference can it make to nurture a child or to prepare an uncut diamond to its rightful fullness? One answer may be that every child holds great promise, unimagined possibilities, and divine radiance. Look around and see the result before you, in each other. Reflect in reverence some of humanity’s greats: Abraham Lincoln, Helen Keller, Walt Whitman, Michelangelo, Albert Einstein, Saint Francis of Assisi, Florence Nightingale Dr. Martin Luther King, The Dalai Lama, and countless others. You and they were children once.
Eugene Ionesco, author of Present Past/Past present reminds us: “Childhood is the world of miracle or of magic: it is as if the creation rose luminously out of the night, all new and fresh and astonishing…” Kate Douglas Wiggins, Author and Educator, offers a vision: “Every child born into the world is a new thought of God, an ever fresh and radiant possibility.” We must see the promise and urgency of imaginative, selfless, and humanitarian endeavors leading to a better world; the courageous global icon, Pakistani student Malala Yousafzai passionately advocates, “One child, one teacher; one pen and one book; can change the world.”
The celebrated Holocaust victim Anne Frank will continue to tug at our souls, from beyond the stars and the living memory of generations, with her innocent reminder: “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”
YETI and millions of individual and collective efforts embody a kindred concern and commitment. They have been honoring enlightened calls and testimony of selfless giving. We salute YETI for its vision and gifts to “Life, Liberty and pursuit of Happiness” of others and making a difference to our world.
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