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CNN: Speed skater J.R. Celski overcomes bloody injury to capture bronze

Posted by FAN Admin in Connections, Home, News on 02 15th, 2010

Speed skater J.R. Celski overcomes bloody injury to capture bronze

By Steve Almasy, CNN
February 14, 2010 7:50 p.m. EST

J.R. Celski took the bronze in the 1,500-meter short-track speed skating final on Saturday at the Winter Olympics.

J.R. Celski took the bronze in the 1,500-meter short-track speed skating final on Saturday at the Winter Olympics.

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • J.R. Celski takes bronze in the 1,500-meter short-track speed skating at Olympics
  • Two of the South Koreans leading the group unexpectedly crash in race
  • Five months ago, Celski’s left thigh was sliced opened by skate blade
  • He returned to the ice for first time just eight weeks before the Olympics

RELATED TOPICS
  • 2010 Winter Olympics
  • Speed Skating
  • Apolo Anton Ohno

Vancouver, British Columbia (CNN) — There was no way he should have been on that medal stand. Going into the final turn of Saturday night’s 1,500-meter short-track speed skating final, J.R. Celski was fifth. The South Korean skaters had a firm grasp on the gold, silver and bronze.

And then inexplicably, two of the South Koreans crashed, and the 19-year-old Celski followed teammate Apolo Anton Ohno across the finish line to stunningly finish second and third.

Kind of a miracle, but Celski has overcome much bigger odds.

Five months ago, it would have impossible for someone to think Celski could win a medal, or even be here. He lay on the ice after a full-speed crash at the U.S. Trials, bleeding profusely, his left thigh sliced open by a skate blade. The cut was six inches wide and two inches deep. It would require 60 stitches.

But first he had to remove the blade, which was still stuck in his leg. There was so much blood, he wondered if he was going to skate again. He didn’t know it at the time, but the gash was just an inch from the main artery in his leg. Fortunately, the blade only cut muscle.

“When I was laying on that ice, I was in defeat at first,” he said Sunday. “I thought my whole career was over. But I guess in those moments is where we truly define ourselves.”

At the hospital, Celski asked someone to take a photo of the gash. It is a nasty picture, and while Celski is keen to show it to anyone who will have a look, it is the only time he reflects on the injury.

“After it happened, I knew I needed to get back on my feet, and the way to do that was to not think about it,” he said.

Celski jumped right into rehabilitation under the care of Dr. Eric Heiden, the speed skating legend who is now an orthopedic surgeon, and then Dr. Bill Moreau, the director for sports medicine clinics for the U.S. Olympic Committee.

“There are never any guarantees with an injury like this, but I will say this: Whatever happens to J.R., it will not be because of a lack of effort. He is working so, so hard,” Moreau told freelance writer Joanne C. Gerstner in early November.

By October, Celski was able to throw away his crutches. Though he still couldn’t skate, he stayed motivated by going down to a rink near his place at the training center in Colorado and watching the skaters from a local club.

He finally got back on the ice on November 16, just eight weeks before the Olympics. It was difficult for him, and he was tentative and he skated very slowly, he said.

“I did have flashbacks at first,” he said.

He even fell a few times during training, which was a good thing because it helped his mental recovery. He found a toughness inside, he said, and his family helped immensely. It was as important as his physical rehabilitation.

Before his injury, Celski was the heir apparent to now six-time medallist Ohno. Before his first Olympic race, his first since the crash, he was just a question mark.

Now, with two races, the 1,000 meters on Saturday and the 5,000-meter relay on February 26 remaining, he’s a remarkable comeback story with an unending smile and a most unusual picture on his iPhone.



