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Visiting Pearl Buck's China
8/24/2015

“If you want to understand today, you have to search yesterday.” – Pearl S. Buck

It was a last minute trip – a chance email followed by a phone call and I was on my way to Nanjing, China. As a replacement for a surgical colleague who could not make the trip, I was going to Nanjing to work with the Children of China Pediatrics Foundation and to perform surgeries on orphans.

While I hurriedly prepared for the trip, my quick search of information on Nanjing turned up a mention of the Pearl S. Buck House at Nanjing University. As the first Welcome House child, my father, David Yoder, shares in the rich legacy of Pearl S. Buck’s humanitarian work. With help from Janet Mintzer and Pearl S. Buck International, I was able to arrange a visit to the house and the nearby Pearl S. Buck sites in Zhenjiang. Ultimately, these opportunities allowed me to better understand China of “yesterday” and helped me to make sense of China as I was experiencing it “today.”

I have had the privilege of travelling rather extensively and have spent time doing service work in places as diverse as Mongolia, Vietnam, Haiti, Bolivia and Tanzania. Despite my thick passport my initial experiences in China were intimidating. The airports were massive, the cities crowded.  Shiny modernity is pushed up against ancient sites of unfathomable age. With no talent for languages, eastern characters and sounds were lost to my understanding. Cultural sites of human dedication and persistence – the Great Wall, the Terracota Warriors – were perplexing in their massive scale and crude beauty. Of the places I have been, none seemed so different from the place I call home. China “today” is hard for me to understand.

As a fitting start, I toured Pearl’s house in Nanjing on the day of my arrival. Tucked in the University grounds, there are photographs and books displayed throughout the two story structure. It has beautiful windows which open out to the campus and let in the purposeful energy of the bustling students. There is a quiet in this place, a respite from the frenetic noise and clutter of the city and perhaps a recollection of a more simple “yesterday.”

   

The work of the Children of China Pediatrics Foundation took me inside two hospitals and an orphanage in Nanjing. I worked with other volunteer doctors and nurses and gave lectures to Chinese providers. We had banquets and parties and saw the great historical sites of Nanjing. Interwoven through these experiences was my growing understanding of Pearl Buck’s love of this country and especially these people.



Towards the end of the trip, I left my group in Nanjing and took a half-day trip to Zhenjiang. The modern efficiency of the bullet train beautifully contrasted with the historic home of Pearl S. Buck and the accompanying museum. Carefully curated the museum paints a vivid picture of Pearl Buck’s life in China and beyond.  I surprised the tour guide when I pointed out my dad (David Yoder) in one of the pictures of children from Welcome House. She was excited about the connection I had to Pearl S. Buck and more excited to hear my dad would be joining the PSBI cultural tour in September or 2015.


After a great visit at the house and museum, the highlight of my trip was the visit to the Chongshi Girls High School. Pearl S. Buck was a student at this school and later taught English on the campus. I it was here that I best understood Pearl’s passion and love for China and her people. My tour guides were two enthusiastic, curious, smart girls. Their beautiful English was punctuated with earnest teenage silliness. They showed me the cafeteria and the classrooms, the cool hang-out loft with beanbag chairs and pool tables. They were proud of the school museum and the areas for learning and practicing calligraphy, traditional dance, meditation and make-up application. I could have stayed there all day, soaking in their chatter about their studies and their plans for the future. Both girls were participating in upcoming trips to the United States – one with PSBI and one with a sister-city student exchange program - and they were both nervous yet excited about these far away adventures. This was the China of “today” that I could relate to and understand. This was the China that I am sure Pearl S. Buck loved – this hope, energy, enthusiasm, dedication and commitment – this “today” owns the beauty and passion of a more simple, but just as determined, “yesterday.”


China is still intimidating to me. Unlike our culture in so many ways, its rich ancient, history, its complex “yesterday” guides its modernizing “today.” Touching the parts of China’s past that captivated Pearl S. Buck helped to personalize my involvement in work in this country. Her love for the Chinese people, children and culture, so masterfully expressed in her writing, live on in Pearl S. Buck’s legacy in China and beyond. I am proud to have a connection to her story and hopeful that my work in China can, in some small way, honor her legacy.

Day 5 Meet Michael Cotten, Set Designer for Pearl
8/24/2015

By Sue Ferrara, PhD
 

The title of set designer doesn’t begin to encompass in words the magic Michael Cotten creates on stage. In fact, Cotten himself says a more accurate job title is production designer. Visit his website and you’ll begin to understand the difference; his skill sets include design, theatrical staging, animation, electronic music and graphic arts.  Dig around on the Internet in the right places and you’ll learn that Cotten lived a colorful life on the West Coast, in San Francisco, where he honed his various skill sets. He is part artist, part musician (although Cotten would contest that label) and part magician; he calls upon all those burnished skills to bring audiences rich and memorable moments.

Born in 1950 in Kansas City, Missouri, Cotten went west in the late 1960s to attend the San Francisco Art Institute—an institution whose current website urges: “Push Beyond Boundaries.” Those old enough to witness the late 60s and early 70s in San Francisco remember the tumult of the times. If you missed that revolutionary era, writer Chris Carlsson documents it in his book Ten Years That Shook the City: San Francisco 1968-1978. In that atmosphere, Cotten worked and grew as an artist or as he noted in a phone interview, an “anarchist painter.”

Cotten fell in with a group of like-minded artists and musicians and became a member of a rock-group called The Tubes (as in the slang name for television, not the public transportation in London). In a 2004 San Francisco Chronicle story, Cotten revealed he and Tubes cohort Prairie Prince painted buildings all over San Francisco. But first, the two practiced painting murals on their bedroom walls. "We made the walls disappear," Cotten told music critic Joe Selvin. Cotten and Prairie Prince then branched out to larger venues; according to Selvin’s article the two artists “worked up to major pieces like the blue sky and clouds they airbrushed on the ceiling of downtown's City of Paris department store, the huge painting of waves over the Cliff House or the flying records that soared above the A&M Records lot in Hollywood.

As a member of The Tubes, Cotten played synthesizer, although Selvin wrote Cotten preferred to think of himself as “a machine operator, rather than a musician.” Cotton also helped plant the seeds of musical performance art which would one day become the music videos and spectacular concerts we have become used to seeing in stadiums, arenas and in Las Vegas. The Tubes were well known on the West coast. In a 2006 obituary for Vince Welnick (the last drummer for The Grateful Dead, who started with The Tubes) San Francisco Chronicle reporter Carolyn Jones captured the essence of The Tubes and what made the band different.  “The Tubes toured constantly, and their rowdy antics and energetic shows -- which integrated rock music, video technology and outlandish costumes and sets -- earned them a devoted following.”

Cotten was behind the costuming, the video backgrounds and sets, and he also designed the album covers for the band. The Tubes disbanded in 1986 and Cotten went east to New York City. He continued painting large murals and he parlayed his performance art experience into a career which has involved working with some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry including Shania Twain,Michael Jackson and Bette Midler. In a preview piece about the San Francisco opening of Midler’s 2004 Kiss My Brass production, Chronicle critic Selvin called Cotten a “cunning set designer.”

So what magic does Michael Cotten have in store for Pearl audiences? Cotten calls Pearl a “subtle production.” Unlike much of his work which revolves around a star performer, Cotten said, “there is no star person to focus on. It’s a dance story.” Like a good magician, he holds his secrets close. Cotten wouldn’t give up much information about Pearl.

He says working on the cross-cultural production has been “the best part of the process. During the news conference announcing the project, Cotten told reporters “I am so honored to be with this group of incredible artists. [These are] the kind of people I dreamed of working with my whole life. It’s the team that I want to be with.”

This is Cotten’s first show at the Lincoln Center and the Dave Koch Theater is one of the smaller venues he has worked in. He noted that director and choreographer Daniel Ezralow, the man who doesn’t limit dancing to the floor, needed Cotten to render some ideas with computer modeling to see if what looked good in Ezralow’s head work in reality. “The show is very precise,” noted Cotten.

You would think after all of Michael Cotten’s artistic adventures and accomplishments, Pearl would be just another project. But that’s apparently not the case. In the news conference (Cotten begins at 13:50 on the video) he said, “I’ve spent my whole life bringing theatrical magic to music shows and [Pearl] is a dream come true because it’s music and dance with a real positive message.”

 

 

Day 4 Meet Daniel Ezralow, Director and Choreographer for Pearl
8/21/2015

Daniel Ezralow

By Sue Ferrara, PhD
 

When reading about the career of
 Pearl director Daniel Ezralow, one makes some interesting observations.  First and foremost, for Ezralow, dancing doesn’t merely happen on stage. Why not dance in the air, in the space above the stage?  Secondly, Ezralow can make himself at home in new cultures. Born and raised in Los Angeles and a graduate of UC-Berkeley, Ezralow has been called upon to work in places like Italy, Russia and China. He quenches his thirst for knowledge through life-long learning and he truly “gets” Pearl S. Buck.

Daniel Ezralow came to dancing late, according to the
 New York Times, at the age of nineteen. But clearly this late bloomer found his passion and turned it into a career. He has made his mark by being different, by dancing outside of the box, shall we say.  He told a New York Times reporter that he “rebels against categorization” adding “I still want to take the object used many times for a singular purpose and show you a million other things it can be used for.”  Ezralow grows with every new experience.

In his early career, Ezralow did Dannon© yogurt commercials in Italy. He directed and choreographed the
 Opening for the Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. He was the choreographer working alongside creator Julie Taymor on the Broadway show Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. The show saw its share of complications, eventually leading to the dismissal of Taymor and the end of a job for Ezralow. But leaving the spider web led Ezralow to China to work with the creative director at Shanghai City Entertainment on a re-imagined version of the Nutcracker ballet; this one titled Nutcracker Magic.
 
Ezralow reveals a fascination with history as evidenced by a 2014 story in
 The Jewish Journal about the origin of the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre in Los Angeles. The amphitheater began as The Pilgrimage Theater when Pittsburgh Paint heiress Christine Wetherill Stevenson purchased the land after visiting Jerusalem. She wanted a location to present her play about the life of Jesus.  Ezralow told a reporter, “To buy a hillside and then to finance the building of a theater of your dreams, of trying to make it look like Jerusalem, and then to write a play and then to present it … how many people would do that today?” 
 
That brings us to the upcoming production of
Pearl and the life of Pearl S. Buck.  Ezralow, in preparation for the production, traveled to China to see where Pearl lived as a child (Zhenjiang) and as a young adult (Nanjing).  He talked with people. He read. In each interview about the production, Ezralow shows he understands the internal struggle Pearl Buck faced in a world that likes to assign easily identifiable labels to people. He realizes she shouldered two identities: American and Chinese. “She was a person who was a person who was a foreigner in her own land,” said Ezralow.

“I learned a lot about this woman who didn’t know where she should be, or shouldn’t be. She was a stranger—and at home—in both lands,” Ezralow continued. “She spoke with an Eastern head through a Western voice. So, she was maybe one of the only people that could communicate to the West what the East was about.”

