Rehabilitation Centers for Children
Understand I am not a professional writer and this story is very special to many people. Please do your best to follow the story line as it is a little complicated to write about all the love, kindness and generosity given by many people on both sides of the world to help provide children with a needed playground.
If everyone remembers from my newsletter last year I had visited a small hospital, Rehabilitation Centers for Children in Calcutta with an escort from Sister Cyril’s Loreto Day School Avijit. It was very sad seeing all the children and the physical problems that all of them had. During this visit in 2005, when I returned to Sister Cyril’s office, I asked Sister if there was some way I could help the children of this hospital. She said what the hospital really needed was a new playground for the children as the old area was now unusable and unsafe. I did not forget these children and my talk with Sister Cyril. I knew in my heart this would be a very big project and expensive to complete but I would do my very best to see it through on my 2006 visit to Calcutta.
A few months after my return home to America, I visited the Pittsfield, New Hampshire Rotary Club.
I gave a talk to the members and showed photos of the many places that I visited. The Rotary Club members have always supported Angels from Heaven and our work to help poor children in need. This year was no different! At the end of my short presentation the club gave me their full support to have the playground built. I was truly touched by this generous offer, and I could not get over The Pittsfield Rotary Club and their kindness in wanting to help children half way around the world.
I contacted Sister Cyril who handled all the work to get this playground completed from dispersing payments to emailing me with photos of equipment along with estimates. Everything began to come together. Many people were so excited about the new playground.
Sister and Avijit put lots of time into this project to see that everything was perfect and I was informed by mail many miles away as to how it was going. I would write to the Rotary Club and pass on the information to them to keep them in the loop. As the days went by The Pittsfield Rotary members joined in with school supplies for the children.
More donations began to follow. Money was donated by way of checks to Angels from Heaven from a local family in Medford MA. to be spent in memory of the loss of a loved one, Mr. Robert Healey, for a dedication party on the day the playground was to open.
It was just so beautiful to have so many people step forward to help these children. I decided this new playground should have a name.
I thought long and hard about it. The name that was chosen was Drake Field. This name comes from a beautiful children’s park in Pittsfield, NH. It is a wonderful area next to the Suncook River where adults and children play together.
With that I contacted Sister Cyril and asked if a small plaque or monument could be made with a special inscription on it and have it installed at the entrance to the playground. Sister thought this was a great idea and did everything she could to see this project was completed. Sister even had a light installed on the monument to see it at night. It was perfect! We now had Drake Field in Pittsfield, New Hampshire and also very soon to be Drake Field at the R.C.F.C. Hospital in Behala, Calcutta.
During the summer I had taken many photographs of Drake Field and the town of Pittsfield, NH to be able to show the staff and children at the R.C.F.C. Hospital just what Drake Field looked like and what the surrounding area was like. The photos were mounted on big poster boards at the Loreto Day School for all to see there and then transported on the roof of the bus to the R.C.F. C. hospital. On the day of the dedication for the new playground December 2, 2006, I met Sister Cyril at the Loreto Day School. She drove both of us to the hospital; it was a nice ride. Sister has been a Nun in Calcutta for over 50 years helping thousands of people; if anyone knows about Calcutta it’s her.
Upon our arrival at the hospital, many staff members as well as the children and Board members greeted Sister Cyril and myself with a very warm welcome. It was so good to be able to be at the hospital and in a few minutes finally see with my own eyes the new playground. The hospital staff walked us along the front side of the building until we came to the new playground. I honestly could not believe my eyes when I saw the playground area. It was beautiful. Many people were sitting on chairs waiting for our arrival. Next thing I knew, Sister Cyril and I are being introduced to the crowd. It was unbelievable!
Before I could enter the playground area we cut a big ribbon which was put across the entrance to the playground. I was given a pair of scissors that Sister and I held together and I said “Today I dedicate this playground to all the children of the world,” and we both cut the ribbon. As I walked into the playground area and looked around I could see all the new equipment as well as the Drake Field plaque. Surrounding the playground area was a large wall beautifully painted with flowers and all kinds of animals, elephants, deer, giraffe, and zebra. It was wonderful! I was told by Sister Cyril she wanted the children to be a part of this project as the playground was for them. She had her Rainbow children along with the hospital children clean and paint the wall under the direction of the Loreto School Art Teacher Utpal Bandhyapadhya. It looked so good!
Our program for the day included song and dance by the children as well as an acting skit of a doctor’s office. At the end of the show, Sister Cyril arranged to have a BIG chocolate cake made in the shape of the playground with swings and slides on it along with ice cream and samosas. This was given in memory of Mr. Robert Healey. After everyone had plenty of food, Sister Cyril put all the school supplies donated by the Pittsfield, NH Rotary Club on the table for the children at the hospital to see. The children were so happy and were wide-eyed looking at all the supplies. It was great to see all the children smile.
The day ended up perfect, one I will never forget. What really made it great was so many people all around the world working together to help these special children. That in itself is very special, my heartfelt thanks to all of you.