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I LOVE GIBTK?

 I LOVE GIBTK!!! Not sure if I've ever said this. I'm not sure but this may turn out to be one of the strangest journals I've written. But then again it may be one more of those observations I seem to have the opportunity to learn from.... 
 
    This morning I felt disconnected yet more connected then ever? I know doesn't really make sense to me either. LOL. It was the morning of our TET store. A little history first. Tet is the lunar New Year celebration. Sorta like a birthday,  New Years, Christmas and for those of the U.S. 4th of July all rolled into one. A time to reflect on the past year and look forward to the New Year. To visit friends and family.   Tam mentioned she read recently that it is not unusual for a  average family to spend half a years salary for TET.
 
Maybe for first time being able to buy treats for TET
 
   Buying new things for your family, painting or redoing your home. From what I heard it is important how you enter the New Year, as it determines your luck for the New Year, Hence all the New Things (I guess going into serious debt is looked at...).
 
    In earlier years I or other Orgs would come to the poor kids hand out baskets of goodies and get great photo ops. I'd look and see mothers (never any dads) standing in the back with heads bowed. One day it dawned on us, why not set up a shop, .10 on the dollar. Invite same people but let them buy at 90% discounts. Strange idea? 
 
  First year mostly moms a couple of men came. This year a couple dozen dads came. Mom and dad can buy for their kids toys, treats for families. When I came in this morning I was overwhelmed. I walked around and saw joy in dads and moms eyes. They got to be the hero's! Kids staring in amazement at pretty little dress. It hit me I LOVE GIBTK. Oh yes it was my wife and I who founded it but it has grown, it has become the fabric of so many! Yes founders but it is so much more today.
 
Dad waiting to hear total, see if he has enough....
 
   Walking around, shaking hands and wishing Chuc Mung Nam Moi (Happy New Year!) to invitees. I felt... well overwhelmed with what I was seeing.
 
   Several of the kids in our homes are from similar circumstances. Both our college homes came to help and worked hard. I went up to a couple of girls and asked what they. Felt. Through tears they spoke of seeing friends get new dress and things but knowing they were to poor. Spoke of charity groups coming and giving baskets, but both told me through tears  (similar to ones I have typing) it was not same as their parents buying their special gifts .
 
 
  Tam had a "special" experience I asked her to write then a strange phenomena I witnessed that brought me to the point I wanted to climb to the roof top and shout YEAH GOD! To you be the Glory! I did walk out side and possibly some who saw me with arms raised that maybe that American maybe a little crazy... LOL   Here's Tam;
 
   "Today was a meaningful day for me, but it even meant a lot more to the children who came to our Tet store. This year, I paid a special attention to the little children at the store. By looking at them, I recalled my memory of where I came from. This moment gave me more energy and will to serve more poor people.
 
 
     One of the little girls caught my attention entirely. This is her first time coming to our Tet store with her grand mother. Her family was invited but her mother is pregnant so she could not take her here. She followed her grandmother to different tables to pick things she wanted for her family. When it came to the table of clothes, she was completely interested in a  yellow Ao Dai (traditional Viet dress). Picking it up, she held it tightly so that no one could take it away from her. Her grandmother spent all the budgeted money on cookies and candies so I gave her that Ao Dai for free.
 
 
All rolled up and safe under her coat
 
    When she knew that that Ao Dai belonged to her, she rolled it and put it inside her jacket and gripped it in her arms. I could see delighted eyes looking at me with big smile when I found her at the check-out desk later on, she came and hugged me. While hugging me, she put 2 candies into my shirt pocket without letting me know it.
 
     I did not know about these two candies till I came back to my office after we finished the Tet store. I felt so emotional when I saw candies. She was grateful. How precious it was to see that. It is so great to give that little girl a chance to choose what she likes without creating a financial burden on her mother. From what I experienced today, I just hope that we will be able to serve more people each year."
 
I love Tams story. As she told her eyes glassed over with tears.  (I wonder if she'll eat the candies or save them as a treasured memory). 
 
   When I first came this young boy in a stripped outfit was shy and wouldn't even shake my hand. Then as things got going he would be at my side ,dancing laughing, getting me to dance,  others laughing...  But what I saw blew me away, which yes led me outside again the Thank my God!
 
 
   Here was this tiny young boy who came shy and reserved. Here he was know helping empty boxes, Some almost as big as him. and bringing them to the the gibtk team to break down. Then another older boy saw him and joined. Not just for a couple boxes but until the job was done and there was no more boxes to break down.
 
 
   Go  figure huh. They came to receive but left giving back. Can it be so simple. All our college kids came as volunteers and served, these youngs came and learned. That crazy dream Dorothea and I had so many years ago. To transform a Nation and change a culture is happening! Yeah GOD!!!
If perhaps you feel led to help fund this we certainly can use the help. Can be done safely at www.givingitbacktokids.org. please put tet shop in comments box or can be mailed to gibtk, 10112 Stonybrook Dr. HB, Ca. 92646
 
><((((º>  BBlessed
 
 
 
 
 
  
www.gibtk.org
Robert Kalatschan
Giving It Back To Kids