Despite all his previous artistic adventures, Ezralow comes to Pearl with excitement. At a
 news conference announcing the show, Ezralow said, “it’s an extraordinary thing to be asked to do something that is so cross-cultural and in a sense uniting two sides of the Pacific Ocean.”

Soon we will see Pearl Buck’s life, as interpreted by Ezralow and his co-creators, through movement, music and visuals.  But don’t expect that movement—“the language that needs no words” according to Ezralow—will remain within a tidy space on the stage.

 

Day 3 The Genesis of Pearl, the Show
8/19/2015

By Sue Ferrara, PhD 

 

Often writers and artists like Pearl S. Buck become lost and then found again over time.  And in the case of Ms. Buck, her rediscovery is happening in two places—China and the United States.  It began in 1998 when Cambridge University Press released University of Pennsylvania professor Dr. Peter Conn’s book, Pearl S. Buck: A Cultural Biography. Buck’s best known work, The Good Earth, received a boost in 2004 when Oprah Winfrey selected the work for her book club. In 2010, Simon and Schuster published Pearl Buck in China by British author Hilary Spurling (the UK version is titledBurying the Bones) and 2011 brought to readers Pearl of China by Chinese author Anchee Min.

Buck is still the subject of studies. Professor Conn noted in an email exchange, “interestingly, [Buck] is probably the subject of more attention (at least among academics) in China than in the US;” hereis an example.  In 2016, Roxanne Captor, in conjunction with the China Film Group, will begin production on a biopic of Pearl S. Buck, starring Juliette Binoche.  People wanting to connect with the author on a more personal level travel to Zhenjiang, China to visit her childhood home at 6 Lunzhoushan Road; or journey to her estate in Perskasie, Pennsylvania to tour the Pearl S. Buck House Museum, a National Historic Landmark site that includes an intact collection. 

Thus, when Angela Xiaolei Tang, CEO of Legend River Entertainment and representatives from Zhenjiang Media Group wondered how to create a show to be enjoyed by Chinese and American audiences alike, they found an answer:  the production should be about Pearl S. Buck, the writer who understood both Chinese and American cultures.

 “Pearl’s name and story are a bridge to cultural understanding and communication,” Tang said during a news conference announcing the production. “Her story was the one we saw as universal.” Pearl Buck, said Ms. Tang, tried to teach people not to fear what they did not know or understand.

Pearl will tell the story of Ms. Buck’s life using a well-known and well-loved ancient Chinese poem from the Tang Dynasty. Written by Zhang Ruoxu, the poem title translates to Spring, River, Flower, Moon, Night.

“We believe the use of visuals, sound, music and dance will create an experience which transcends language barriers,” in order to tell the story of this “great woman with her love for writing and children, and her optimistic attitude toward life despite all of the difficulties she went through,” according to Ms. Tang.

In preparation for his role as director and choreographer of Pearl, Daniel Ezralow traveled to China, visiting both Zhenjiang, where Buck lived as a child, and Nanjing, where she lived as an adult.  Ezralow said he learned much by examining the life of Ms. Buck.

“[She]was a woman who lived her life very powerfully,” said Ezralow. “She chose like a child, in a way, to see things for the first time with curiosity versus perhaps an adult that learns fear and protection. She welcomed every moment.”

It was Ms. Buck’s childlike curiosity that inspired Ezralow.

“I find that in life, if we look at things with curiosity, we open our hearts and deal with compassion, versus looking at something unknown and facing it with fear,” Ezralow explained. 

This observation seems to ring true in one of Ms. Buck’s children’s books, The Big Wave. Set on an island in Japan, two young boys learn about the realities of a volcano, the ocean and tsunamis. 

Kino, the son of a farmer who is afraid of the volcano and ocean asks his father: “Do you mean the ocean and the volcano cannot hurt us if we are not afraid?”

Kino’s father replies: “I did not say that. Ocean is there and volcano is there. It is true that on any day ocean may rise into storm and volcano may burst into flame. We must accept this fact, but without fear.”

This is the message Ezralow and Tang hope audiences will carry away: That we should emulate Pearl S. Buck and not wilt in fear when faced with the unknown.

 

 

 

Day 2 Meeting Pearl S. Buck
8/18/2015

By Sue Ferrara, PhD

We all come to know writers for various reasons. An English teacher or professor might introduce us. A librarian or a friend may recommend a particular book.  Or, one discovers an author during a time of need. For me, Pearl S. Buck became my go to writer after adopting a daughter from China in 1995. Somehow I had missed reading The Good Earth.  But when I wanted to better understand rural China, Buck’s book provided enlightenment. Then, The Good Earth went on my bookshelf and Buck didn’t return to my consciousness until 2003; and there she has loomed ever since.

In 2003, two weeks before the start of third grade, my Chinese-born daughter announced she was done with school. While I knew second grade had been a challenge, I sure wasn’t ready to hear: If you can substitute teach, you can stay home and teach me. No amount of discussion would change her mind and I learned very quickly why. She had been harassed about not really being Chinese because she didn’t speak the language, wear the right Chinese clothes, and she clearly didn’t have a Chinese mother. And so began our first homeschooling journey we titled: What Does It Mean to Be From Two Places?

We started by reading Homesick: My Own Story, the book written by children’s author Jean Fritz, another child of a missionary family.  Fritz was born in China and returned to live in the United States at the age of twelve. She wrote about the confusion she felt as a child. Born in Hankow, Chinese became her first language as she grew up with a Chinese nanny. Inside, she was Chinese, but the Chinese children called her a foreigner. And when she settled in America; she knew she was an American, but people treated her like an immigrant.  In a letter to Fritz, my daughter told the author she could relate to that confusion. We eventually lunched with Jean Fritz who told my daughter they were part of a special ABC Club –Americans Born in China.

Blogger's daughter and author Jean Fritz

Blogger's daughter and author Jean Fritz

We then studied Pearl Buck and traveled to visit Green Hills Farm in Perkasie, Pennsylvania. We loved touring the author’s home. We saw items, like shoes for bound feet, which brought a reality to what we had read in Fritz’s book. We were fortunate to see Buck’s daughter, Janice Walsh, toiling in the garden. What a gift. A young child who came to a family through the magic of adoption sees an adult who joined her family the same way. I also learned that day about Buck’s funding of PKU research and the book she wrote about her biological daughter, Carol, titled The Child Who Never Grew.

My daughter and I ended our visit to Green Hills Farm by sitting in a chair and looking out over the vast grounds. What a magnificently serene place; no wonder Buck liked living and writing there.  My daughter wrote a paper about her visit back then; I chuckled when finding it today. She noted she and Pearl Buck were both homeschooled and that Buck had started the adoption agency, Welcome House. In the one page report, she opened: I can’t believe she had six children!  She liked Buck’s cozy little bedroom and she liked that her house was peaceful and big! The visit, as I had hoped, brought some healing.

And now I find myself writing about this woman who played such an important role in my life during a time of need.  In preparation for the next two weeks of blogging, I have been reading and learning more about this prolific author.  There are two documentaries—both available in the gift shop at Pearl S. Buck International.  Pearl S. Buck: A Life, A Legacy produced by Continental Film Alliance, and East Wind, West Wind: Pearl Buck, The Woman Who Embraced the World.  And next year, Roxanne Captor begins production, in conjunction with the China Film Group, on a biopic of Pearl S. Buck starring Juliette Binoche.

And Buck didn’t just write fiction. I was directed to her book of essays titled American Unity and Asia. The essays exam what Buck called “race prejudice.”  While difficult to find, locating and reading the book is well worth the effort. These essays show Buck as someone who was not afraid to take unpopular stands and argue them persuasively.  She also wrote children’s book and I was especially taken with one titled, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John about the abandoned children of Korean mothers and American soldiers.

The above citations only scratch the surface of what Buck left behind for us to explore. While hunting down an op-ed piece in the New York Times which Buck responded to (her response opens the book American Unity and Asia) I discovered in 1941 alone, a dozen entries under her name in the New York Times Index.  An EBay search generated close to 1,500 hits, including old magazines containing her articles.

This summer, I have been joyfully immersed in the life of this self-proclaimed culturally bifocal woman, Pearl S. Buck. And while I am looking forward to seeing the dance play about her life titled Pearl at the David Koch Theater in Lincoln Center, I still have this one urge.  I wish I could send her a text asking: Can we do lunch?

 

 
 
Day 1 Blogging About "Pearl"
8/14/2015

How could anyone wrap up the life of Pearl S. Buck up into a cohesive multi-cultural dance play?  The answer to that question will reveal itself on Thursday night, August 27th at the David Koch Theater at Lincoln Center  in New York City with the premier performance of Pearl.

The creative minds behind the production include producer Angela Xiaolei Tang, CEO of Legend River Entertainment of China in conjunction with the Zhenjiang Media Group. The director and choreographer of Pearl, Daniel Ezralow, created the opening for the 2014 Winter Olympics held in Sochi, Russia.  Michael Cotten worked as the production designer for Pearl turning vision into stage reality.  And composer Jun Miyake crafted an original score 

These artists used as their inspiration a well-known and well-loved Chinese poem written by Zhang Rouxu during the Tang Dynasty. The poem’s title is sometimes simply translated as Spring, River, Flower, Moon Night.  

For the next two weeks, on the blogs maintained by Pearl S. Buck International, readers will learn more about the poem, the production and the people who had the vision and talent to bring the life of Pearl S. Buck to the stage in a very creative way.

Pearl runs for four performances:  August 27th at 7:30 pm, August 28th at 8:00pm,August 29th at 8:00pm and August 30th at 3:00 pm. So, make sure to get your ticketssoon. 

In the meantime, watch this space or this space!  Feel free to comment and send questions to: marketing@pearlsbuck.org

 

Pearl Buck's Camellias and Greenhouse
7/30/2015

By: Sue Ferrara, PhD

While perusing my Facebook page recently, up popped a post from the Pearl S. Buck Volunteer Association.  The message read: The Volunteer Association has started a campaign to raise enough money to save the Camellia greenhouse on the property. This greenhouse contains Camellias that were grown by Pearl Buck herself.  And then the message instructed readers to go here for more information.

My first thought? How did I miss seeing the greenhouse filled with camellias during my visit to Green Hills Farm? 

While I like to garden, my knowledge of camellias was limited to listening to former sports commentator Red Barber discuss his love of camellias and other things with NPR Morning Edition Host, Bob Edwards.  Mr. Barber tended camellias at his home in Tallahassee, Florida.  So off I went on an exploration using Google to see what I could learn about camellias and where they intersected with the life of Pearl S. Buck.

Camellias come from China, and author Anchee Min, writing in her book Pearl Of China: A Novel, noted the importance of these flowers in Chinese culture.

