Let me introduce myself to you--my name is Joan Douma and I am Secretary of the Board for Seedlings of Change, since its inception in 2009. Eveline Marie Smith has suggested to me that I write an article now and then for the newsletter based on the fact that we are a global organization, providing mini-grants to both local and international venues that align with our mission and intended manner of helping people to improve their lives and their community, in some cases, country (i.e., improving pollution conditions or contributing to new manners in which to provide sustainable daily living improvements to families in a variety of locations). As I have served overseas for over 16 years, before I retired, in 2000, as an Office Management Specialist in the Foreign Service branch of the U.S. Department of State, Eveline felt I have had experiences I could share that might be of interest to our readers, which I will attempt to provide in different newsletters in the future but for now I felt that I should simply introduce myself and give you a little history on my life up until now.
I was born in San Francisco, CA, on February 24 of 1935, moving to Berkeley, CA when one year old where I lived with my parents and my sister, Sharon (3 1/2 years my junior), attending Washington Elementary School through the 6th grade. My childhood in Berkeley was wonderful and I have such fond memories of, life in Berkeley then. When the entire world was safer for children growing up, walking several blocks to school and home, and to an ice skating rink where I enjoyed this activity so much with a friend, to movies up on Shattuck Avenue, or to Walt's Drugstore on the corner of California and University Avenue where I was treated to a 5 cent chocolate coke by my grandmother, and for a special treat? a banana split for 25 cents! Which was huge and delicious, and Walt’s had comic books, paper dolls, puzzles, and many other items which delighted a child as they are growing up.
When I was age 11 my family moved to Napa, CA, and we had a chicken ranch, "laying" hens and "eggs" was our business. So, I went from being a city girl to a country girl and I was in my element! My dad getting me a horse and I, thinking I was the "Roy Rodgers" of the day! I spent as much time as possible roaming the countryside and having adventures which I will never forget. I entered "junior high" in Napa at that time, 7th through 10th grade, and finished high school at Napa High School.
When I was 19 years of age I married my former husband and we had three children, my daughter, adopted, who we brought home from the hospital at 2 1/2 days old (now 58) my son, Danny, who I bore, and turned 58 on July 12, 2018 and my third child son, David, who is 56 years old. I have five grandchildren and one great-grandson. My work for the vast part of my working career was as a legal secretary here in Napa, it was a small two girl office, and I did this work until I divorced and moved to the San Jose, CA area, in 1979 where I worked as a Senior Legal Stenographer for the State of California. Then when I was almost age 50 I joined the Foreign Service and went off into the world in this new career. I will be sharing with you my experiences and travels in another article. For now, you know who I am, and I look forward to sharing more of my life in articles to come.
The children are seeing light through Seedlings of Change. It is with Seedlings of Change help they have clothes to wear, food to put a meal on the table which before they seldom had one meal a day that was eaten at 4 pm. I am glad and happy to say a big Thank You to Seedlings of Change for putting a smile on their faces. And also, for making it possible for the children to attend a school that they may know how to read and write through the Elementary Education Program made possible through Seedlings of Change support.
My friendship with the founder, Eveline since 2008 id Gold! During these past 11 years, we were able to raise livestock like; cows, goats, pigs, and hens. We now have gardens where the women are able to plant; maize, cassava, potatoes, sorghum, groundnuts for their home consumption are for commercial use. The money received from the produce sold at the market is used to boost their families. We also had a knitting machine and sewing machines which were used to make sweaters and clothes until they broke down they now have been repaired and one of the women is going to begin working with the machines again soon rather than selling the machines off.
I also want to extend my sincere gratitude and appreciation to Eveline and Seedlings of Change team for supporting Jane and her kids and more so for funding her medical treatment. God bless you all! If it were not for you, we would be rugs but thank God we met you. I remember Jane and her kids used to sleep on funny rugs on the floor but today she sleeps on a mattress, they used to sleep in huts with no light, but they were able to get solar lamps from your support. The children used to walk to school barefooted but now they try to put on shoes and attend good schools. Bravo Seedlings of Change!
Solomon’s mother Teddy Akodo does garden work all her life for sustainability. She is also the chairperson of the women group supported by Seedlings of Change Africa Women Development Efforts Organization (EWEDO) in Soroti. They appreciate the support Eveline and Seedlings of Change is giving them. With the cow project they are able to get milk and some little money from the sales which they use for buying soap, sugar, salt, paraffin, and other essential household commodities. Thank you so much Seedlings of Change for the great help and we pray you continue supporting us.
It's Sunday June 26, 2016 and Grumpa, Nuna, Mom & I are setting up the Seedlings of Change booth for the Summer MADE Fair. This is unlike your typical arts & crafts fair where you have various booths that offer goods for sale that are neither art or even crafty for that matter. MADE Fair offers a lot more than Kitsch it's an outlet for local artists & nonprofit organizations, where individuals can learn & connect to a cause much bigger than any one of us and achieve a greater good by supporting one another locally and globally.
Seedlings of change is here today to do just that create awareness for the causes funded via our Bread for the Soul mini grant program. Yes, we hope to have a successful fundraising campaign in 2016 and by looking at everyone listening to my Mom & Nuna talk about the importance of the safe Water for Life project & LifeStraw® it truly makes me appreciate how lucky I am to just turn on the faucet and have clean drinking water.