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President’s Message

 

Save the Date! October 21, 2021
AmSoc Halloween Gala

The American Society of São Paulo (AmSoc) is thrilled to present our Halloween Gala!

The Mystery of the Mansion

This mysterious night of giving will take place at Casa Giardini, in Campo Belo. Attendees will be transported into the abandoned mansion of Luccio Giardini and his American wife Peggy.

 

These eccentric foreigners loved to host lavish parties and collect antiques and oddities from around the world. It is rumored that they came to Brazil to study the natural medicines of the Amazon. When they disappeared, no one could explain where all of their money came from, what they were researching, or had any clue as to how they disappeared in the middle of the night. Were they Illuminati, industrial tycoons, criminal masterminds, or just eccentric expats seeking adventure in São Paulo?   

 

In your best Halloween attire, join this mysterious night of giving and discover who the Giardinis were, what forced them to run away and disappear from their beautiful mansion on the eve of Halloween! 

 

A Spirited Night of Giving

The proceeds from this year’s Gala will be used in supporting key projects at the homes Casa Limiar and Lar Tia Edna, as well as supporting a variety of AmSoc activities.

 

This year’s auction features a thoughtfully curated list of exclusive prizes including, one-of-a-kind experiences, hotel packages, jewelry, art, restaurants, and more! To expand and enhance our auction experience, we will be using an online auction software that will make the event even easier for attendees bidding at the party and for friends participating in the auction from around the world.

 

Our auction will launch on October 14th and run until the stroke of midnight on October 21st.  

 

Create your Costume

Let your imagination run wild and pick a Halloween costume that will look great inside the Giardini Mansion. Whether it’s the Beauty or the Beast, Cruella Deville, the Phantom of the Opera, the Joker, or anything else, the creative choice is yours to make!  As you think up your Halloween masterpiece, remember, the night will include a seated three-course meal paired with wines and the chance to dance into the wee hours of the morning, so it’s probably better to avoid cumbersome costumes like inflatable dinosaurs or 500 kg full knight armor. 

  

Prizes will be given to the best overall costume, the best Glam-O-Ween couple, and the best group costumes, so feel free to dream big! 

 

Reach out to your friends

Every party is more fun when you go with a big group of friends, so call up your Halloween partners and start organizing your table! Similar to past years, we will be selling tables of ten, with AmSoc members eligible for an early bird discount.

 

The 2022 Angel Party
By Sue Sileci, Angel Party Chair

After two scaled-down pandemic parties, we’re back!

 

On December 10, we plan to have an amazing blowout event, just like in the good old days, and we need your help to make these plans into a reality!

 

The Angel Party is a day when 220 underprivileged children from residential homes and daycare centers supported by The American Society meet up at Graded School for a Christmas party full of fun, food, and games.

 

The party ends when Santa brings each child a bag of presents especially chosen for that child. Santa needs your help! We need to find 220 people to sponsor a child and buy a bag full of brand new and beautiful Christmas presents (backpack, pants, shirt, sweatshirt or coat, tennis shoes, flip-flops, socks, underwear, toy, and candy treat).

 

If you’re interested in helping out, send Sue Banman Sileci an email at sue@sileci.com. You can also donate to us directly with R$ 625 (or US$130), we’ll do the shopping for you. Important: This bag, full of essentials and a little bit of fun, is the only Christmas present most of these children receive. If it feels like too much for you this year, consider joining forces with others – neighbors, family members, co-workers – to sponsor a child. And, if you or your company would like to donate in some other way with prizes, food, or essential supplies, let us know.

 

Finally, join the Angel Party Committee! Contact Natalie Della Rosa if you’d like to help at angelparty.chair@amsoc.com.br. There are plenty of interesting jobs and it’s a great opportunity to meet incredibly fun people.

 

Here’s a video from the 2019 Angel Party, the last time we had this much fun. Watch it to get an idea of the joy – and our reason for pushing through for 23 years in a row – and please help out and join us!

 

Walk for the Ukraine
By Christa Mansholt Choy

Mark your calendars! We are excited to announce the first ever AmSoc Walk-a-Thon fundraiser, to be held on September 4, 2022, 9am, at Burle Marx Parque. The goal of this event is to raise funds in support of refugees fleeing violence in the Ukraine and settling right here in Brazil.   

 

Click below to register for the event.

https://Walk_for_the_Ukraine.eventbrite.com.br


Registration costs are R$100* per participant and includes a walk-a-thon T-shirt.  If you want a T-shirt but are unable to attend the walk, don't worry! The T-shirts can be bought without joining the walk. You can also make a donation towards the walk or purchase an American Society mug to help support the event through the registration link.   

 

We are also seeking sponsors for the walk. If you know of a company that would like increased community exposure and the ability to reach new customers, please let us know at charity@amsoc.com.br  

 

IMPORTANT:  If you want to wear the shirt at the walk, please make sure to place your order by August 22.  Any order made after this date, will still receive a shirt but it will arrive after the event.

*As this is a fundraising event, the Eventbrite fees will be added to your order. 

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Volunteer Spotlight
Stefania Grezzana Merenstein

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We are thrilled that Stefania Grezzana Merenstein joined AmSoc this year and has already stepped up to run our SMILE Program. (Share. Mentor. Impact. Love. Engage.) This wonderful AmSoc program creates frequent opportunities for our members to volunteer in activities at the three children’s charities that we support in São Paulo.