Indeed, camellias thrived during the winter season in Southern China. Their blooming branches could be seen on country hills and city streets. Chinese families loved camellias in their living rooms as ornaments. Camellias were among the most popular subjects for Chinese artists. (p. 266)

So we need not wonder where Ms. Buck developed her love for the blooms.

Probably the best place to start one’s education about these flowers is at the American Camellia Society website. So many species, so little time to plant and cultivate them all!  But I have to say, the thought of growing backyard tea was quite fascinating.

While Pearl Buck’s love of camellias undoubtedly began in China, she was also a part of a wave of Americans who in the early 30s and 40s decided to cultivate these beauties in the United States. Ms. Buck was joined in her love of growing camellias by Delaware’s Henry du Pont, newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst, and author Eudora Welty.

Then, Anchee Min’s story turned my Google search in a completely new direction when she wrote about Pearl’s gardener.

“The gardener suggested replacing the dying camellias with American winter plants, but Pearl refused,” the tour guide continued. “Pearl insisted on her Chinese camellias. They inspired her to write.”

A gardener; who was this person?  Google: Pearl S. Buck + camellias and bingo.  He was George Galla and his official title was groundskeeper or caretaker.  In a September 1988, nine months after the author’s death, then 60-year old George Galla did an interview with the Bucks County Morning Call. The first two paragraphs of the article read:

The glossy dark green Camellia trees are starting to show their flower buds, just as they have for the past 40 years. The native Asian plants, which will bloom in January are difficult to grow this far north. "I've been pretty fortunate with them," said George Galla as he stood in the greenhouse fondling one of the buds.

Pearl S. Buck loved her Camellias, Galla remembers, just as she enjoyed the asters, snapdragons, carnations and chrysanthemums that he grew for cut flowers to grace her house.

So where was Mr. Galla, I wondered.  And as it sometimes happens, this researcher got to the “too late” moment.  Mr. Galla died, at the age of 87-years old on June 14, 2015. His obituary noted: Mr. Galla was employed as a caretaker for the Pearl S. Buck Foundation in Perkasie for 45 years.

And for 45-years, Mr. Galla kept Pearl Buck’s beloved camellias alive and thriving.

Now, it’s our turn. My check for the Greenhouse Fund Restoration project is in the mail in honor of both Pearl S. Buck and Mr. Galla.  How about you?

Planting Seeds to end Stereotypes
4/30/2015

Pearl S. Buck once said, “The young do not know enough to be prudent, and therefore they attempt the impossible - and achieve it, generation after generation.”

Dispelling cultural myths and stereotypes may seem like a tall order in today’s world, but a small group of students have taken on that challenge. For the past six months, eight high school students from Montgomery County, in southeastern Pennsylvania have been working with 10 students from Zhenjiang, Jiangsu, China to explore cultural stereotypes in the media and popular culture.

Museum Connect Chinese StudentsImagine a world without stereotypes. Imagine the understanding and acceptance that results when individuals are exposed to the truth about culture by experiencing it firsthand. That is the value of a Museums Connectsm grant which fosters cross-cultural understanding through our Defining Culture in Popular Culture project.

The project is built on making connections. Not only the act of connecting with other students, but also drawing connections about each other from the interactions. The US students recently gave presentations about their experience in an effort to secure a spot to travel to China this summer.

In those speeches, many students remarked that their participation in the program translated into the realization that despite their initial perceptions, they found more similarities than differences between themselves and the Chinese students. It is this common ground that paved the way for the friendships that have resulted from this exchange. Imagine, cultures interacting through friendship not friction.

The program showed that information can ultimately lead to understanding and acceptance. A few students shared that until they were enrolled in the program their exposure to Chinese culture was limited; often fed to them through mass media in movies, cartoons and commercials.

As part of the program curriculum, the students created an art exhibit to design as one student put it, “physical representations” of the cultural views they held in their minds.Museum Connect US Students

What they discovered is that the movies, commercials and YouTube parodies neglected to show the modern day China they learned about through communication with the Chinese students in the program.

As they examined the media, the stereotypes became very apparent; not only in the media but in the classroom. One student shared how this new insight into the Chinese culture propelled him to stand up for an Asian American student in the classroom. Like Pearl S. Buck, he chose to raise his voice and move towards a solution instead of being a bystander.

The students who were selected to travel to China will live with families and immerse themselves into a culture independent of the boundaries of a hotel room that can be so far removed from the inner dynamics of living in modern day China. A group of Chinese students arrive today poised to experience the American culture while interacting with American families and students.

The enlightenment that results from the Museums Connect program will not dim. Instead it will continue to shine on in the lives of these students shedding light on the seeds that have been planted to grow a more fruitful life nourished with cultural acceptance, appreciation and engagement.

Visit www.pearlsbuck.org/definingcultures to read the students’ blog entries written as part of the Museums Connect curriculum. The art exhibit will be traveling to the local high school for display in May. One of the students produced a video to give a glimpse into the speeches and artwork displayed at a recent reception.  View it here.

*Museums Connectsm is made possible by the US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Alliance and is administered by the American Alliance of Museums.

Corporate Partners Offer Advice to High School Leadership Students
3/19/2015

The Pearl S. Buck International High School Leadership Program provides students with the ability, desire and skills to make meaningful, lifelong contributions within the community. Pearl S. Buck International’s more than 60 Corporate Partners were asked what is the best advice they could offer our high school leadership students to be successful in business today: 

Pearl S. Buck International High School Leadership Program

Deborah Wagner, The Graphic Edge, Inc.
My father always told me to reach for the stars and when you attain that, reach higher.  Also, never burn bridges, always have good customer relations and remember--personal communication is key, especially today when so many rely on email and social media.

Gabor J. Szokolyai, AFLAC
Make an achievable goal and try to achieve it by all means…not too high and not too low. Revise your goals every week.  This same approach applies to your studies since that’s where goal setting starts and continues into college and then your career. 

Nicholas Molloy, J. Carroll Molloy Realtor
Study hard, maintain a positive attitude and never give up, no matter how hard something is. This applies to your education and your career. Always be determined.

Susan Lane, Susan Lane Insurance
Take advantage of any computer or IT training while in high school.  Make sure you stay up to date on new developments in technology now, or you’ll pay someone else to do it later.

John Stanojev, Capital Insurance and Investment Planning, LLC:
You must be realistic about your capabilities and remove the emotion.  Knowledge is key and you must be able to use to the betterment of your clients and learn to apply the knowledge of tax law and its application to other circumstances.  Most importantly is relationship building. The relationships you establish in high school and college will be key to finding opportunities.

The High School Leadership program teaches today’s local students to become tomorrow’s global leaders. Sign up today

for our summer program at www.pearlsbuck.org/leadership.

How Pearl S. Buck Inspired Me
1/28/2015

Erin Adriaansen
2013 High School Leadership Program Graduate

Growing up in historic Bucks County, Ms. Buck’s influence can be seen everywhere but I did not really discover her legacy until I joined the Pearl S. Buck International High School Leadership Program in the fall of 2013.

Simply looking for a way to get involved in the community, I was fascinated by her mission and accomplishments. A woman in the early 1900’s taking a stand against racism was revolutionary.

Through the Leadership Program I designed a video for the global non-profit and created a raffle; sending proceeds to the victims of Typhoon Haiyan. This project not only helped me gain a sense of global awareness that I had never experienced, I worked with peers that were as invested in the cause as I was. Watch the video.

Since then I have invested myself in the Pearl S. Buck InternaPearl S. Buck High School Leadership Programtional and everything it stands for… carrying out Ms. Buck’s mission of love for all people, learning about new cultures and ending racism. These ideals are now part of who I am and I never would have learned the importance of cultural awareness if I did not become involved.

Today, I am a high school senior preparing to study marketing in college with a minor in international business and hope to study abroad in either Europe or Asia. Without the influence of Ms. Buck and her organization I would not have the aspirations I have today. It has made me the person I am and I would strongly encourage every teen to join the program.

High School Leadership Program Registration

Editor’s Note: Tell us how Pearl S. Buck inspires you by writing a blog post and emailing marketing@pearlsbuck.org or communicate it in photos by entering our photo contest at www.pearlsbuck.org/pearlbuckinspires.

Counting Blessings
11/24/2014

Apiradee's parents and neighborsAs Thanksgiving draws near, it is very easy to be mindful of all of our blessings. Many of us will gather around a table on November 27 and give thanks for the gift of food and family. But how many of us take the time to give thanks throughout the year?

At Pearl S. Buck International, we are reminded of the gift that comes with an expression of gratitude, because we see it in the heart-felt letters sent by the children in our child sponsorship program. Their expressions of gratitude bring the gift of a smile and warm the heart of their Child Sponsor who reads the letter.

We read letters from children who thank their Sponsors for the gift of school clothes, school supplies or gift money for life’s necessities. Like Chayanin from Thailand who wrote,

“I am gladdest to receive special cash gift to pay for traveling expenses when I go to see doctor for appointments, to buy a bicycle for riding to school and for fun, as well as to purchase a soccer ball for exercise with friends.  I would like to thank you from my sincere heart. I don’t know how to pay back to you properly. My maternal grandmother is so glad; she said you are kind hearted person in helping a poor boy like me. May obligation that you have done returns in blessing you to meet good things, to be wealthy, healthy, and strong always.”

However, it is the letters the children write to express their gratitude for intangibles that stir the heart the most. These are the letters that express gratitude for the intangible gift of inspiration that they received because their Child Sponsor wrote them an encouraging letter.

Like Jessie’s letter from the Philippines where she wrote, “Thank you also for your inspiring letter you always give me. I feel happy if ever I received letter from you that you care for me. Thank you for all the support and May God bless you always.”

In Giving We Receive

How many more blessings can we recognize in our own lives when we give to others who have so little? The sponsored children are so appreciative of the generosity of their Child Sponsors. Here is a line from a letter written by Chatchawarn from Thailand to his Sponsor.

“I am very thankful for your generosity to me. I wish you are happy, healthy, and strong always. I am very glad to be your sponsored child and to receive scholarship from you. I will pay very good attention in studying. Although I did not rank first of my classroom, I study hard all the time.”

Knowing that someone cares for us, is rooting for us or “has our back”, makes us want to be our best. Patcharin from Thailand is motivated for success because of the support of his Child Sponsor.

“I will study hard, and I will be a good child. I won’t make you disappointed with me. Thank you so much for your kind and continued support to me. You have helped me to have good opportunities. Finally, I wish you are very happy, healthy, strong, having progressive life, and meeting good things always. Thank you so much again.”

We hope that sharing the testimony from Sponsored Children who have been blessed with the gifts of hope, inspiration and motivation from their Child Sponsors, has warmed your heart this Thanksgiving. We wish you and your family a blessed Thanksgiving and give thanks for the blessings we have received.

For more information on the child sponsorship program, visit www.pearlsbuck.org/sponsorachild.

Embracing the Red, White and Blue
10/31/2014

Pearl S. Buck International offers opportunities to explore culture

It was an emotional day of fulfilled dreams, opportunity and hope.

