SELF HELP NEWS
Maura Taylor is one busy woman as she prepares for the annual fundraiser for Self Help, Inc. The stellar non-profit celebrates their 50th birthday this year and just a few tickets remain to support their work.
The theme for the Oct. 5 Anniversary Food + Wine Bash is Neighbors Helping Neighbors. The event will include honoring their rich history while rejoicing for the future. Tickets are $65 which includes delicious items from the Pig and Fig inspired by West Coast food and wine. It will take place at the Trinity on the Hill Episcopal Church from 5 p.m to 8 p.m. and will include both a live and silent auction.
“We’re going to have some really great food and wine, and I’m amazed with the huge variety of auction items we’ve collected,” said Taylor. “I’m looking forward to meeting some of the community members who have helped us all these years, and of course, hopefully scoring an auction deal or two myself!”
Self-Help’s second Executive Director was Devi Raju. She is married to Dr. M. R. Raju, the Managing Trustee of the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Medical Trust. The pair still visit Los Alamos twice a year, spending the remainder in India. Here, she recalls how her role with Self Help would actually begin, with a meeting in 1960.
“When Dr. John H. Lawrence, who was considered as father on Nuclear Medicine, came to India in 1960, my husband met him in Bombay. Knowing from Raju that he has doctorate degree in Nuclear Physics. Dr. Lawrence offered Raju to come to his Laboratory at Berkeley,” said Mrs. Raju. “While working in Berkeley, he was invited to join the Meson therapy program in Los Alamos National Laboratory, which was getting started in 1971.”
Dr. Raju worried what she would do in Los Alamos without a science background, but she went on to do great things here. She first met with Joyce Pyburn, from Bethlehem Lutheran Church. Pyburn told her the church was starting the Self Help program and asked if she would be interested in the project. Devi, along with Board members; Jim Little, Thomas Hiron, Dennis Erickson, Olson, Anderson, Joyce Pyburn, Olivia Neufield, Ken Williams and Kathy Wilcox began the mission.
Mrs. Raju was quite proud of several awards the program went on to achieve including;
- The President’s Action award from Ronald Reagan exemplary achievements in 1983.
- Los Alamos County Chamber of Commerce, in 1988-89, Devi Raju Citizen of the year.
- 1982 from Governor King to “ Self Help” for outstanding volunteer presented by New Mexico Governor’s office of volunteer services and KOB-TV.
Taylor’s board has worked feverishly with volunteers tending to a variety of little details with a goal of making it special for guests. The funds raised will support their emergency fund program which gives small, one-time grants to people who need help overcoming a hurdle in their lives. Situations occasionally arise when people need help with rent, or paying for a prescription copay.
“We believe nobody should go without basic needs like those just because of a temporary setback,” said Taylor. “Because we receive free office space, we have very low overhead and are able to put our money where it matters.”
Taylor enjoys being able to make a difference and feels honored to share stories with clients and help improve their lives. Clients often send lovely thank-you notes or funny little gifts and always make the hard work worthwhile.