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Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Photography and Cupcake Filled Afternoon at the Allied Arts Guild

The afternoon was a great success! Here's a recap of what it was like as I wandered around the gardens and dessert bars at the Allied Arts Guild last weekend.

BTW, it's not too late to support my friend and wedding photographer Elley Ho's fundraiser to help impoverished school children living in the Himalayan Valleys of Nepal. You can purchase her and her co-exhibitor Scott Taylor's photos online and 100% of the proceeds will be donated to help school children a world away through the NEIO (The Nepal Education Initiative Organization a 501c3 charity).

I know some people in the United States believe we should only help people in the United States. Need is need and we do have citizens who need help right here at home and I believe we should help them.

But at the same time the concept of "us" and "others" is based on nothing more than the man made lines that divide and separate humankind into different countries.

I choose not to acknowledge these lines when it comes to helping humanity. When it comes to human suffering and the need for opportunities to rise out of poverty I believe in helping both where the need is greatest and within my own local community. To me it doesn't have to be an either or endeavor. I may donate money to people overseas and money or time to those who live here and need help.

At the end of the day, regardless of our differences, we share the same basic needs of food, water and shelter.

We will also all achieve more and will create a better world if we are given the opportunity to be educated. And that's what NEIO does. It helps to educate children to help them rise out of poverty.

The gardens at the Allied Arts Guild in Menlo Park are really gorgeous. Remember how the previous Saturday I'd gone out a week early by accident for Elley's exhibit? It turned out to be a happy accident because I stayed and photographed the Hydrangeas in the Garden of Delight.

When I arrived I spotted friend and photographer Lisa Whalen with Elley and Scott Taylor so I took a picture of her. . .

Taking this picture of them.

Elley and Scott spent one month hiking over 100 miles across the Himalayan mountain range. They stayed in villages, lived with locals, volunteered and taught in classrooms and documented much of what they saw and experienced through photography and video.

These are the photos that were exhibited at their "A World Away" show and are still available on line to purchase with the proceeds going to the NEIO. These kids have very little. They play kickball with a ball that is completely deflated but they love it and the fact that it has no air doesn't impact the joy they experience when they play with it.

They learn to write and draw with nubs of pencils that we in America would have thrown away long ago.

Their penmanship is beautiful Seriously. They all have better writing skills than I do and I wasn't the only attendee saying that. My handwriting looks like chicken scratch by comparison.

This is the Nakote School that the NEIO helped to build for the children after their existing school was destroyed by a landslide.

The NEIO was created by Wayne H. Cheung, a senior IT Corporate Manager with fifteen years of experience at a San Francisco based structural engineering firm. Wayne learned of the need and began recruiting volunteers in the San Francisco Bay Area, Hong Kong, China and Nepal to help rebuild the school. From his efforts the NEIO was born and has continued to help provide educational facilities to children in geographically disadvantageous regions.

I loved that the photos were displayed out on the Sunset Terrace and Patio and not indoors.

The weather couldn't have been more perfect!

There were three fundraisers that day all to benefit NEIO: One was to buy a raffle ticket to win one of the door prizes. Another was to purchase a glass of wine and three desserts from the dessert bar inside the Sunset Room. And the third was that the proceeds for any of the pictures sold would be donated to NEIO.

The NEIO was there with a great display of letter, pictures and photos from the children the non-profit helps.

Lower Right Photo by: Lisa Whalen Photography

Elley spoke a few words thanking the attendees for their support and explaining how the NEIO is making a difference.

Then we watched a video about her and Scott's experience in the Himalayas.

This was just one of the three dessert stations that day. The desserts were donated by local bakers Carolyn Wong Cakes, Jen's Cakes, Michelle Ng and Studio Cake.

Wine and cupcakes. . . A winning combination.

Cupcakes Galore!

Mini Cupcakes

"Mendiants Chocolate Noir" aka Fruit and Nut Chocolates

Mocha Marble Cheesecakes and Pear and Almond Frangipane Tarts

Marshmallows, Meringues and Cake!

The cupcakes were displayed so beautifully. Look how perfectly aligned they were on the table. This only made it more funny when I saw the following sad picture Photographer Lisa Whalen posted the next day on Facebook of some cupcakes she took home with her but the box didn't do a great job of keeping them upright. . .

LOL it was a Cupcaketastrophe!

In closing all I can say is that a warm summer day, good friends, a great cause and a dessert bar make doing something good all the more sweeter.

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