Nakhonpathom, Thailand, November 9, 2012[1]

Dear Cynthia [2],
I hope you and your family is doing all right. I am sorry that I never write you any emails or letters after I returned to Indonesia. However, I want to rectify this and I would love to keep in touch with you and the International Culture Team (ICT). I have been missing all of those routines I used to do with ICT and around UoA campus. In the following, I would like to share some ideas that I thought would be beneficial to ICT.

1) Different ways of celebrating the International Women’s Day

In the past, ICT had been celebrating the day with fashion show of women’ customs around the world, dancing, singing, poetry reading, video showing, etc. I thought it would be great if once ICT coordinated donating hair activities for cancer survivors, either through Pantene Beautiful Lengths’ Program or Locks of Love (http://www.locksoflove.org/). I donated my hair once for Pantene Beautiful Lengths. I contacted them to get the details, and below you will find their response to my inquiry:

You can learn all about the program, including hair requirements, at http://www.beautifullengths.com/en_US/makethecut.jsp in the USA. After your hair is cut, please place the dry ponytail, kept intact with a plastic band, in a tightly sealed zipper lock bag. Then, place the bag in a padded or plastic envelope and send to the following address:

Pantene Beautiful Lengths
Attn: 192-123 20770
Westwood Dr.
Strongsville, OH 44149

Be sure to include your complete name and mailing address, as thank you notes are sent after donations are received. Thanks in advance for your generous donation!

Jay
Pantene Team

One way of doing the hair donation could be by contacting the nearest P&G, so they could send their hair stylists to help with cutting the hair. I remembered that they coordinated Pantene Beautiful Lengths’ Hair Donation event in Rogers, AR, on September 2009. In addition to this, ICT could help disseminating the information to the students about the event that is going to take place on March 8, so we could get many people lined up for the event. Also, ICT could specifically invite the international students to become part of the event. I know that long hair has special meanings for women in different cultures. To give the event the nuances of solidarity, ICT could ask each international student to tell their story what long hair means in their culture and why now they decided to take part in the event. ICT could also take their before and after picture, and later displayed this on ICT website, along with the stories about their long hairs.

2) Arranging Thanksgiving with American Families for American Students attending CAPS

I was having my individual and group counseling sessions with Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) during Fall 2010 Semester. Among those UoA students attending the group session were those suffering from their parents’ divorce and had difficulties to continue a good relationship with either their Moms or Dads after that. I remembered one of the girls broke into tears when she said that she got no place to go for celebrating Thanksgiving. On the other side, I was telling everybody that I would go to Elkins, AR, to celebrate the day with my BF’s family. I felt sorry for her that she didn’t have any places to go and left behind while at the same time, ICT helped the international students to be able to celebrate the event with American families. I told my self, if somehow I could tell ICT about this, maybe later ICT could be able to include them into the list of the students that ICT would help to find families to celebrate Thanksgiving with. You could contact CeCe Hilliard, LCSW, (email: hilliar@uark.edu, campus phone: 479 575 5276) who is working with one of therapy groups at CAPS, to go further, if you interested in helping them.

3) The Princess Project

I was once having dinner with my BF that time at Noodles Italian Kitchen restaurant at the same time some high school students having their prom dinner. Another time in my life, I was sitting in CAPS waiting room for my individual session and reading an interesting article from a teenage magazine. It mentioned about the Princess Project. What attracted me more was the fact that even though the prom night is part of the most awaited event for high school students, but there are some who cannot afford buying nice dress and accessories to attend the event. I thought that it would be interesting if ICT could coordinate an event where some international students are going to be paired with some high school students who have limitations to do dress shopping for prom. Instead, the international students are going to dress the girls with their cultural attire, helping with the preparations, as well as make up whenever possible. Not only the girls would be benefited from the colorful and beautiful dress from around the world, but the girls, the international students and the high school students, would have chance to bring mutual understanding and to deliver the message of solidarity.

4) Joining Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure at Pinnacle Hills Promenade, Rogers, AR.
Diane L. Cook, the Director of Graduate Student Activities, has been coordinating graduate students to participate in Race for the Cure for some years. I was joining the team for two years consecutively, on 2010 and 2011. The event usually takes place during the last Saturday of the month of April (it was on April 24, 2012 and April 30, 2011). I thought it would be great if ICT members could participate into this event. There is $20 registration fee for each, and maybe ICT could provide subsidy around $15 for each? Diane L. Cook usually takes care about the transportation to and from Pinnacle Hills.

There are all that I could think of to color the ICT activities for now. Please contact me for anything I could do to support the ICT from Indonesia; we’ve been lucky to live in such technology age these days, so I don’t think the distance between Fayetteville, AR and Indonesia would have significant impact in enhancing our mutual understanding. I am sending all my love for you, your family, ISS big family, and all ICT members.

Mirisa Hasfaria

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[1] Even though I wrote the exhaustive list quite sometimes ago, but I had the idea to mail you the letter when I was in Thailand, joining the UNESCO Chair International Regional Training Programme, November 1 – 12, 2012.
[2] Cynthia Smith is Assistant Director for Outreach at Office of International Students and Scholars (ISS) at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. “International Culture Team (ICT) is a very special team of international student educators. The team is typically comprised of about 200 graduate and undergraduate students representing over 50 countries. It offers global education to the UoA campus, schools at all grade levels, and businesses and community organizations throughout Northwest Arkansas. On average, ICT members provided cultural lectures and performances for over 7,500 children and adult.”