For many, it was a culmination of years striving to attain citizenship in what is considered by many to be the land of opportunity. On October 24, Pearl S. Buck International hosted a powerfully-inspiring day where 48 individuals from 28 countries became United States citizens.

Standing firmly with their right hand raised high, these individuals boldly took an oath to support and defend the United States Constitution. Hearts pounded and tears flowed as a standing-room only crowd in the Cultural Center was united and washed in American pride.

The ceremony was very much aligned with Pearl S. Buck’s advocacy and her sentiment, as she expressed in this quote, “The strength of America is born from all peoples and her future depends on us all.  We must teach our children, native-born and foreign-born alike that there is no final America yet – that they are making America too, by what they themselves are – regardless of what others are.”

Pearl S. Buck understood the future of America depended on immigration. She wrote, “We need new life for centuries to come, perhaps forever. I should like, as an American, to think of America as forever the land to which the restless and the bold, the brilliant and the good, out of every people, could come here and make their home.”

Community businesses echoed this sentiment with an example of good citizenship at its best by donating a warm and inviting buffet lunch so everyone could celebrate the occasion together as family.

Multicultural programs at Pearl S. Buck House Pearl S. Buck International Cultural Center Welcomes New Citizens New US Citizens at Pearl S. Buck International Pearl S. Buck International Cultural Program
Central Luzon Tutorial Program Impacts Education
8/13/2014

For much of the world, this time of year heralds in the Back to School season. As students return to the world of reading, writing and arithmetic, the encouragement of a teacher can go far towards ensuring a successful year. The sponsored children in the Pearl S. Buck Foundation, Philippines program not only have skilled teachers but they have the added support of talented tutors who share their knowledge and love of learning in one-on-one tutoring sessions.


Through a partnership with The Angeles University Foundation, Gordon College, and Bulacan State University, college students facilitate tutoring sessions to help sponsored children to be successful in their academic endeavors. 

The dedication and commitment of these college-level tutors was recognized earlier this year in three separate recognition ceremonies held for each of the partnering educational institutions. Tutors received medals, certificates and plaques to commemorate their achievements.

Filipino college students partner with Pearl S Buck  Foundation
Gordon College supports Pearl S Buck Foundation Philippines Angeles City University program helps sponsored children
50th Anniversary: A Celebration of Mission and Moments
6/30/2014

Life is full of extraordinary moments. The evening of June 8th was just such a moment.

I had the pleasure of attending the Pearl S. Buck International 50th Anniversary Gala as an intern, and as a Welcome House family member. Just two weeks before the event, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Marketing Director Pam Carroll in an interview that turned into a conversation about finding my mission and your life’s path. We both agreed that nothing happens by accident and exchanged our Pearl S. Buck stories. It seems that everyone who is somehow drawn to Pearl S. Buck International has a story about discovering Pearl Buck’s mission and how it became their passion.

That same afternoon, my sister-in-law informed me that she had just bought tickets for the entire family to attend the Gala in appreciation for Welcome House, which was responsible for the addition of two remarkable babies who have grown into two remarkable young women, my great-nieces Emma and Grace. This night was about them as much as it was about anything else. That in itself was extraordinary.

The setting was the Margaret Mead House now owned by Helen and Christopher Round. I was greeted at the door by them, as they personally welcomed my husband and me into their home, and thanked us for coming. As I made my way from the living room to the dining room, I was greeted by Emma and Grace, who were enthralled by the beautiful display of 50 pieces of pearl jewelry on the table.

I had the pleasure of engaging Rosalind Wee, the 2009 Pearl S. Buck International Woman of the Year, in a conversation filled with her trademark grace and humor.

I was met by Tony Luna, vice president of relationship development, who made a point of seeking me and my family out. He provided a short history of the house for the girls and shared the connection between these two unique women who were contemporaries and champions of the difference one individual can make.

We proceeded to the backyard decorated with a large lit tent and tables filled with dignitaries, board members, honorees, and most importantly, family.  The spirit that filled the evening was one of true appreciation for every person there. The hors d’oeuvres and tall glasses of champagne flowed throughout the evening, and as the light began to dim, the music from Bob Miles’ band filled the night air.

Susie Woodland, whom I had only met a few days before, came over to the table as Pearl S. Buck, and graciously and personally welcomed Emma, Grace, and my entire family.

With the back porch as a stage, Tony introduced President and CEO Janet Mintzer, who spoke of the legacy and the mission of a woman who changed history and lives. She spoke of the importance of relationships, and the importance of connecting to each other and those who need us most.

My sister-in-law is a reader, a lover of books—the feel of the binding, the smell of the pages, the pictures in the words. She fell in love with Pearl S. Buck and The Good Earth in high school. She came back to the story and to Welcome House with her daughter to find Emma and Grace so many years ago.

That night, she waited for the auction of the book, signed by Miss Buck. When my brother-in-law won the bid for her, her eyes were filled with tears.

I sat and reflected as the night drew to a close. We were there as a family impacted by the advocacy of one woman’s vision decades before the term ‘global community’ became part of the vernacular. I was there as a new member of a much larger and more diverse family, but a family nonetheless, who now carried forward that advocacy. Emma decided that evening to become part of the High School Leadership program this summer. Grace wanted to go home and read the book.

There is a word in Irish for ‘welcome’.  It is Failte. Since it is Gaelic, it encompasses much more than the literal meaning of the word. It is the inclusion, the embrace, the gratitude and the hospitality traditionally given without reservation to family and strangers alike. I thought to myself, this was a night of Failte. Nana would have been pleased. So, for that matter, would have Miss Buck.

What a moment.

By Donna Hascup Carlson

Home is where the Heart is
4/30/2014

For most of us, our life story begins at home. This is universal regardless of where your family resides.  For 46 of our sponsored children and their families in the Ormoc region of the Philippines, their life story has been given a new chapter thanks to Pearl S. Buck International donors and sponsors.

These families were left homeless in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan in November last year. The caring individuals, sponsors and donors who reached out to Pearl S. Buck International saying they wanted to do something to help the Filipino people gave these families a renewed sense of security in a new home. But beyond the generosity of funding the building of a new house, our sponsors rebuilt the hopes and dreams of the sponsored children who rest at night knowing that individuals on the other side of the globe are rooting for them.

As an organization that opens doors to opportunity for these children, we are grateful to the individuals, corporations and sponsors who help to make this mission possible. www.pearlsbuck.org/opportunity house

Pearl S. Buck International Philippines relief efforts

Message from the CEO
3/19/2014

This year Pearl S. Buck International celebrates 50 years of service. Much has changed in the five decades since Pearl S. Buck penned the founding statement quoted on this page. We are now a global organization building bridges among cultures, celebrating diversity, interpreting and preserving the National Historic Landmark Pearl S. Buck House. But what was most important to Pearl S. Buck, the children, is still a central part of our mission.
In the early days of the organization, Pearl S. Buck would send out a team to research the needs of the Amerasian child in countries where our troops were stationed. She started by working in South Korea and went on to help children in the countries where we are working to this day. Pearl S. Buck raised money through Child Sponsorship, the same fundraising model we use today. Over the years, we know much more through the success stories of grown sponsored children and realize that helping one child at a time has a lasting impact for generations to come.
When Pearl S. Buck passed away, she left her Bucks County PA farmhouse to the organization so that it could be used to raise money for her children’s programs. Unfortunately, she did not leave money to support the organization or her house, and the burden of caring for a 68-acre historic house was probably more than anyone ever imagined. As a result, the house fell into serious disrepair, and it almost seemed an insurmountable burden to give it the attention and resources it needed.
Over the last dozen years, we focused on a strategy to restore the Pearl S. Buck House and gave special attention to how the house could be used to promote the continuing legacy of Pearl S. Buck. At the same time, we embraced cross-cultural appreciation and started leadership training for high school students focusing on the need for humanitarianism throughout the world. In doing so, the organization began to truly reflect Pearl S. Buck’s life and dreams.
Now that the Pearl S. Buck House is completely preserved, the organization’s fundamental responsibility of telling Pearl S. Buck’s story, building bridges between cultures, and helping children in our own backyard and around the globe continues to change lives and inspire a new generation.
For fifty years, Pearl S. Buck International has lived up to our founder’s commitment and broadened her reach. It has been an incredible journey that beckons us to remain stewards of Pearl S. Buck’s vision in the years ahead.

Janet L. Mintzer, MSW
 
President & CEO
Pearl S Buck International



 



 



Pearl S. Buck's Desk: The Legendary Desk behind the Literary Legend
12/23/2013

In a mood of faith and hope my work goes on. A ream of fresh paper lies on my desk waiting for the next book. I am a writer and I take up my pen to write. - Pearl S. Buck

Pearl S. Buck Library Good Earth DeskPearl S. Buck's desk in the large library of the Pearl S. Buck House

Pearl S. Buck was an extremely prolific writer and is credited with over 1,300 literary works. However, the desks she sat at to create her literary works were few.

This desk is the one she credits where her “serious writing” began for it was at this desk that her characters came to life for her. The majority of her early writings occurred at this desk, including the second most-widely-read book of the 20th century, The Good Earth.
 
This pedestal writing desk made of Chinese late Qing Dynasty design in zitan wood was first used in her attic office in Nanjiing, China overlooking Purple Mountain. The desk dates from the 19th century and is constructed in three parts: the shallow super structure of rectangular shape comprising of frame and panel top, over a frieze of raised panels, fitted along the front with three drawers; the pair of support sections each contain a pair of drawers to front and a deep panel to side above molded square legs conjoined by an open lattice work stretcher shelf.
 
Ms. Buck was so much at home at this desk while writing, that she brought the desk to the United States with her in 1934. It accompanied her wherever she settled; in New York from 1934 to 1938 and then in Perkasie, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Ms. Buck moved it briefly to Philadelphia in the early 1960’s but later settled it into her home at Green Hills Farm, known today as the Pearl S. Buck House. Originally, the desk was placed in Ms. Buck’s office with an east-facing orientation. Several years later, it was moved to the large library. After placement in multiple locations in the large library space over time, she moved it to its current position, facing east in the center of the room.
 
Today, visitors to the Pearl S. Buck House can tour the national historic landmark site year-round to view the desk and typewriter that launched the literary legend of Pearl S. Buck. www.pearlsbuck.org.

Child Sponsorship:Shedding Light this Holiday
12/5/2013

As 2013 draws to a close, it is natural to reflect on the months that have come and gone. Beyond the consideration of whether we loved, lived or laughed, many will find ourselves pondering how purposeful our days and moments were. Did we make an impact? Did we matter? Individuals looking for a sense of purpose this season should look towards child sponsorship through Pearl S. Buck International’s Opportunity House program. Child Sponsorship sends a message to Sponsored Children that they matter. Child sponsorship lets Child Sponsors know that their lives matter, too.
 