 

In just four months on the team, this charismatic volunteer has already organized Easter parties at the AmSoc children’s charities, helped to launch our mobile library, and organized a trip for the kids at Lar Tia Edna to visit Catavento.

 

Originally from Porto Alegre, Stefi has her PhD in Economics and has worked in consulting and in microfinance. In addition to São Paulo, she has also lived in NYC and London. Stefi joined AmSoc with her husband Ariel and her two small children, Benjamin (age 5) and Hannah (age 3).

 

When she is not leading SMILE activities or spending time with her young family, you can find her busy at home in her DIY construction projects, growing her plants or crushing her opponents on the beach tennis court.

Volunteer Spotlight
Martina Reichenbach

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We have been very lucky to have had Martina Reichenbach as a special volunteer helping us in our AmSoc office, taking care of many important day to day tasks.

 

One of our members, Michael Joop, reached out to us and asked if we had any volunteer opportunities for a few months for Martina, a friend of his daughter, Nicole. After speaking to Martina, we were thrilled to have such a smart, enthusiastic, nice young woman wanting to get involved and help us. 

 

She graduated from Humboldt High School in 2021 and wanted to be socially involved and get some work experience before heading to Germany second semester of this year, where she will study sociology.

 

Martina has been a very hardworking, organized, attentive, reliable, and motivated addition to our office team. We are sad to see her go and will miss her dearly. But we are also super excited for all that awaits her in her new adventure in Germany. Thank you for all you have contributed to AmSoc, Martina!!!

 

If any of you know a young person who would like to get some volunteer work experience to put on their resumé, please have them send an email to: officemanager@amsoc.com.br or send a whatsapp to (11) 99645-4159. They will get to practice their English, learn how a nonprofit works and have lots of fun!!!

 

Artist Spotlight
Osni Branco

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The Blue Dog, The Artist, and The Baobabs

By Maya de Liz Branco

As a child, when the artist and sculptor Osni Branco needed money to buy stamps or go to the movies, he would go to the local street market with his white dog he had dyed blue, pulling a cart filled up with fruits. Everybody stopped to observe the unusual scene, buy the fruits, and take some anecdotes home. 

 

He was deeply connected to nature in his hometown of Araçatuba. His playtime with other kids included climbing trees, hunting, fishing, and swimming. In this scenario, the trees were much more than beauty.

 

They were a place to play, the shade to rest from the scorching sun with his dogs after a morning hunting down ducks, or reference points in the wild. In admiring the surrounding trees, he also learned their names, their uses, and more about ecology.

 

Later on, he started growing trees and has since been planting them wherever he can, and sometimes in places he should not. The only specimens of Brazilian pine tree (Araucaria angustifolia) in Japan were most likely planted by him in the early 70s and late 90s.

 

When his Brazilian friend Enjo Stahel was ordealed a Zen Buddhist monk, the ceremony required the monk-to-be to plant a pine tree, and Osni had the perfect one. The tree was a special Brazilian pine that had been waiting patiently on his balcony to stretch its roots out and delve deep into Mount Fuji’s ground.

As life had been dawning on him, perhaps he also wanted to make his mark a more perpetual one. As he says, “the trees have been here before we [humans] arrived”, and this is why he owes them respect. “We must respect these elderly inhabitants, for they have been here before countries were established, so they are from our planet Earth [not from separate countries]. The protection of the forests is the protection of our planet.”

 

The first metal cast trees started out shy and small, they were Ipê tree sculptures made for his wedding ceremony in 2005. Then came the jaboticabas, the cedars, the perobas, the paineiras, the cypress, and most recently, an incredible forest of baobabs. These latter are a symbol of life that can span thousands of years on the African plains. They are a focal point for gathering the community, a source of nutritious food, water, and fibers.

 

For these reasons, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of his career, Osni materialized the baobab motto in metal, creating the perfect image for celebrating life and work. “Perhaps it is also an attempt to stretch one's existence into the next century like these magnificent old inhabitants.”

 

Spreading the Joy of Reading with AmSoc Cares Mobile Library
By Olivia Della Rosa

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In partnership with the AmSoc Cares initiative, the Mobile Library project is working with the group home, Casa Limiar, to bring a range of literature and activities to children in need. 

 

Visiting the home once a month, volunteers experience the unique joy of connecting with these incredible children and the excitement that follows a budding appreciation for reading.

 

A wide range of activities and crafts follow the monthly book checkout, from read aloud circles to the designing of personal Flat Stanleys.

 

These moments are equally essential to the Mobile Library project, and stellar volunteers like Carol Blaj, who came to Casa Limiar to read her own short story “A Fantástica Fábrica dos Sonhos”, are greatly appreciated by the AmSoc team and by the kids themselves.

From YA adventures to baby board books, the Mobile Library is actively seeking the right kind of literature for each kid. Because of this, the AmSoc team thanks everyone who donated books to this initiative. Among our selection, graphic novels like Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Naruto are by far the most checked out genre.

 

While the library has grown a substantial amount, any other donations from the AmSoc community are incredibly appreciated! For anyone looking to volunteer to help with the library or donate children’s books in Portuguese to help add to our collection, please reach out to charity@amsoc.com.br 

The Mobile Library project would also like to extend a special thank you to volunteers who take time out of their schedules to help create these priceless experiences at Casa Limiar. 

 

Finding the perfect book can be the first step in forming a lifelong habit of reading, and the Mobile Library project hopes to be a bridge into the enchanting world of books!

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