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Friends of FANA News - November 2005

Embassy Event a Success!

Thank you to everyone who joined us on October 21st at the Colombian Ambassador's residence in Washington. We were welcomed by the Chargé d'Affairs, Bernardo Ortiz, who was standing in for Andrés Pastrana, previous President of Colombia and soon-to-be Ambassador to the United States. The Embassy staff graciously welcomed us to the residence, where we enjoyed wonderful food, drink and music while participating in spirited bidding for Colombian art, jewelry, and other items. A big "thank you" to our chairpersons for the evening - Lisa White and Tracy Stanton - and to their spouses, family members, and to the many friends of FANA who made the evening a success. Proceeds from the evening were sent to FANA with a local family who just received a referral!

Colombia Homeland Tour

This past summer, six families traveled together to Colombia for a week to re-introduce their children to their birth country. They spent several days in Bogotá, visiting FANA, the birthmother's home (the Hogar), and doing some sightseeing and shopping. They also went to Cartagena for a few days on the Caribbean coast. The trip was filled with opportunities to absorb the Colombian culture, share time with children at the orphanage, reconnect with people and places from early childhood, and understand more about the adoption process. The Barker Foundation developed and sponsored the trip, which included counselors from Barker working with the children and adults. Barker is planning additional birth country visits. If you would like more information on future trips, please contact Colleen McLain at Barker at cmclain@barkerfoundation.org.

Computers Donated to FANA

Friends of FANA joined the Barker Foundation in making a donation of four Dell computers to FANA for a children's computer lab. The money for the lab was delivered by the families on the homeland tour and the computers ordered locally. The Minnesota Friends of FANA group contributed Spanish-language children's software. Elena Martinez, Director of FANA, reported that the children were thrilled to have the computers and were jumping at the opportunity to work on them once they were installed. Thank you so much to everyone who helped with the computer purchase!

Gold Museum Exhibit In Washington

"The Spirit of Ancient Colombian Gold" opened Nov. 9th at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. The exhibit includes items never seen before in the United States. The exhibit is well worth the trip to Washington and will be here until April 9, 2006. For more information, see www.mnh.si.edu/exhibits/gold/index.htm.

Update on Website

One of our key initiatives for the year is a major revision to the Friends of FANA website. Much has changed since its initial development - both in terms of technology as well as the needs of our members. We are finding that many "older" FANA children (in their 20s and 30s) are using the web to learn more about FANA. We hope to meet some of those needs, as well as improve communication with our Friends of FANA members. The revised website should be up and running in early 2006.

Membership Request!

It's time once again to renew your membership with Friends of FANA. Click here to become a member, or email info@fanafriendsdc.org for a membership form. Please take a moment to fill it out and return it to us. Your dues help support our many activities - "Colombia for Kids" educational events, the Annual Fiesta, picnics, evenings at the Embassy, a Membership Directory - as well as cover our general operating costs. We are a completely volunteer organization with no paid staff. But we still have expenses for mailings, keeping in touch with FANA, the website, and administrative needs. Please, keep us growing with your dues payment!

Board News

The Board met in May and again in September and will meet next in late November. The Board is working on job descriptions for Board members and officers and planning for Board succession. Our other key priorities for the year have been the revisions to the website and planning for the Embassy event in October.

Board members serve for two year terms (officers are elected each year). The next election will be held in February 2006. If you are interested in being nominated for a Board position, or just want more information, please contact info@friendsoffana.org or talk to a current Board member. Current members are: Laura Capaldini, Jennifer Cofone, Valerie Light, Ricardo Nunez, Jeanette Ryan, Tracy Stanton, Brenda Ulrich, Maria Van Wie, and Lisa White.

Friends of FANA is a parent group which provides Colombian educational, cultural, and social activities for the families of children from Colombia. We also support FANA, the Fundacion para la Asistencia de la Ninez Abandonada. Friends of FANA is a 501c(3) member organization