They care; they help. This was the general message from Lewis (Woody) Underwood, chairman of the Jesters Care for Kids Charity Drive who spoke at the Pattaya City Expat Club’s Sunday, August 28 meeting at the Amari’s Tavern by the Sea Restaurant.
After the usual announcements, Master of Ceremonies Richard Silverberg introduced Woody; a USA native who in 1973 became an American Peace Corps Volunteer in Nepal. After his tour was over, he remained in Nepal until 1985 serving as a naturalist and trip leader in the Himalayas. He came to Thailand in 1985 where he took up a business. He was president of the Jesters Motorcycle Club from 1998 to 2007 and has been chairman of the Jesters Care for Kids charity drive from its inception in 1998 to present.
Lewis Underwood, better known as Woody, chairman of the Jesters Care for Kids Charity Drive, shares with PCEC members the many projects Jesters has undertaken around Thailand, from building schools, providing drinking water systems, providing rice to less fortunate families & even providing tertiary education for deserving students.
Woody began by giving a brief history of the Jesters Motorcycle Club and how it became involved in charity work. The Jesters Care for Kids has two annual events to raise funds. One is the Children’s Fair and the other is their Gala Party Night (originally called the Pub Night).
Woody said that their first efforts to raise funds resulted in receiving 994 thousand baht; but they couldn’t let that stand since it was so close, so they chipped in and made it 1 million baht. From that start, donations have grown. Over the past two years, they raised about 13 million baht with corporations still being their big donors.
School children at Nikom School in Rayong Province say thank you for their new drinking water systems.
He is proud of the fact that all the donations received go for charity projects and none to administration. There is a 15 member volunteer committee that oversees the fundraising and charity projects. They don’t set targets; they do the best they can to raise as much as they can. Woody pointed out that if they fund a building project, they do the building and if they obtain items for the charity, they buy the products.
Using pictures showing the projects they fund, Woody described them and how their funding has helped those kids in need over the past 12 years. He pointed out some specific individuals in the pictures that have contributed their time and effort in carrying out their program.
Richard Silverberg introduces a special guest, Pakorn, Consumer Protection Prosecutor for the Pattaya area.
Woody described several building projects they have done as well as other assistance they have provided. He noted that their primary target for assistance is the Fountain of Life Center under the Good Shepherd Foundation. They also have helped schools in the surrounding area, last year they helped with building projects for Ban Amphur Primary School, Nikon 3, Nikon 4, and Nikon 7 Schools in Rayong Province. They also contributed to the Camillian Social Center, the Ban Jing Jai Orphanage, Kate’s Project, and the Kharma Foundation in Kanchanaburi. Further, they assisted Khao Baisri Home for Disabled Boys and the Pattaya Redemptorist School for the Blind. They also helped sponsor the Special Olympics for the handicapped.
Woody concluded by describing the plans for this year’s Children’s Fair at Diana Garden Resort and Driving Range, which will be on September 11, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and the Gala Party Night Saturday, September 24 at the Amari Resort starting at 7 p.m.
The Fair is always a great event for families to attend with lots to do. Many of the children they help are there, do some performances, and always have a great time.
The Party Night is more for adults with food and live entertainment and dancing. There will be a raffle with the top prize being a Honda PCX motorcycle and several items will also be auctioned off. More information on the Jesters Care for Kids can be found on their website at http://www.care4kids.info/
After Woody answered many questions from the audience, Richard Silverberg introduced a special guest, Pakorn, Consumer Protection Prosecutor for the Pattaya area. Pakorn briefly explained the role of his office is to help consumers, Thai and foreigner alike, at no charge. He specifically noted that one area they assist in is when condominiums do not follow the Condominium Act. He is available every Wednesday afternoon at Pattaya City Hall in Deputy Mayor Ronakit’s Office on the 3rd Floor. Although he said his English is limited, an interpreter is available.
Richard Silverberg then brought everyone up to date on upcoming events and called on member Gary Brown to conduct the always informative and sometime humorous Open Forum where questions are asked and answered about Expat living in Thailand, recommendations for restaurants and movies are made, an and perhaps a joke or two are told.