I knew the event in West Lafayette I had been planning for months was going to turn out well when at 7:15 PM, fifteen minutes before the scheduled start time, I saw people walking in the door. Although it meant I had a little less time to put the last–minute finishing touches on my presentation, it was fabulous to see people so excited to come that they arrived early! I was born and raised in West Lafayette, so when I decided to to volunteer full-time for Emerge naturally I thought that an event in my home town would be a great way to not only thank those people in the community who have shaped who I am today, but also to let everyone back home know just what I was up to after graduation. The event, called “Desserts, Jewelry, and Community,” was held in my church – the Unitarian Universalist Church of Lafayette, and had a turnout of about 50 people. One part of the event was a jewelry sale, in which we featured over 150 pieces of art from the young girls in Sri Lanka. This was a huge hit, with several people coming up to me and asking for advice on choosing the perfect piece for their daughter or friend. The other part of the event was a presentation, in which I spoke personally about my motivation to get involved with Emerge, the organization as a whole, where we are, and most importantly where we’re going. Afterwards, I spoke with several individuals about Sri Lanka and conditions inside the country, as well as ways that people in my community can get involved.
In total, we raised roughly $1800 in donations, and sold over $1700 in jewelry. This event was a huge success, and wouldn’t have been possible without the following people: — Jane’s Catering and Gourmet Deli and Tarboush Sweet Shop – for their donation of mouth-watering desserts. Lakin Brown – for writing an article about my work with Emerge in the Journal and Courier, Lafayette’s local newspaper as well as taking photographs during the event. Jamie Chevillet – for taking photographs for the J&C article as well as donating her time and effort to take pictures of me for Emerge promotional materials. Amused Clothing – for donating use of their credit card machine, one of the most useful donations of the night! Jean Tyner, Karin Bergman, Eric Thiel, and the rest of the Unitarian Universalist Community in West Lafayette – for not only helping me set up and publicize the event, but for also all their ongoing support. My family – to Mom, Dad, Karole, Ann, Phillip, and Kayla, I couldn’t have run the event without their help. Thank you so much. — I leave for Sri Lanka on Monday, the 11th. It’s so soon, and I can’t believe it! My next update will be coming to you straight from Asia. Until then,