Making a Difference, in
By ALAN LOPEZ
Walnut Creek Journal, Walnut Creek, CA
Rossmoor resident Anita Kahn is happy to make a difference in a
nation or another continent. In approximately three months, she's helped raise more
than $3,000, which will pay a one-year salary for a school teacher in the African country
of Kenya. Anita Kahn's daughter Judith Kahn and the members of Anita Kahn's Rossmoor
walking group are happy, as well. Kenya suffers from extreme poverty and
hyperinflation, said Anita Kahn's daughter:
Judith Kahn saw the problems first-hand during a trip to Africa
last summer. SHe was looking for a way to help people living there when she saw a
Web site that sold crafts made by African people.
She bought some of the crafts from Global Crafts and sold them,
as well, a move encouraged by the nonprofit company. Half the money goes back to the
artist and half goes to the city it tires to help, according to the Web site.
|Before long the whole thing "snowballed,"
said Judith Kahn, and she soon was selling hundreds of dollars worth of items. She
asked her mother to help, and Anita Kahn was more than willling. "Originally, I'd
just sell a couple hundred dollars worth of stuff, and then it just kind of snowballed
from there," said Judith Kahn. "Then my mom started helping me. So
I'm still selling the crafts, but my mom is selling the crafts in Contra Costa."
"I started to take it over, and I was so excited about the
whole thing because education was involved, and I could do something besides play
bridge," said Anita Kahn, "and then the whole (walking) group got excited."
She began selling the artwork at Rossmoor craft fairs, to Rossmoor clubs and out of her
car. People have made donations of more than $100 and members of her walking group
also bought the art and helped to sell it.
Eventually, more than $3000 was raised to hire the teacher in
Kenya. It's going so well that Judith Kahn has the option to hire the teacher for an
extra year or set up a scholarship.
"I think it's so fantastic that she's doing it. I'm
so tickled," said Judith Kahn. Personally, for me this is one of the most fun
things we've done together. It's so meaningful, it makes us feel so good that we're
able to make a difference somewhere in the world."
The artwork includes wire models of cars and bikes, handcarved
soapstone statues and boxes, earrings, pins, bracelets, handcrafted cloth dolls, and
shawls and scarves.
The mother-daughter team and the Rossmoor walking group are all
thrilled by how much has been sold and by how easy it was to make a difference, said
"It started slowly and it all built up," said Anita
Kahn, a former social worker. "The more money we made, the more excited we got
because we were near our goal."
I thnk it's marvelous, I think it's wonderful," added Marion
Newman, a founding member of the walking group. "People are helping children
who otherwise wouldn't get help."
Added Molly Lieberman, "As mothers and grandmothers, we're
particularly moved by this program that it will give an education."
The Rossmoor walking group was started by Anita Kahn and Newman
21 years ago. More than a dozen members of the group gathered recently to discuss
the Kenya project, and it seemed to have brought the members closer together.
"About 21 years ago, Marion and I started walking and we
gradually picked people off the street," said Anita Kahn with a laugh.
"We're a wonderful support group, we walk everyday. And we talk, that's the
"We're good, concerned friends, and we can depend on one
another," added Lieberman.
That support is in part what made the Kenya project such a
"We hope to make this a yearly thing now, and we're all
excited about it," said Anita Kahn. "Education is the only way you're
going to change the world."