                                                             Child Sponsors are Dream Makers
 
A sponsored Child with his TutorBeyond the basics of food, water and shelter, child sponsorship provides opportunities and hope for children through education and it is that education that becomes the fuel for their dreams. The gift of child sponsorship is a ticket to dream.

It is a pathway out of poverty and despair. Knowing that someone, somewhere cares for them, not only brings the outside world closer for the sponsored children, but it gives them the tools they need to be successful.

Education is by far one of the most powerful tools they can have in their toolbox to build self-reliance and self-esteem in order to construct a solid future. Child sponsorship enables children to remain a vibrant part of a community where they can have impact and break the cycle of poverty and suffering.
 
                                                                  Bringing Peace, Joy and Light
 
We invite you to shed some light this holiday season. Child sponsorship brings light into the life of a child. Changing the life of a child as a child sponsor also brings joy and light into the heart of the sponsor, adding meaning to their life, and yes, it will matter. www.pearlsbuck.org/sponsor.

2013 Woman of the Year: Esther Hewlett
11/11/2013

Awakened to her Life’s Work because of Pearl S. Buck

As a junior in High School, Esther Hewlett got the opportunity to travel to Malaysia as a foreign exchange student.  While she did not know it at the time, the trip would open up her world in ways that far exceeded what life had been like growing up in Geneva, Illinois.  The Asian culture and people resonated so much with her that when she returned to Illinois she read everything about that part of the world that she could.  In her search to become well versed in the subject, she was introduced to the writings of Pearl S. Buck and became an immediate fan.

Ms. Hewlett admired Pearl S. Buck for her ability to “bring together the two worlds” and for her uncommon way of looking at the world. “She is just a fascinating character to me. She was quite visionary for her time. People listened to her, people were reading her books and she had a way of introducing people to another part of the world.” Hewlett remarked.
 
Esther Hewlitt and Eva Fong in Taiwan in 2012Forty-five years ago, Esther was finishing up her sophomore year at Stanford studying Chinese. She was familiar with the Pearl S Buck Foundation and decided to write to Pearl S. Buck to see if she could get involved in anyway. Within the month, not only had she exchanged letters with Pearl S Buck and the Foundation staff, she was on a plane to Taipei, charged with the task of conducting a research study to see if there were Amerasian children to support a Pearl S. Buck Foundation office in Taiwan.

She worked alongside Eva Fong, a social worker, and communicated back to the US office that yes, Taiwan could support a Foundation office. After reading the reports on the work Esther did in Taipei, Pearl S. Buck sent Esther two inscribed books at the end of that summer in 1968 and invited her to visit sometime.

The trip proved more than a statistical study for Esther. “Seeing the difficult situations that existed for these Amerasians, I realized that I could be a part of the solution and that was very empowering. It had never occurred to me before.” Esther explained.

Today, Ms. Hewett is recognized for her activism and humanitarianism and credits Pearl S. Buck for the inspiration to do the work she does. “My activism and humanitarianism have been very much influenced by Pearl S. Buck. She awakened me to my life’s work,” Hewlett said. That life’s work includes being a founding donor of the Global Fund for Women which advances the rights of women and girls worldwide by increasing the resources for and investing in women-led organizations and women’s collective leadership for change. In 2002, Esther Hewlett founded Youth Philanthropy Worldwide (YPW), to engage youth in philanthropy and social change at both the local and global level. In 2008, the organization merged with Youth Re:Action Corps and is now known as New Global Citizens. Its mission is to inspire youth to be engaged global citizens with programming to provide students with a global perspective, an opportunity to create change, and the skills needed to thrive in a global knowledge economy.

Esther finds it remarkable that someone that she never got to meet in person has had such an influence on her life for the past 45 years. As Esther reflects on being honored as the 2013 Woman of the Year, her mind goes back to the moment when Pearl S. Buck said yes and took a chance on her and now realizes what a pivotal point it was in her life.

“I am very grateful for the opportunity presented with this award and feel extremely honored to be connected to her in this way.” Hewlett expressed. Esther Hewlett will be honored with the 2013 Woman of the Year Award on Wednesday, November 13 at Pearl S. Buck International in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. More information can be found at www.pearlsbuck.org/woty.
 

Bringing the World Closer
10/2/2013

September gave Pearl S. Buck International two great opportunities to bring the world a little closer.  As many people know, Pearl S. Buck grew up in multiple worlds, living the first 40 years of her life in China, and the second 40 years of her life in Bucks County, PA, so much so that she titled her autobiography, My Several Worlds. Many remember her as the bridge to the East and the West, and Pearl S. Buck International continues that legacy today by building a global community through international adoption, child sponsorship, multicultural programming and the preservation of the Pearl S. Buck House.

Pearl S. Buck International building bridges for a global communityLast month, Pearl S. Buck International hosted a Global Conference on the grounds of the national historic landmark Pearl S. Buck House. The week-long conference is held every other year for the executive directors, staff and board members of our overseas affiliates and partners in China, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, The Philippines, and Vietnam to foster the exchange of ideas, best practices and thought leadership. This was a particularly exciting year, because it was the first year the Global Conference was held in the United States.
 
In the end, while much information and educational material was imparted, the best outcome of the conference was the blending of cultures and mutual appreciation for the work accomplished to continue the legacy of Pearl S. Buck both in the East and West.
 
While our overseas affiliates see firsthand how sponsored children benefit from the programs in their countries, their attendance at a Living the Legacy fundraising breakfast on September 20th enabled them to experience the mission and legacy on a whole new level.
 
As guests at the breakfast, they listened to compelling stories from adults, once sponsored children, who gave testament to the power of a $25 monthly donation from Sponsors. Their stories were not only about the individual lives that changed as a result of a Sponsor caring enough to help them receive an education, they told about the life they are leading now as parents, physicians, Army Staff Sergeants, executives and other business professions. 
 
Many lives and many spirits convene each day on the grounds of the home that Pearl S. Buck lived in for 40 years, but it was never more apparent than through this unity of spirit during one incredible week where cultures merged.  Pearl S. Buck reflected on the same sentiment in her autobiography when she said, “Our contribution to the solutions to the world’s problems will come only from the working of the American spirit.” The American spirit was abounding as our affiliates from abroad met with many Sponsors who attended the breakfast. Everyone left the breakfast and our country knowing that child Sponsors continue to be part of the solution in changing lives. Visit r to meet the children who hope for an opportunity to receive an education through the generosity of the spirit of a Child Sponsor. 
 

Steps in the Right Direction
6/14/2013

Arcel Arrofo with her new shoesThe Pearl S. Buck Foundation, Philippines recognized the achievements of sponsored children during a special summer program held Fiona Escano with her new shoesrecently in Bulacan.  Through the generosity of our Opportunity House Global Marketplace supporters, these outstanding children were able to purchase new school shoes.

The gift of a new pair of shoes does more than protect their feet. These shoes not only enable them to get to school, they are a constant reminder of the rewards of hard work which motivates them to continue to achieve success in school. Seeing the shoes on their feet also warms their hearts with the knowledge that someone had their best interest at heart and wanted them to put their best foot forward. 

We are grateful to all of our Opportunity House Global Marketplace supporters who contributed to the success of the program.  For more information visit, www.pearlsbuck.org/marketplace.

In Memoriam: Jean Stapleton
6/3/2013

Beverly Sills, Dom Deluise, Jean Stapleton, John Shade, Carol DeluiseMany will remember her for her success in the role of Edith Bunker on the hugely successful sitcom, All in the Family. Yet here at Pearl S. Buck International, we mourn the loss of a dear friend and advocate. Jean Stapleton upheld Pearl S. Buck’s legacy as a Child Sponsor from 1978-2007. She sponsored two Vietnam children over that period of time and also served the organization as an Honorary Board Member.

In 1988 she was honored with the 10th Annual Pearl S. Buck International Woman of the Year award, pictured below.

For years, visitors to Pearl S. Buck’s national historic landmark home, The Pearl S. Buck House in Bucks County, Pennsylvania were welcomed by a videotaped message from Ms. Stapleton before they began the guided tour of her home. We are grateful to have worked with her on behalf of the over two million children and families who have been touched by the Pearl S. Buck legacy.

Tutor Strength: Pearl S. Buck International's Philippines Office Partners with Higher Education to Educate Sponsored Children
1/29/2013

Pearl S. Buck Foundation’s sponsored children on site at the Angeles University  Foundation (AUF) in Pampanga to participate in the Tutorial Program.Pearl S Buck International's affiliate office, The Pearl S. Buck Foundation Philippines is a true testament to what it means to carry out the Pearl S. Buck legacy.  Upholding Ms. Buck’s commitment to enabling children to receive an education, the Foundation has partnered with higher education institutions, the Angeles University Foundation (Pampanga), the Gordon College (Zambales), and the Colegio De San Gabriel Arcangel (Bulacan) to match college students with sponsored children for a personalized tutorial program.
 
Foundation Executive Director, Margarita Lavides gives a detailed account of the successful program:  Each sponsored child is given his or her own tutor (a college student) who prepares a specific lesson plan according to the child’s needs. The lesson plan is based on the results of pre-test, designed by the higher education teachers to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the sponsored children. After all the sessions, the children take a post-test. The outcomes of the pre-tests and post-tests are used to evaluate the program. The program culminates in a Recognition Day ceremony which highlights the hard work of the children and tutors. All children and tutors will receive certificates of participation while outstanding performers will be awarded with medals.

Caysilyn, one of Pearl S. Buck Foundation’s sponsored children in Pampanga,  receives her Red Cross Accident Insurance Card.Aside from enhancing the sponsored children’s English proficiency, the Tutorial Program has other benefits. The tutors assist the participating sponsored children prepare letters and cards for their Sponsors. The children were also given Red Cross Accident Insurance which is valid for one year as well as their own Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary and Thesaurus which they can use until they reach college level. Furthermore, healthy snacks are served during tutorial sessions to help address the problem of malnutrition among the children.
 
Integrated in the Tutorial Program is the life and works of Pearl S. Buck. A special session has been assigned wherein tutors discuss her biography and award-winning novel “The Good Earth” with the sponsored children. The tutors are required to submit their own book reviews of the novel. Afterwards, there is a Quiz Bee to test the children’s and tutors’ knowledge concerning Pearl S. Buck and “The Good Earth.”
 
Through the Tutorial Program, there has been an increase in the communities’ awareness regarding the mission and contributions of the Pearl S. Buck Foundation. This certainly promotes greater understanding and ensures future sustainability for the programs and projects of the Foundation as well as helps it secure more worthwhile partnerships in the near future.
 

