Adopt a Village in Laos Fundraiser: Amazing Success

Written by on September 19, 2011 in Asia, cause marketing, charity, Education, Green, poverty, PR+Social Media - No comments

The Adopt a Village in Laos fundraiser at the Capitol Theatre in downtown Port Hope, Ontario this past Saturday, September 17 was an absolutely amazing success. It was an evening filled with great presentations (from Steve Rutledge and Mike Yap, Ted Amsden and me, Roland Drake), live musical performances from a local band, a silent auction and delicious food from the local Thai restaurant, Buluai A Taste of Thai. Over 150 people, including six of my friends from Toronto and Bev Korasack from Fairchild Radio’s Sieng Lao Radio program in Toronto, attended this event.

Uwe Meyer, the artistic director of the Capitol Theatre, kicked off the evening by introducing Steve and Mike. After they briefly spoke to the audience, they introduced me as the first presenter of the evening. Never having attempted anything like this before, I found myself unusually calm and centred. During the intermission, I received praise for my presentation from some of the guests.

For my 10 minutes in the spotlight, I began with a short PowerPoint presentation illustrating some general and sobering statistics about Laos. Then I shifted to the piece de resistance of my presentation, a video titled, “The Dark Days of Laos”, which I had created from archival audio and movie sources. Set to the song “Nella Fantasia” (“In My Fantasy”), it focused on the bombing of Laos from 1964 to 1973 and its deadly legacy. After the video ended, the audience sat there in stunned and sombre silence.

 The video’s message had definitely made an impact on them.

The mood then quickly shifted when Steve Rutledge and Mike Yap returned to the stage and did their first presentation of the evening. As always, they did not disappoint. They kept the audience engaged and entertained.

After the intermission, there were a couple of more segments, including a beautiful video about Adopt a Village in Laos by Northumberland Today photojournalist, Ted Amsden, who had ventured to Laos in December 2010.

 The evening wrapped up with a slideshow showcasing the work of Adopt a Village in Laos accompanied by the song “Nella Fantasia”.

Roland

It is said that a journey begins with a single step. On Tuesday, July 7, 2010 my journey to Laos began when I met Mike Yap, who introduced me to the Adopt a Village project. Having always been fascinated by other cultures, I was immediately captivated by the concept. In mid-August I visited Port Hope, where Mike and Steve Rutledge, who is the other half of the driving force behind this humanitarian effort, reside. That weekend I listened to Steve talk with great enthusiasm about their work. I became more and more intrigued. On Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, I visited them again. That Saturday night I had the honour of attending their presentation/fundraiser for the Adopt a Village in Laos project at the beautifully restored Capitol Theatre in downtown Port Hope, Ontario. Having never had their presentation/fundraisers captured on video before, I volunteered to record this event with my iPhone. When I returned home, I would edit it and then upload it to YouTube in hopes of raising awareness of their work to a larger audience. From that weekend I came away glowing inside with a wonderfully positive energy. Inspired, I made a commitment to myself and to Mike and Steve that I would help them with their endeavours. Since that time, I haven't disappointed. Please visit my personal blog, My Journey to Laos, at http://myjourneytolaos.blogspot.com to see how I have been trying to help them raise awareness for their cause. Ultimately, I will go to Laos and experience for myself all the great work which they have done and continue to do.

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