Jesters, they care – they help

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The Jesters, they care – they help. This was the message from Lewis (Woody) Underwood, chairman of the Jesters Care for Kids Charity Drive who spoke at last Sunday’s meeting. Master of Ceremonies Richard Silverberg welcomed Woody back to bring everyone up to date on their activities this past year. Woody was a co-founder and has been the chairman of the Jester’s Care for Kids organization since its inception in 1998.

Woody was born in Hawaii and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 1973 he made his first trip to Asia as an American Peace Corps volunteer. He was working with a freshwater fisheries program in the Terai area of Nepal. After his two year stint, he stayed on to teach other volunteers; eventually he led educational treks into the Himalaya with an emphasis on natural history, religion and culture for those seeking university credits. He first visited Thailand in 1980 and settled here in Pattaya in 1986.

Lewis (Woody) Underwood, chairman of the Jesters Care for Kids Charity Drive, shares with PCEC members the origins of Jesters, from ‘a bunch of Harley owners helping needy kids’, growing now to be a, if not the, major player in charities in Chonburi and Rayong.Lewis (Woody) Underwood, chairman of the Jesters Care for Kids Charity Drive, shares with PCEC members the origins of Jesters, from ‘a bunch of Harley owners helping needy kids’, growing now to be a, if not the, major player in charities in Chonburi and Rayong.

Woody began his presentation by providing a brief history of how the Jester’s Motorcycle Club Thailand got its start when several owners of Harley Davidson Motorcycles initially joined in with other clubs that were based in Bangkok, but decided to form their own club in Pattaya. That was in 1996. Woody, a co-founder was president of the club from 1999 to 2007.

Initially they started helping needy kids including the Fountain of Life organization. Woody explained how they decided to form a charity and held their first Children’s Fair in 1998.  Since then, it is an annual event and is their major fund raiser.

Their other major event is their Gala Party Night (originally called the Pub Night). It was held at the Amari Orchid Resort last year and will be again this year. Woody said that it was so popular last year that all the tables are already sold out for this year’s event.

The money they raise from the Fair and Gala Party as well as contributions from corporate sponsors is the source of the funds they need to carry out several charitable projects and programs throughout the year. These projects have expanded considerably since 1998. He is proud of the fact that all the donations received go for charity projects and none to administration.

Jesters sponsor a monthly rice and milk distribution to poor families with disabled children, at Nong Prue Municipality.Jesters sponsor a monthly rice and milk distribution to poor families with disabled children, at Nong Prue Municipality.

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 13 years. He pointed out some specific individuals in the pictures that have contributed their time and effort in carrying out their program.

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. 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.

They also sponsor scholarships for kids at the Fountain of Life to go to government schools and their Next Step program provides scholarships for special cases to go to vocational school and universities. He also pointed out that several of their projects are joint projects with other charitable organizations. They have found that it is often beneficial to combine resources to carry out projects that might be beyond the means of a single organization.

Woody concluded by describing the plans for this year’s Children’s Fair at Diana Garden Resort and Driving Range. He said they are hoping for dry weather; unlike last year when Pattaya was deluged with one of the heaviest rain falls and flooding in the past 50 years. For more information on Jester’s charitable work, visit http://www.care4kids.info/.

After Woody answered several questions, MC Richard Silverberg updated everyone on upcoming events and called on Roy Albiston to conduct the always interesting and lively Open Forum where questions are asked and answered about expat living in Thailand; Pattaya in particular.

Read more about the Club’s activities on their website at www.pattayacityex patsclub.com.

Come along on Sunday the 9th of September, from 10 a.m. for this year’s Jesters Fair at Diana Garden Resort & Driving Range!