Filipino Intercollegiate Network Dialogue: Filipino Students Educating Their Peers

Posted by FAN Admin in Back To Our Roots, Connections on 02 9th, 2010

I was involved with FIND when I lived in Boston in my early 20’s and it was life changing for me in so many ways. I immersed myself with Filipino American students and although I did not have a similar upbringing as they did, it did not hinder me from becoming involved and to learn more about the Filipino American experience. I helped organize the District conference at Harvard University in 1999 as a member of the Programming Committee and spent countless hours developing the program of the conference and speakers to be chosen. “Balikbayan” Conference raised the bar for future FIND conferences! (Lorial Crowder)

FIND, Inc. on Facebook

FIND website

Find Conference – February 26-28 University of Maryland at College Park

FIND

FIND is the Filipino Intercollegiate Networking Dialogue. Our purpose is to promote unity and cooperation of Filipino students. Our goals are:

to offer a channel for dialogue and action
to promote and preserve Filipino culture
to further awareness of issues pertinent to the Filipino community
to offer support to Filipinos studying at East Coast institutions

Founded on April 11, 1992, the Filipino Intercollegiate Networking Dialogue (FIND) stands as a symbol to the ethnic consciousness presently seen on university campuses. With the growing number of Filipino organizations at these institutions, there exists an inherent “desire to know” about one’s culture. Ranging from the personal search and identification to the large scale social awareness, FIND Inc. is an organization that opens the door to communication and collaboration among its members. It offers those interested an opportunity to see what else is out there: a broad perspective to the increasing Filipino presence in America.

Aware of a strong but fragmented Filipino presence on the East Coast, college students from the Northern seaboard attended a dinner sponsored by KASAMA in April 1991 at Yale University. These college students discussed the collaboration of a formal network that would tie together smaller networks in the coastal regions. A group of enthusiastic students volunteered to form a Steering Committee for the formation of the East Coast Network of Colleges (ECNC). This steering Committee (SC) has met several times in the New England area prior to a second conference held at New York University (NYU). A constitution was created incorporating the SC’s vision of an organization that would accommodate the need of the Filipino student. The International Filipino Association at NYU conference was structured to further the networking efforts and eventually facilitated the ratification of a regional network. The name FIND was chosen to illustrate a continuing process of student unification. An official Steering Committee was elected with representatives from each of the six established districts, mainly in the Northern region of the East Coast. A ratified constitution and bylaws of FIND Inc. were complete in time for the first FIND Conference held at Harvard in April 1992. FIND became a reality. (notes from 1995 UVA dialogue program)

Established 1991

At a conference sponsored by KASAMA, at Yale University in April of 1991, Filipino college students from the Northern seaboard discussed the formation of a formal network capable of linking East Coast institutions. Realizing the importance of such a network, a group of students designed a Constitution to provide an efficient, effective structure whereby students could interact to discuss issues, to mobilize our communities, to celebrate our culture and heritage, and to support one other. With the formal ratification of our Constitution on April 11, 1992 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the framework for an organization capable of unifying Filipino students emerged. FIND was on its way to becoming a reality.

FIND Inc. Accomplishments

Currently, our Network actively links over 90 East Coast college, university, vocational, and technical schools. Most districts have formed an internal executive structure. Moreover, with such a structure in place, districts have been able to successfully sponsor their own events and raise money for the District and the Network as a whole. Strong, cohesive Districts are the key to FIND Inc.

Since formal ratification of the Constitution, well-attended Dialogues and Conferences have been sponsored by various districts:

Conference

Dialogue

Harvard University
Spring 1992
Mt. Holyoke College
Fall 1992
George Washington University
Spring 1993
University of Rochester
Fall 1993
Rutgers-New Brunswick
Spring 1994
Fairfield University
Fall 1994
University of Maryland
Spring 1995
University of Virginia
Fall 1995
Boston University
Spring 1996
SUNY
Fall 1996
University of Pennsylvania
Spring 1997
SUNY Binghamton
Fall 1997
George Washington University
Spring 1998
Drexel University
Fall 1998
Harvard University
Spring 1999
Old Dominion University
Fall 1999
Rutgers University
Spring 2000
George Mason University
Fall 2000
No Conference
Spring 2001
SUNY Stony Brook
Fall 2001
Pennsylvania State University
Spring 2002
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Fall 2002
University of Maryland – Baltimore County
Spring 2003
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Fall 2003
Drexel University
Spring 2004
College of Mount St. Vincent
Fall 2004
College of William and Mary
Spring 2005
George Mason University
Fall 2005
The State University of Buffalo
Spring 2006
Drexel University
Fall 2006
Ramapo College of New Jersey
Spring 2007
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Fall 2007
University of Maryland – College Park
Spring 2008
TBA
Fall 2008

Strengthening Network ties, a semi-annual newsletter, Ating Panahon, has been consistently published and a directory of participating schools and students is available.