Hurricane Sandy Left Its Mark on Pearl S. Buck International
12/12/2012

The Pearl S. Buck Grave Site After Hurricane Sandy  (The headstone was flipped over by large tree behind it)Hurricane Sandy blew through our PA property two weeks ago and left many downed trees in its wake. Fallen trees mixed with electrical wires and cables across our driveway forced the closure of The Pearl S. Buck House for five days. Our offices were closed Monday and Tuesday. Fortunately, staff was able to enter the building using a private driveway at the back of the property.  Telephone service was restored Thursday evening, but our electric provider was not able to send out a crew to address the trees in the driveway until mid morning Friday.  Once the trees were removed from the driveway, our Internet service was restored Friday evening.  On Saturday evening, the electric company established lighting along our driveway just in time for the “Welcome Home,” the play we hosted from West Virginia the weekend after the storm.   
 
Most importantly, all of our buildings on the property, especially the Pearl S. Buck House, are safe and sound. Sadly, the gravesite of Pearl S. Buck was devastated by the storm.  A strong gust of wind knocked out 8 or more trees in the area of the gravesite area, and the headstone on the grave was flipped over along with movement in the surrounding cement columns surrounding the grave when a tree behind the headstone fell. There is a significant amount of cleanup work needed to bring the area back to its original beauty.  In addition to the losing a number of trees along the drive way, what was once the wooded area next to the gravesite, now looks like a clearing with fallen trees.

Given all of the above, we are happy to be back to our daily routine and look forward to our Festival of Trees Exhibit opening tomorrow for our daily tours to conclude at the end of the year.  Our 7th annual members event, a holiday reception, and candlelight tour of the Pearl Buck House, is also Tuesday 11/13 at 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm, and our Juried Craft Show begins November 23rd for 10 days.  You can find more information about all of these events on our website.  The holidays are a family tradition at Pearl S. Buck International, and I hope you will share them with us.
 

Addressing the Needs of Children in Adversity
12/9/2012

On Christmas Eve, 64 years ago, Pearl S Buck stood up for one of the world’s neediest children when she welcomed a child into her home who faced adversity and discrimination because he was biracial.

This heart-filled humanitarian act gave birth to a legacy that would impact the lives of 2 million children and families as Pearl S Buck began to create global communities through child adoption and child sponsorship. Her legacy is alive and well today as Pearl S Buck International upholds her mission and continues to bridge east and west; bringing the world closer. You may say that the mission is a personal matter for our Chairman of the Board. You see, David Yoder is the child who was welcomed into the arms of Pearl S Buck on that Christmas Eve night in 1948.

So it is in this spirit that we are celebrating today’s news that the United States Government Action Plan on Children in Adversity is being launched.

The Action Plan on Children in Adversity is particularly significant as it is the first-ever strategic guidance for U.S. Government international assistance for children 0 to 18 years of age who are affected by HIV/AIDS, orphans, trafficked, exploited for child labor, in disasters, recruited as soldiers, neglected, or in other vulnerable states. It is also unique in that seven agencies and departments have agreed to align funding in pursuit of common goals that address the needs of vulnerable children.

Inspiring Fundraising Breakfast
9/20/2012

Cardboard TestimonialsYesterday was incredible at Pearl S. Buck International.  We held our second annual fundraising breakfast in the garden tent with more than 210 people in attendance. The morning was all about mission - and how our programs are making a difference.  It started with cardboard testimonials featuring people whose lives have been changed by the legacy and dreams of Pearl S. Buck. I honestly had tears in my eyes when I saw the messages on the cards.  We were all inspired and touched by the presentation by Saowalack. She was in our child sponsorship program in Thailand and is now a director at a top fashion design company in NYC.  She told the story of how her life was changed by her amazing sponsors. We were all inspired by a new video shown at the breakfast too.  (you can watch the video using the link below)  Special thanks to Anexinet, Local Living, Barrie Audio Video, Open Aire Affairs, Comcast, Aaron Mitchell Photography, Crystal Rose Catering, and Video Gold Productions for your sponsorship. In total, we raised $168,000 to date plus six new child sponsors. What an inspiring event!
Watch the inspiring video to learn more.

Pearl S. Buck Museum in Zhenjiang China Receives Gift from Pearl S. Buck International
7/31/2012

Gift of Quilt made by Helen WolfHelen Wolf, of Bucks County, PA, a volunteer at Pearl S. Buck International and wonderful quilter, donated this beautiful quilt for me to take as a gift to the Pearl S. Buck Memorial Museum in Zhenjiang (Jiangsu Province China), in celebration of its grand reopening on the occasion of the 120th Birth Year Anniversary of Pearl S. Buck. The quilt is being received by the Li Jinfu, Curator of the Pearl S. Buck Memorial Museum.

Pearl S. Buck Museum in Zhenjiang (Jiangsu) China is Amazing
7/31/2012

I had the honor of traveling to Zhenjiang (Jiangsu Province) China this past June for the 120th Birth Year Memorial Celebration of Pearl S. Buck. Zhenjiang is the area where Pearl S. Buck lived as a child and returned to teach after graduating from college. In total, Pearl Buck lived 18 years in Zhenjiang. The City of Zhenjiang embraced Pearl Buck and her legacy by renovating her former home and designating it as a National Historic Attraction. More recently, they renovated the beautiful Pearl S. Buck Museum which was built directly across from her historic home. Donna Rhodes, the Curator of the Pearl S. Buck House in Bucks County, PA, provided her expertise in the renovation, and our small group of twenty people were deeply impressed with the attention to detail and accurate transcriptions throughout the museum. I was most impressed with the timeline of books written by Pearl S. Buck, as I have never seen such a wonderful visual display of her books in one place. I could have spent the entire day in the museum looking at the displays, and I look forward to my return visit to Zhenjiang.  I encourage everyone visiting China to visit Zhenjiang and the Pearl S. Buck Musuem and Historic House there.  You will be amazed at the continuing legacy of Pearl S. Buck in China.

Timeline display of books written by Pearl S. Buck Replication of the living room in the Pearl S. Buck House in PA Bust of Pearl S. Buck a gift from Pearl S. Buck International donated by Bucks County Sculptor Madeline Smith
Timeline display of books written by Pearl S. Buck Replication of the living room in the Pearl S. Buck House in PA Bust of Pearl S. Buck a gift from Pearl S. Buck International donated by Bucks County Sculptor Madeline Smith


Janet L. Mintzer
President & CEO
Pearl S. Buck International

Bucks County Artist Aurelia Neives-Callwood Featured in Pearl Buck House in Nanjing
6/18/2012

Aurelia Painting DonationBucks County Artist, Aurelia Neives-Callwood, donated a beautiful painting of the Pearl S. Buck House Bell Door in PA (USA) which I presented to the restored Pearl S. Buck House on the Campus of Nanjing University at the grand opening ceremony. 

Pearl S. Buck Symposium in Zhenjiang, Jiangsu, China
6/8/2012

Pearl S. Buck Symposium in Zhenjiang, Jiangsu, ChinaYesterday was a very exciting day for the legacy of Pearl S. Buck.  The opening ceremony and symposium commemorating the 120th birth year of Pearl S. Buck was a huge success.  Robert Griffiths, US Counsel General, Ambassador Nicholas Platt, and many other dignitaries and scholars were in attendance.  Special thanks to the Zhenjiang Municipal Government and the Zhenjiang Pearl S. Buck Research Center.  Today, we will attend the grand re-opening of the Pearl S. Buck Memorial Hall in Zhenjiang.  More to follow
 

Doodle This!
6/1/2012

Pearl S. Buck International is recognizing the 120th anniversary of the birth of Pearl S. Buck on June 26 and we think that is “Google-Doodle-worthy.” 

We’ve all seen them…those great pieces of art that catch our eye as we launch our searches on Google. We are looking for Google to honor Pearl S. Buck on June 26 with a doodle.

As humanitarian, author, and child advocate, Pearl S. Buck touched the lives of two million. Pearl S. Buck International strives to uphold her legacy through adoption, child sponsorship and community cultural and writing programs.

Think about how many more lives we can touch if Google helps us build awareness through a Google Doodle.  Hundreds of millions of searches are conducted on Google each day. A Google Doodle will put her name in front every person who does one from the Google search page.

The Pearl S. Buck Birthplace in Hillsboro, West Virginia has begun a rallying cry to reach out to Google. We are echoing that cry here and are asking for your help.

There is no formal process for proposing a Google Doodle, and suggestions can come from anywhere. Google only takes suggestions via email at proposals@google.com. We are sharing a  template message below, drafted by Michael Toler, Ph. D from the Pearl S. Buck Birthplace Foundation, explaining why Pearl S. Buck is an important cultural figure. Feel free to cut and paste it, and to send it as is. Better yet, personalize it with your story, but keep it simple, polite and short. That way it is more likely to be read.
 
Time is of the essence, and we appreciate you sharing in our campaign to get a Google Doodle on June 26, honoring Pearl S. Buck on the occasion of  the 120th anniversary of her birth.
 ------------------------------------------------------
Dear Google,

With hundreds of millions of searches performed every day, a global reach into even most remote corners of the world, and a reputation for accuracy and reliability, to be the subject of a Google Doodle on your birthday or some significant anniversary has become a great honor. The late author and humanitarian Pearl S. Buck deserves such an honor and I am writing to suggest you consider running a Google Doodle on the 120th anniversary of her birth, which will be June 26, 2012.

Pearl Buck is best known as a novelist. She won a Pulitzer Prize in 1932 for her novel The Good Earth, and became the first American woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1938. She wrote prolifically throughout her life, and her work did a great deal to demystify China and Asian culture for the West. But she was more than a novelist: She was a tireless advocate for peace and cultural understanding, and she was a political journalist who felt compelled to speak out on civil rights and women’s issues.
 
In all, Pearl Buck published more than eighty books, including novels, story collections, nonfiction, translations and children’s books. Many were translated into different languages and published around the world. Fifteen were Book of the Month selections, and most were best-sellers. The fact that her work was so widely read is part of what makes her so important. The empathy she brought to her characters, be they Chinese peasants or American housewives, shaped the way a whole generation of readers felt about other nations and cultures. No wonder she has been praised by the likes of modern-day writers Maxine Hong Kingston and Toni Morrison.
 
Though she is most remembered as a writer, Pearl Buck’s humanitarian endeavors should not be overlooked. She was generous with her time, labor and money in support of causes she believed in, and there were many, many such causes. Most notably, she set up The Welcome House, an agency for the adoption of Asian-American and other mixed race children who, at the time were considered “un-adoptable” by most orphanages and placement agencies. Indeed, few people have done as much to change attitudes on the rights of the child as Pearl Buck.
 
Please consider a Google Doodle honoring Pearl S. Buck for June 26, 2012. She certainly deserves it.
 
Sincerely,
 

Nanjing University Grand Opening of the Pearl S. Buck Memorial House
5/31/2012
(Front L to R - Peter & Terry Conn, Janet Roberts  Back L to R - Steve Harnsberger, Janet Mintzer, Hilary Spurling)

 

I had a wonderful trip to Nanjing University for the opening of the Pearl S. Buck Memorial House in celebration of the 110th Anniversary of Nanjing University. What a wonderful way to celebrate the school's rich history by renovating the former home of Pearl S. Buck as a memorial to her.The University also conducted a Symposium on Pearl S. Buck's Years in Nanjing. It was so interesting to have authors Peter Conn and Hillary Spurling participating in the discussion as well as filmmaker Donn Rogosin and other important Chinese scholars such as Liu Haiping and Junwei Yao. I was truly humbled to be in their presence at such a momentous occasion.
 
