The One World Institute has been generating ripples of positive, healing energy across the Pacific Ocean. Nowadays, if you know where to look, you can experience the magic and joy wheelchairs are bringing to those who cannot afford it, “wheelchairs of mercy” that can handle the urban and rural terrains of the Philippines, rain or shine. It’s been a very quiet humanitarian contribution to the Philippines’ “poorest of the poor.” Some of the visionaries just happen to be my friends: Dr. Tom Stern and Yolanda Stern. It’s time we share their work to my world!
Tom and Yolanda Stern are a very interesting couple to spend time with, whenever we get that rare chance. Dynamic conversations are a norm. Tom really dances up a storm with Yolanda (with ease and grace!) during those ballroom-type parties. That’s just the social part — and trust that it’s not often that we even get to see them dance. I’ve personally been a part of strategic planning activities as well as political and cultural events wherein I’ve witnessed the couple’s foresight, dedication, accountability, and astute attention to details. I really look forward to my volunteer work with them during collaborative Filipino community efforts.
The stuff the Sterns are made of embody the qualities of loving-kindness and compassion. That’s my opinion. I believe that the Sterns truly enjoy their economic and cultural empowerment activities for the Filipinos in the Philippines and overseas. They are definitely “hands-on” humanitarians.
Another personal item: I don’t even dare call “Manang Yo,” Yolanda’s nickname, on her cellphone because she might answer her phone calls from who-knows-where-in-the-mountains-of-Mindanao. In any case, I’m being considerate about unnecessarily contacting this beautiful couple by phone unless it is really urgent.
Here’s what Tom and Yolanda have been up to. I hope the One World Institute gets more recognition, nationally or internationally, for its unheralded work that empowers disabled, economically-impoverished persons — soon!
At around 6:30 p.m. on March 29, 2008, I took a SuperShuttle from the Los Angeles International Airport to attend a book launching at Remy’s On Temple, smack in the middle of Historic Filipinotown. My friends, all Filipinas from Cebu who are the editors of BisayaBulletin.com, had helped organize this successful event. Who would greet me at the doorway of this art gallery if no other than the great Benito Miranda himself, the Territory Manager of Secure Horizons (by UnitedHealthCare)? If Benito isn’t busy “pushing” value-added Medicare plans and options, he networks in the golf course and at events (yeah, I still remember meeting him for the first time at a Filipinas Magazine Achievement Awards event a few years ago).
As one of Search to Involve Pilipino Americans’ (SIPA) board members and SIPA’s Past Board President, Benito made sure all of his friends knew about SIPA’s 36th Anniversary Awards Benefit Dinner on April 26, 2008. He is relentless, this Cebuano! And since we know that this is a worthwhile cause, we just need to spread the word! Well, Benito Miranda, you got your wish! Just make sure you show up at our October 2, 2008 Filipinas Magazine Achievement Awards event at the South San Francisco Conference Center, ok?
WHAT: Ang Bukas Ng Ating Pamayanan / The Future of Our Community
SIPA 36th Anniversary Awards Benefit Dinner WHERE: Sheraton Los Angeles Downtown
5:00 pm – VIP Reception
6:00 pm – General Reception and Silent Auction
7:00 pm – Dinner
8:00 pm – Awards & Entertainment
Emcee:Maria Quiban (My13/FOX-11) Scheduled Presenters:Cher Calvin (KTLA-5), Camile Velasco (Recording Artist), and the talented Basco Brothers Entertainment: Features the vocal stylings of Charice Pempengco and Natasha Godinez as well as performances by the SIPA and KELP (Kultural Enrichment Language Program) youth Special Features: The launching of two new SIPA videos: “A Day in the Life” and “Building a Dream”