FIND Inc. has also established a working relationship with other networks such as the National Filipino American Youth Association (NFAYA), the National Pilipino Student Conference (NPSC), and the East Coast Asian Student Union (ECASU).



GMA News: Fil-Am set to skate in Winter Olympics

Posted by lecrowder in Home, News on 02 9th, 2010

Fil-Am set to skate in Winter Olympics

MARCONI CALINDAS

02/09/2010 | 06:56 PM

San Francisco, California — Filipinos will have someone to root for in the figure skating event in the upcoming 21st Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada.

Amanda Evora performs her routine with partner Mark Ladwig during the U.S. figure skating championships in Spokane, Washington last month. AP

Twenty-five year old Amanda Evora is the very first Filipino-American to represent the US in the figure pair skating event in the Winter Olympics. She and partner Mark Ladwig earned their slots to Vancouver after placing second behind Caydee Denney and Jeremy Barrett in the US Figure Skating Championships held in Spokane, Washington last month.

Evora’s parents, according to the LA Times, are both Filipinos who are now naturalized Americans. They migrated from Bahrain. Evora’s father Vicente is originally from Calapan, Oriental Mindoro who worked as chemical engineer in the Middle East. Amada was born in New York City, where her parents spent a vacation.

Evora now resides in Bradenton, Florida where she trains at the Ellenton Ice Arena together with fellow Olympians Denney and Barrett. She is taking her undergraduate studies in Business Administration at the University of South Florida.

The five-foot, 99-pound figure skater has been skating with longtime partner Ladwig since 2002. The silver medals at the 2010 US Championships were their first medals together. Before the Winter Olympics-qualifying US Championships this year, the couple’s best placing was fourth in 2007 and 2009.

In another article, the LA Times also featured Evora’s romantic involvement with rival skater Barrett. Evora gamely stated that this hasn’t affected her performance on ice, as she has competed with her boyfriend for several years already.

Evora and Ladwig will compete on February 14 and 15 both for Short Program and Free Skating. The routine can last up to four minutes and 30 seconds. – FVI, GMANews.TV



Adoptee Reflection: Learning about being Filipino-American

Posted by FAN Admin in Back To Our Roots, FAN Announcements, Home, Our Stories on 02 7th, 2010

Eliot Cashell wrote this reflection when he was 21 years old in 2005. He continues to have a passion to learn about his Filipino roots and has returned to the Motherland since.

By Eliot Cashell

It took me a good 20 years to start figuring myself out. As a Filipino adopted by Caucasian parents from West Virginia, my life began a little differently.  As such, I was always embarrassed to visit my Filipino friend’s homes because their parents never failed to ask me: “What island are you from?” or  “What is your last name and what generation are your parents from?”
None of my answers seemed to make any sense. I tried to find answers to these questions by applying for a study program in the Philippines. However, I was denied admittance because I had expressed an interest in pursuing a career in the Navy. The director of the program explained the negative relationship between the U.S. military and the Philippines and thought that it would be too much of a cultural shock for me.

So, I turned to a group called the Philippine Cultural Society of the George Washington University (PCSGWU). There I felt welcomed and comfortable exploring my Filipino background.  I no longer found myself standing in the middle of friends’ living rooms, being hammered with cultural questions by their parents and without any satisfying answers. Instead, I learned through my peers about the Filipino culture without having to feel so different.

I ate adobo for the first time, read every piece of Filipino literature I could get my hands on and learned several cultural dances. I started to attend bigger venues like the Filipino Inter-collegiate Network Dialogue (FIND).
I began to notice how some Filipino-Americans took their culture for granted. I saw that no matter how hard I tried or how much I learned, other Filipino Americans would not accept me because of how my Caucasian parents raised me. However, these valuable experiences taught me how to become comfortable with myself.