What a wonderful experience it is to be continuing the legacy of Pearl S. Buck.
 
Janet L. Mintzer, President & CEO
Pearl S. Buck International

Pearl S. Buck International Orchestrates a Partnership
5/4/2012

Last night was pretty amazing.  I went to philanthropist Happy Rockefeller's home in NYC for a special reception to celebrate the launch of the Philadelphia Orchestra's Inaugural Residency in China, as part of my role on the Orchestra's Global Advisory Council.  The view from her Fifth Avenue apartment was directly over Central Park, and her home was beautiful.  Happy was warm and welcoming.  She told me that she has read many Pearl S. Buck books but has not visited the Pearl S. Buck House in Bucks County, PA, (yet).  Of course, I extended a warm welcome for her to visit soon.  Henry Kissinger was among the guests at the reception as well as Ambassador Nicholas Platt, PA Senator Mike Brubaker, and Freda Wang, Executive Director of Asia Society and 30 others.  When Allison Vulgamore, President & CEO of the Philadelphia Orchestra spoke, I could see why she is a compelling leader.  I actually got chills when she recalled that the Philadelphia Orchestra's visit to China in 1973 was to benefit the Chinese people, and today, through this new residency program in China, the Orchestra shall benefit as well as Chinese people. I sincerely hope that Pearl S. Buck International can help to build this exciting residency program in China. The initiative certainly fits with our mission to promote and develop an understanding of the value and attributes of other cultures, cross cultural appreciation and worldwide partnerships.  The Philadelphia Orchestra and Pearl S. Buck International are committed to a partnership with the people of China and a growing relationship built on trust and responsibility.  I cannot wait to see the Orchestra's performance in Shanghai on June 6th.  More to follow...

Janet Mintzer
President & CEO
Pearl S. Buck International

New Board Director a "Korean Crime Fighter"
6/16/2011

Pearl Kim, one of the newest members of Pearl S. Buck International's Board of Directors, is an Assistant District Attorney in the Office of the District Attorney, Delaware County, PA in the Special Victims and Domestic Violence Division.

Her passion for social justice comes naturally, and we can't help but wonder if there is a connection between Pearl Kim and her namesake- our founder, Pearl S. Buck, who was a civil rights and women's rights activist as well as a beacon of hope for underpriviliged children around the globe.

Click to read a recent article from Konnect Magazine about Pearl Kim and her reasons for becoming a special victims prosecutor.

Pearl Kim, one of the newest members of Pearl S. Buck International's Board of Directors, is an Assistant District Attorney in the Office of the District Attorney, Delaware County, PA in the Special Victims and Domestic Violence Division. Her passion fo
5/25/2011
Apl De Ap and Hine Ward Honorary Board Members of Pearl S Buck InternationalFor the second time this year, Hines Ward, of the Pittsburgh Steelers, and Apl.de.ap, of the Black Eyed Peas, were together at the same venue, only this time they had the pleasure of meeting each other.

In Super Bowl XLV, while Hines Ward and the Steelers were competing against the Green Bay Packers, the Black Eyed Peas performed in the half time show. Because they both serve as Honorary Board Members and are strong supporters of Pearl S. Buck International because of their similar background (they are both biracial with Asian mothers and African American fathers), they hoped to meet each other - but didn't have the opportunity to do so. So it was a great pleasure for them to meet on the set of Dancing with the Stars the night Hines Ward and Kym Johnson received the Mirror Ball Trophy as the best dancers on the show.
 
In the Semi-Finals of Dancing with the Stars, Hines Ward honored two of Pearl S. Buck International's "Fatherland Tour" program participants, a program that Ward sponsors every year. The two program participants, both girls, visited the United States as part of the program on two occasions which encouraged them to enroll in community college in Spokane, Washington. One of the girls, Jamie, always dreamed of being a ballroom dancer. Through a grant from Hines Ward's Helping Hands Fund, the girls flew into LA and enjoyed the show and dinner with Hines Ward, Kym Johnson, and Pearl S. Buck International's President and CEO, Janet Mintzer.
 
Leave it to Hines to be thinking of Pearl S. Buck International and the young people in our program while he is completing in Dancing with the Stars. He has a heart of gold and is 1st place in our hearts too.

 

Honorary Board Member Hines Ward Needs Your Vote on Dancing With the Stars
5/23/2011
Hines WardFans of Pearl S. Buck International who also enjoy following ABC's Dancing With The Stars have been in for a double treat as one of our honorary board members, Hines Ward, has made it to the final three on ABC's hit show.

Ward, wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers, is a strong advocate for biracial and multicultural children living in Korea. Since Super Bowl XL, he has sponsored “fatherland” programs through Pearl S. Buck International for these children to visit the United States. Ward also received the 2010 United Nations Positive Peace Award based on Pearl S. Buck International’s nomination.

We have been supporting Ward throughout his ten-week reign of success on Dancing With The Stars, and we encourage everyone to vote for him in the final battle for the mirror ball trophy tonight at 8:00 p.m. on ABC!

Additionally, during the grand finale at 8:00 p.m.Tuesday night, The Black Eyed Peas will perform their new single, ‘Don’t Stop the Party'. This is another special moment for Pearl S. Buck International because of our connection with the Black Eyed Peas' Apl.de.ap. Apl is another honorary board member who was a beneficiary of our Opportunity House Child Sponsorship program as a child in the Philippines.

This is the second time in four months that Hines Ward and Apl.de.ap will share a national stage (the first time was Superbowl XLV, when the Peas played the halftime show for the Steelers and Packers) and we don't think it's a coincidence.

Please tune in and support both of our honorary board members on the final episodes of Dancing With The Stars!

 

Dreams really do come true...
5/4/2011

I asked her what role Pearl S. Buck International played in her success today. Without hesitation and with a firm conviction in her voice, she said everything…”

Saowalack was abandoned by her American father, and her mother, a teenager, left her to go find work. Her grandmother raised her along with seven cousins, in a cramped slum dwelling in Thailand.

In her own words: “Because I was of mixed race, people would stare at me and my grandmother walking down the street and say why does she look like that? Children would torture me for my looks. They pulled my hair, flipped my skirt…they made it very painful for me…I had to fight…I had no friends.”

But she had her grandmother, the strongest person she knew...

...and her grandmother had Pearl S. Buck International.

Her grandmother enrolled her in Pearl S. Buck International's child sponsorship program, and along with her American child sponsors, would constantly encourage her…“do not be afraid…you are someone…you are strong” they would tell her……and they were right.

Deep down inside she had an immeasurable strength…a strength that would help her stay focused on her studies and on her true gift of creativity. “She would draw pictures constantly – and she was really good” recall her sponsors. With the help of Pearl S. Buck International, her grandmother and the encouragement of her child sponsors, she received A’s and B’s in school and was accepted into a top fashion design program.

Today – that tiny little girl – born into poverty, abandoned by her parents, and whose spirit was crushed on a daily basis – is a Director of Technical Design at one of the world’s leading fashion design companies in New York City.

Recently, she visited Pearl S. Buck International with her husband and child sponsors, Bill and Sharon. During their visit, they told us their story – and they asked us to convey a very special message to you…

They want you to know that whether you are one of our committed child sponsors, individual donors, or you are considering helping children for the first time while reading this blog entry…”your commitment changes lives…Saowalak’s story shows you that Pearl S. Buck International’s makes a real difference.”

I asked Saowalak what she would say to children, who, like her, face daily discrimination today because they are “different.” Once again, without hesitation and with a firm conviction in her voice, she said: “Dream. Your dream will come true. You have incredible strength. Don’t ever give up. It is hard, it is difficult, but I have found that I am someone…and so are you. I hope you will never give up.”

Pearl S. Buck International will never give up.

We will never give up Opening Doors of Opportunity for children in need.

But we cannot do it alone. We need your help. Together, we can help more children not only dream – but we can make their dreams come true. Click here to make a tax-deductible contribution that will give more children – who are dreaming of a better life right now – a chance to succeed.

Thank you so much for your partnership on behalf of all the children we serve. I sincerely appreciate your generous support.

Gratefully,
Anthony M. Luna
Vice President of Relationship Development
Pearl S. Buck Internaitonal
http://www.pearlsbuck.org/
tluna@pearlsbuck.org

New things happening at Pearl S. Buck International
3/8/2011

The new exhibit at the Pearl S. Buck House opened March1st.... "The Silver Screen at Green Hills Farm" which features the literature, radio, television, films and plays based on the work of Pearl S. Buck. There is a beautiful booklet available in the Pearl S. Buck International Gift Shop or on line at http://www.pearlsbuck.org/ which features photographs of Pearl S. Buck that we have never seen before. Again, the exhibit demonstrates how Pearl S. Buck lived a life ahead of her times. (If only I could be as advanced with social networking as she was utilizing the various media outlets featured in the exhibit.)

It was GREAT to learn that Hines Ward is Dancing with the Stars this seasson. The first show airs March 21st. Stay tuned and please vote for Hines Ward. The greater his visibility becomes on a national level, the more exposure and support he can bring to Pearl S. Buck International. Very Exciting... more blogs to follow on this topic.

I celebrated my 10th Anniversary at Pearl S. Buck International on February 5th, thanks to the outstanding support of our Board of Directors, staff, and volunteers. It is an honor and blessing to carryout such a meaningful mission. I truly believe that the future of Pearl S. Buck International is brighter than ever before, thanks to our strong Board of Directors, amazing volunteers, and dedicated, capable staff.


