Saturday, November 03, 2007

Synopsis of Sixth Annual Benefit with Peter Yarrow


Well, I know I choked up twice during the evening: first when I introduced Peter Yarrow and mentioned what an influence he and PETER, PAUL & MARY had been to my childhood, and to the conceptualization of ORPHANS INTERNATIONAL: raising children as Global Citizens to embrace justice and diversity, and the second time just sitting at his feet as he had us embrace one another and sing We Shall Overcome – I remember that vividly in the churches and marches of my youth – I do not think I have seen that done successfully since 35 year...

Peter was everything we had hoped for and more. I was honored to receive U.S. Congressional recognition initiated by Rep. Carolyn Maloney, and Peter was delighted with his letter of support from Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. Peter auctioned off the autographed PETER, PAUL & MARY guitars donated by Martin Guitars, and the Wynton Marsalis autographed trumpet donated by SAM ASH, INC. Our Board President Don Hoskins and his wife Carol Hoskins, founder of our DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE, received our 2007 VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR AWARD. Mary Madrid and Beth Davenport both worked very hard to help us pull off this success evening. Thanks to Hubert Eteh-Benissan who handled the projections of our beautiful children.

We have already raised $40,000 from the benefit for our kids – with more checks coming in daily! Watch the Jewish Post for Gloria Starr Kin’s photographs, and expect coverage from The Main Street WIRE (available on-line) and editor Dick Lutz’s photos. We appreciated the presence of Ambassador Erasmo Lara-Peña of the Dominican Republic and Ambassador Nathaniel Barnes of Liberia, Jean-Jacques de Saint Andrieu representing our corporate sponsor, AIR FRANCE, and good friends from BASF such as Douglas Reid-Green. I didn't realize it at the time, but we also had representatives from Parenting Magazine, USA Today, the HUFFINGTON POST, and NPR... expect a story in the New York Times in two weeks!

The Buzz

Hon. Nathaniel & Dawn Barnes (Ambassador of Liberia): Congratulations on your wonderful work with ORPHANS INTERNATIONAL and thank you very much for including us. We were truly inspired and we identify completely with your mission. Please do not hesitate to call on either of us if there is any way in which you feel we can help. Peter was incredible. His songs brought back so many fond memories from our youth. My husband Nat, in particular, is a huge fan of Peter, Paul and Mary. Again, many thanks and our heartiest congratulations and pledge of support.

Michael Bass (GRAND-PARENTS SALUTE FOUNDATION): The evening spent with Peter was a rejuvenating experience... for that brief period that we all gathered from around the world... it gave me the feeling of “If the world was exactly like the time we spent together... there would truly be hope for all.” I have attended many events, but spending the evening with Peter and the wonderful people of ORPHANS INTERNATIONAL... who believe... and I mean really believe... that we can save orphaned children... Thank you so much for the enlightening, tireless work that OI does. You all truly have hearts of gold.

Sharon Flynn (ROTARY INTERNATIONAL): That SIXTH ANNUAL BENEFIT evening was spectacular! If your late mother is looking down on your life, I'm sure she is very, very proud of you. She would be proud of how effective you are and how you handle the adversity that comes along occasionally. Peter was great, wasn’t he? I will recommend his unique auction style for some of ROTARY's functions People were on a "high" from the evening and were walking and talking together along Broadway. It was a nice wrap up to a beautiful evening. Well, next year he'll be a tough act to follow!

Dharmapala Gyatso (Artist): It is always a pleasure to participate with people who are contributing to the improvement of our great planet. Peter is a star example of someone who uses his influence for the right cause. We would be so lucky if more musicians and celebrities would follow his example and use their talents in not only furthering the expression of their art but also moving the world towards a brighter age.

Bruce Kluger (Columnist, USA TODAY and PARENTING MAGAZINE): In an funny way, Peter’s Puff the Magic Dragon was the perfect anthem for the whole evening. Like the song itself, the mission of ORPHANS INTERNATIONAL is at once timeless, hopeful, and straight from the heart. Thanks, Jim, for reminding us of the collective power of humanity, and of the nobility in helping to provide safety and love for the children of the world. There is no greater cause.

Hon. Erasmo & Elizabeth Lara (Ambassador of the Dominican Republic): Jim, It was great. It is quite amazing that even somebody like me, raised in another country, could related so well to what peter represents. Of course, I knew Peter’s songs, they are part of not only the USA’s cultural heritage but also part of our collective memory in Latin-America. Thank you for including us. I know quite well your dreams, and how you bring to reality those dreams. We are holding hands will you!

Laura Tyson Li (Writer): Like generations of American kids, Puff the Magic Dragon was one of the first songs I learned, and to hear the song’s creator sing it in person was an amazing experience. I wish my kids could have been there to see it. Peter Yarrow hosted a memorable and moving event, and the tunes have been in my head since.

Dick Lutz (Managing Editor, MAIN STREET WIRE): Marvelous evening, and a perfect fit. Just as Orphans International represents everything that’s right about American motives when reasonably and properly expressed in the wider world, Peter Yarrow and PETER, PAUL AND MARY represent everything that’s right about American folk music, and American generosity. What an ideal match for OI!
Ellen Polivy (Social Worker/Geriatric Care Manager): We all had a great time. Mom was ecstatic. She said it was an 84th birthday to remember!