After college I joined the Navy and received orders to attend the Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL program in California.  When I learned that there were only three Navy SEALs who were of Filipino background, the rigorous training motivated me. I dreamed of becoming a SEAL and speaking to large Filipino groups, telling them that by making it through the tough training, I was able to overcome the stereotype accorded Filipino Americans and all Asian Americans of being weak, subservient and easily conquered. I did not finish the training, but I got further than any other Filipino under the harsh scrutiny of my instructors. The challenges I confronted forced me to look inward and learn who I really am. I know life will continue to present challenges to me that are dynamic and that they will define me, which, in turn, will help me understand and learn more about my identity.

One thing is certain: I enjoy learning about being Filipino American. It will always be part of my life, and knowing that there is always something more to learn is comforting. Being Filipino American gives me a passion to live.



Adoptive Families: Grants and Loans resources

Posted by FAN Admin in International/Adoption Philippines, News on 02 5th, 2010

Expenses for adoptions, whether international, domestic or through foster care can add up quickly and has sometimes been the reason why some families choose not to go through the process.  Below is a useful list of organizations that offer grants and loans to help fray costs and fees. Do some research to determine if you are eligible.

  • Gift of Adoption Singles and married couples pursuing domestic adoption or adoption from a Hague-compliant country may apply for grants from $500 to $7,500. giftofadoption.org
  • HelpUsAdopt.org Married couples and singles may apply for financial awards ranging from $500 to $15,000. helpusadopt.org
  • National Adoption Foundation Singles and married couples may apply for grants ranging from $500 to $2,500. nafadopt.org
  • Shaohannah’s Hope Singer Steven Curtis Chapman’s organization awards grants of $2,000 to $7,000 to Christian families pursuing adoption. showhope.org
  • Parenthood for Me Grants are available for parents building their families through adoption or assisted reproductive technologies; founded by AF reader Erica Walther Schlaefer. parenthoodforme.org
  • A Child Waits International adopters may apply for loans of up to $10,000, with a five-percent interest rate; grants are available for special-needs children. achildwaits.org
  • International Association of Hebrew Free Loans The organization’s website offers state-by-state listings of interest-free adoption loans available to Jewish families. freeloan.org
  • Oxford Adoption Foundation Loans of up to $5,000 per child adopted internationally are interest-free for the first three years. oxfordadoption.com
  • The ABBA Fund Christian couples may apply for interest-free adoption loans. abbafund.org

* list compiled from Adoptive Families Magazine



Viloria.com: Filipino podcast/language lessons

Posted by FAN Admin in Connections, FAN Announcements, Home on 02 2nd, 2010

Hi all,

Viloria.com – was started in 2005 by a gentleman in the Philippines. He has been providing useful podcast episodes on his website for folks who would like to learn Filipino words and phrase. They can also be downloaded from iTunes  for free! As a native speaker he offers accurate pronunciation and instruction in the Filipino language. The episodes range from children games, cultural lessons, traditional songs and vignettes from the Philippines.

Here are some sample episodes:

Click HERE to access and play the full list of episodes.



Philippine Inquirer: Illegally adopted Filipino babies traced

Posted by FAN Admin in Home, International/Adoption Philippines, News on 02 1st, 2010

Illegally adopted Filipino babies traced
By Cathy C. Yamsuan
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 01:54:00 02/01/2010

MANILA, Philippines—Humanitarian workers using DNA tests are offering to help track down Filipino babies illegally sent to Singapore for adoption in affluent countries.

“Women posing as their mothers would go to Singapore using fake identification to make authorities believe that the babies are theirs,” said Amihan Abueva, regional coordinator of the NGO Asia Against Child Trafficking.

“But once in Singapore, the babies are left behind,” Abueva told a forum on “DNA-Prokids: Using DNA To Help Fight Child-Trafficking.”

“The trouble is that there are no complainants,” Justice Undersecretary Ricardo Blancaflor told reporters on the sidelines of the forum at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City.

“Parents also do not know where to go. They do not even know whom to accuse since no one knows where the child went,” Blancaflor said.

DNA-Prokids is an international humanitarian initiative that establishes and uses the genetic identification of children taken by force in an effort to return them to their families.