Janet Mintzer
President & CEO
Pearl S. Buck International

Apl.de.Ap of the Black Eyed Peas & Pearl S. Buck International
2/9/2011

This is a great news story about Apl.de.Ap of the Black Eyed Peas and his relationship with Pearl S. Buck International.

http://www.phillyburbs.com/news/news_details/article/305/2011/february/04/pearl-s-buck-international-gets-a-helping-of-peas-from-apldeap.html

Holiday Happenings already......
11/18/2010

The Pearl S. Buck House Festival of Trees opened to the public on Tuesday, and it looks awesome! Each room in the house has been decorated by a community group, business, or organizaiton. The entire house was transformed and has a wonderful holiday feeling which put me in the mood for our Holiday Members' Event on Tuesday evening. It was a nice evening with over 115 people attending. The food was deliciously catered by Temperance House (http://www.temperancehouse.com/) and our members seemed to enjoy the evening and even did a little Holiday shopping in our gift shop. Our wonderful volunteers are now off getting ready for our annual juried craft show which opens the day after Thanksgiving for a 10 day period. For the third year in a row, employees from Prodesco (http://www.prodesco.com/) spent the day with us yesterday helping to transform the cultural center into a winter wonderland for the craft show. I am so grateful for the wonderful support of all of the men and women who help us carry out the dreams and legacy of Pearl S. Buck. I can't wait until the craft show opens and hope to do some holiday shopping before my upcoming trip to Korea and China on December 1st. More on the trip in my next blog.
Janet L. Mintzer
President & CEO

Lots of activity at Pearl S. Buck International today...
10/13/2010

It was an incredible day! Pearl S. Buck International was rocking with activity. Reed Technology & Information Systems http://www.reedtech.com/ hosted a Fall Festival for their employees in our beautiful garden tent. Their event started off with a guided tour of the Pearl Buck House www.psbi.org/house and included a delicious pig roast provided by All About Catering http://www.all-about-catering.com/. At the same time, the Rotary Club of Doylestown http://www.doylestownrotary.org/ gathered for their board meeting on the first floor of the Cultural Center, and immediately after held their membership meeting and a buffet dinner on the 2nd floor. Concurrently, in our main office, our Welcome House program www.psbi.org/welcomehouse hosted an open house information meeting for families to learn about our adoption programs, while our weekly Yoga class met in another area of the building.

It was great to see so much activity and the legacy of Pearl Buck reaching out to so many people at the same time.
Janet Mintzer
President & CEO
Pearl S. Buck International

Sherry Tinsman Pearl Buck Bracelet
10/5/2010
Sherry Tinsman Pearl S Buck Bracelet Sherry Tinsman Pearl S Buck Bracelet Back

I'm so excited that Sherry Tinsman, well-known Bucks County Metalsmith, has designed a beautiful new bracelet which is being sold in the Pearl S. Buck International Gift Shop. It will be sold online on our website in a few days. You can see the photographs to know that it is beautiful and describes so well the founder of Pearl S. Buck International. Sherry has been a jeweler for 21 years working out of her Bucks County Studio. You can visit her website at http://mysite.verizon.net/vze1slqm/sherry_frames.htm. Most importantly, come and visit the Pearl Buck House and our renovated International Gift Shop. It is the first place you enter when visiting our international headquarters and is filled with beautiful items from around the world.

Happy shopping,
President & CEO
Janet Mintzer

Trip to Vietnam
8/13/2010

I had a wonderful 2 week trip to Vietnam. (And it has taken me two weeks to catch up!) It was vacation, actually, but I spent two days with Pearl Buck staff at our office in Vietnam. Currently staff in Vietnam consists of a Country Director, bookkeeper and sponsorship manager. In Vietnam, we primarily serve children living in 6 orphanages through our sponsorship program. The office moved to new quarters since my last visit, and I was happy to see the space was larger than I expected and in good condition. I also enjoyed lunch with two of our advisory board members who were talking about a fundraising dinner the board is organizing. It was great to see the board so engaged and committed to expanding our programs. I must confess, however, the highlight of the trip was meeting with my sponsored daughter, Loan, who I've been matched with since she was in ninth grade. (She is now married and pregnant.) After she graduated from the orphanage, she didn't have many options for the future. Her mother placed Loan and her four siblings in the orphanage when she was very young after her father passed away, because she worked on a silkworm farm earning very little money and couldn't afford to raise her children. Loan would have had a similar future if our program did not fund her tuition, room and board for two years so she could attend vocational school to become a seamstress. Loan and her husband took the day off from work for my visit. They met our car on a highway, and we followed her husband's motorbike down many small dirt roads to her modest home. I was the first "foreigner" in her "hamlet", so neighbors and family gathered around to see me. I entered Loan's house and sat on a small plastic chair. While we shared stories, everyone stood around and others poked their head in the door. It was funny to be the main attraction and a wonderful feeling to see Loan grown and employed as a seamstress. We drove back to the city and had lunch in an Italian restaurant, which was the second time Loan ever ate in a restaurant (the first time was my trip there 2 years ago), and first time she ever ate western food. When we hugged goodbye, it was with joy. Tears of happiness streamed down my face as I walked into my hotel. My husband gave me a big hug, understanding the emotion I was feeling. What an exhilarating experience to sponsor a child so many years and see her as a productive member of society, with a husband and a baby on the way. What a wonderful vacation!

Janet L. Mintzer, President & CEO
Pearl S. Buck International

Delegation from Namdon, Republic of Korea Tours Pearl S. Buck House
7/29/2010

On Tuesday, July 20th we received a phone call alerting us to the fact that a delegation from Namdong, Republic of Korea wanted to visit Pearl S. Buck International and tour the National Historic Landmark home of our founder, Pearl S. Buck at the end of the week. While staff was aware of the delegations weeklong visit to Bucks County in honor of the First Anniversary of the signing of the "21st Century Alliance" agreement between Bucks County and Namdong, since Janet Mintzer served on the planning committee, the week long itinerary had not included a visit to our site. We were honored and very happy to quickly make arrangements for the groups visit on Saturday, July 24th.

Accompanied by Donna Rhodes, Curator of the Pearl S. Buck House, and Elizabeth Mah (Korean American high school student) our volunteer Docent for the group, I welcomed Hwang Heung Goo (Vice Mayor of Namdong District), Yoon Tae Jin (Former Mayor of Namdong District), and the other 8 members of their delegation, an interpreter and photographer to PSBI's new Welcome Center, Gift Shop and Awards Room prior to their tour of the Pearl S. Buck House. While the visit was brisk (taking only 45 minutes in total), it was a very enjoyable visit and tour of the House as the delegation asked questions and expressed their appreciation by presenting us with a donation to PSBI.

Elizabeth did an outstanding job of engaging our visitors and interpreting the Awards Room and House in Korean. Several members of the planning committee, including Tom Jennings (also a member of PSBI's Board of Directors), Vail Garvin (Executive Director of the Central Bucks Chamber of Commerce) and Beverly Miller accompanied the delegation and enjoyed shopping in our new gift shop while the group took its tour.

All in all, it was a whirlwind tour and much enjoyed by all involved.

Teri Mandic
Vice President of Operations

Meeting with Ning Shao and good news from Valerie Harper
7/14/2010

I'm happy to report that Valerie Harper has agreed to serve on our Honorary Board! Valerie is so down-to-earth and a long time fan of Pearl S. Buck. What an honor it is for us to have her on our Board. But I still have not heard back from Apl.de.ap's agent about his willingness to serve on our Honorary Board...I'll post more about this later (hopefully!)

I had a special meeting with Ning Shao and May Wang and their beautiful children this past Saturday. Ning and his family were visiting from Shanghai. Ning is the chief executive of the Shanghai Representative Office serving the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The office is sponsored by the PA Department of Community and Economic Development in collaboration with private-sector businesses to help PA companies penetrate the Chinese market as well as attract Chinese direct investment to PA. Essentially, the company promotes U.S. business interest in China. (http://www.pausa.org.cn/) Ning's wife, May, is a long-time Pearl Buck fan, so they enjoyed learning more about Pearl S. Buck International (especially our scholarship program in Zhenjiang China) and touring the historic home of Pearl S. Buck. In addition to assisting PA businesses, the office also assists with travel. Ning is working on bringing tour groups operators to PA, through Philadelphia, Bucks County, Lancaster and Hershey. I will be sure to visit Ning's office next time I am in China.

I'm off for a two week vacation to Vietnam with my husband to celebrate our 35th Anniversary. But, of course, I will spend two days with our Country Director Hang Pham Minh in Hanoi, meeting with our Vietnam Advisory Board members and others. I'm most excited that we will be visiting Loan, the young woman we have sponsored since she was 12 years old. Loan is now married and expecting her first child. I'll write more when I return.

My best,
Janet L. Mintzer
President & CEO

Katherine Heigl
7/6/2010

I sent letters to Katherine Heigl http://www.kheigl.com/, Apl.de.ap (aka Allan Pineda) http://www.apldeap.com/ of the Black Eyed Peas and Valerie Harper http://www.valerieharper.com/ asking them to consider being on our Honorary Board in line with the governance plan of our Board of Directors to build our honorary board. As famous as she is, Katherine Heigl is a sponsor in our Opportunity House program and her sister was adopted through our Welcome House program. Apl.de.ap., a part of the hip-hop group, Black Eyed Peas, was a beneficiary in our Philippines sponsorship program. He was actually adopted by his sponsor when he was fourteen and came to live in the USA. Valerie Harper, on the other hand, has been a long time supporter and friend. She co-wrote and performed a one-woman play about the life of Pearl S. Buck which was fabulous. She was recently on broadway in "Looped" and was nominate for a Tony award for her performance. I'm happy to say that I received my first reply from Katherine Heigl’s mother who told me her daughter would be honored to be on our honorary board. Katherine (or Katie as her mom called her) will be making a movie this summer in Pittsburgh. I invited her to come to visit the Pearl Buck House if she has any down time while the movie is in process. It would be great for her to see the legacy of Pearl S. Buck in action and our beautiful property which is in full bloom right now. One down, two to go!

Janet L. Mintzer
President & CEO

Exciting day with Pearl Buck's children
6/29/2010

It was a great day at Pearl S. Buck International this past Saturday with a reunion of four of Pearl Buck’s children on what would have been Pearl S. Buck's 118th birthday. Henriette Walsh-Wilson visited from San Francisco for the first time in 20 years with her husband, Sandy, and their son, Jonathan. Henriette was greeted by her brothers Richard and John and sister Janice. It was an incredible day. I actually felt emotional seeing them all together. Henriette had great memories that we had not heard before, typical of a daughter, in terms of patterns of silver, stemware, and locations of paintings etc. John and Richard saw their re-created bedrooms for the first time since our renovation was completed this past April. Our curator, Donna Rhodes, was writing the entire time we toured the house to capture their remarks. Henriette’s husband, Sandy, is part of the Alexander String Quartet, (http://www.asq4.com/), and he said he would love to perform here sometime in the future. What a wonderful day for the family to come together and walk through their childhood home. It is a day I will always remember.

Janet L. Mintzer
President & CEO

Starting our blog
6/21/2010

Welcome! This is the beginning of a blog that will be written by the management team at Pearl S. Buck International to inform the public about happenings at Pearl S. Buck International. We agree this is an amazing place to work with many great things going on each day, yet we feel that we are the best kept secret in Bucks County. From this day forward, we hope to share with you more about the exciting legacy of Pearl S. Buck which continues here in Hilltown Township, Bucks County, PA, USA.

This week, we have an exciting event before us. On Thursday evening, June 24th, 5-7pm, we will be hosting a business member's reception and networking event in our garden tent. This is open to business people in our area. It is the second year we hosted this networking event which provides a great way for us to showcase our beautiful gardens, the Pearl S. Buck House, and our membership program. You can register to attend at www.pearlsbuck.org/businessreception.

All for now,
Janet L. Mintzer, President & CEO
Pearl S. Buck International
jmintzer@pearlsbuck.org