Began in 2004, the effort is headed by two forensic scientists—Dr. Jose A. Lorente of the University of Granada in Spain, and Dr. Arthur J. Eisenberg, co-director of the University of North Texas Center for Human Identification.

The UP Natural Sciences Research Institute’s DNA Analysis Laboratory recently joined DNA-Prokids’ efforts to deter child trafficking by providing free services to families with missing children.

Lorente warned the meeting that child trafficking was now considered an international epidemic and could be “the No. 1 crime worldwide by 2010.”

“Heroin, at least, can be detected. But it is very difficult to prove that the child carried by an adult is really his,” he said.

No systematic method

“As long as there is no systematic method to track down parents and bring back their children to them, children [will continue to be] abducted. Guatemalan children, for example, are abducted and brought to the United States and Europe where there are markets for illegal adoption,” Lorente said.

Dr. Maria Corazon de Ungria, head of the UP National Scientific Research Institute’s DNA Analysis Laboratory, explained that DNA or deoxyribonucleic acid “is the blueprint of all living creatures and those once alive.”

DNA tests are now commonly used to establish the paternity of a child, especially in child support cases.

According to De Ungria, a child inherits DNA properties from both the father and the mother. Y-DNA testing, which detects the male Y chromosome, establishes the father-child link.

Mitochondrial DNA that is passed on from mother to child is used to trace the mother’s family or genetic lineage.

Because DNA is chemically stable, can survive over several years even after the death of an individual, and is unique to every creature, it is considered a reliable measure of genetic origin.

Right to identity

Lorente identified northern India, China and the Philippines among the Asian countries with “statistically large percentage of cases” of illegal adoptions.

This means many children from these countries end up abroad and become victims of trafficking “whether through prostitution, forced labor, militant activities or illegal adoptions.”

The forum’s program stated that 50 percent of the 600,000 to 800,000 people “trafficked across international borders each year are under 17 years old.”

Lorente said UN studies showed that Central and South America, Africa, Central and Southeast Asia were the prime sources of children brought to North America, Canada, the United States, Europe, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

“One of the basic rights of a child is the right to identity. If a child is without documents, his identity can still be established through DNA analysis. But this requires the help of governments concerned and needs cooperation and coordination of their agencies,” Lorente said.

De Ungria wants the UP DNA laboratory to work with the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking and get a sponsorship from the Department of Science and Technology “because DNA tests are admittedly expensive.”

Lack of coordination

All cases of free DNA testing that the UP laboratory accepts will be financed by DNA-Prokids International provided these are done in efforts to reunite abducted children and their parents.

The UP institute indicated that DNA analysis ranged from P3,000 for the “sampling, extraction and storage of a biological sample for five years” to P60,000 for samples taken from a child and two parents for use in legal cases.

Lorente said that efforts to reunite parents and kidnapped children had been marred by the lack of coordination among government agencies in various countries.

He noted that in the Philippines, “there is a problem of processing evidence and DNA testing so DNA-Prokids International will collaborate by offering its support and finances from grants.”

Lorente said DNA-Prokids International released its first batch of DNA analyses in 2005 that was used in efforts to recover children forcibly taken from Latin America, Nepal, Guatemala and India.

Index system

In Guatemala, cheek swabs taken from 23 children rescued from an illegal adoption syndicate allowed authorities to track down their families who reported that they were abducted, Lorente said.

Lorente and Eisenberg are working on a combined DNA index system, an international database of DNA profiles taken from rescued children and parents who volunteered theirs.

The scientists foresee that once a worldwide system is in place, it would be easier for authorities trying to track down missing children if DNA profiles are readily available for a possible analysis with those claiming to be their biological parents.

Eisenberg said that the sharing of such data would be limited.

“Subjects would only be known by the serial numbers provided by the laboratory. There will absolutely be no sharing of DNA-Prokids information with other agencies. We will only have an exchange of critical information and share profiles in a protected environment using only ID numbers,” he explained.

“Reliability is the key. We want to provide a system that is accurate, whose interpretation is without question and that would be provided and shared at no cost,” Eisenberg said.