Blessing Hands is a public charity dedicated to helping and
nurturing people by providing support systems and
improving access to educational opportunities.
Blessing Hands is a 501(c)(3) public charity administered by a board
of five directors under bylaws. Our headquarters is in Morehead,
Kentucky, a small college town. Our founder and president is Betty
Cutts, a volunteer ESL teacher, housewife, and mother. We are a
faith based charity that seeks to help people help themselves and
History of the Program in Yangshuo County, Guilin, Guangxi, China
Blessing Hands began in the fall of 2005 as a simple fund to provide
tuition supplements for 185 primary and 31 lower middle school
children in the Yangshuo County Schools, for a total of 216 children
in 30 rural schools. Teachers at a 2005 summer English camp,
where Betty Cutts was teaching, reported the names of students in
their classes who could not afford tuition for the coming semester.
, a professor at Guangxi Normal University in Guilin,
China, oversaw this initial program for the Blessing Hands Fund. She
had been a visiting scholar at Morehead State University and got her
masters degree at Morehead. She handled funds and communication
between the Blessing Hands Fund and Gloria Wei, the Yangshuo
administrator for Blessing Hands, who also worked for the
Yangshuo County Educational Department. Betty Cutts knew Gloria Wei, because she was the
administrator of the 2005 summer English camp in Yangshuo where she
Betty Cutts spoke at clubs and small groups concerning the needs of
these students and sent Internet reports and appeals for help for
the children. There were no firm plans to incorporate or become a
nonprofit charity. In January of 2006 the Chinese Government
made an announcement that rural children in Western provinces under
15 years of age would receive free tuition. This change was
announced to Blessing Hands donors and adjustments were made to the
new situation for the children already enrolled in Blessing Hands,
and high school students, who could not pay their tuition, were
added to our rolls.
In late February of 2006, Founding Family Charitable Foundation gave
Blessing Hands a grant of $25,000 with matching funds also
offered until December 31, 2006. This grant came because of an
e-mail that was forwarded to the Foundation by a mutual friend. With
these new funds, plans were made to increase the number of Yangshuo
County children receiving educational aid to 282.
In August 2006 Betty Cutts, Malan Cai, and Nina Ottinger of the
Founding Family Foundation were in Yangshuo to observe the Blessing
Hands educational aid program, conduct well child physicals (Nina is
a nurse practitioner), and assist with an eyeglass clinic for our
students and Yangshuo teachers. A team of six Americans participated
in the eye clinic that was a cooperative effort involving the
People’s Hospital of Yangshuo, Sister Cities of Morehead, and
Blessing Hands Internship
In the summer of 2007, our first intern, Megan Mraz
State University, spent two weeks in Yangshuo. She participated in a Friendship Art Day where our Blessing Hands
students created individual paintings that were entered in an
art show in Morehead, KY in the fall of 2007. The winning painting
of that show was entered in the Sister Cities International
Young Artist Competition in 2008. Megan also participated in a
Sports Day and visited schools, which became Sister Schools
to American schools. When she
returned to campus that fall, she advocated for Blessing
Hands students and spoke in area schools. She stayed with a local
family while she was in Yangshuo. As funds and arrangements allowed, two other interns, Laura White and Leanna Gilliam have gone to Yangshuo in 2010 and 2011.
Qinzhou County, Guangxi Province, P. R. China
When the Founding Family Charitable Foundation grant was awarded,
a large portion was allocated to the Qinzhou area. The rural schools
around Qinzhou City lack the resources of the city schools. All
schools that serve the higher middle school students have to charge
tuition, since the government does not pay tuition for most students over
15 years of age. Betty Cutts taught middle school teachers in a English camp in Qinzhou in the summer of 2004.
Anna Liu, who
was the administrator of that summer camp in Qinzhou, later was a visiting scholar to Morehead State University before she became the
independent administrator of this tuition program. One hundred and eighty students were served in the 2006/2007 school year. Anna was known as a leader
in education in the Qinzhou area, having received prizes and awards over the
years for her work at No.1 Middle School, where she was the leader
over the English teachers. Her outstanding reputation enabled her to
gain the trust of the rural teachers and principals.
Each rural school sends their students and a teacher to our tuition
gatherings. Since the Qinzhou
area is so vast, it is best to let the students come to Qinzhou with
their schools’ teacher representative to receive their tuition
envelopes. At these gatherings, clothes and school supplies
are sometimes dispensed.
Pen Pal and Sister Schools programs
Blessing Hands also opened up opportunities for our students
to communicate internationally through e-pal and pen pal exchanges. We encourage pen pal matches between students in
Yangshuo and American classrooms through our sister schools program,
which facilitates exchanges of letters, drawings, and photographs.
The American schools and Chinese schools sent Sister School boxes once a year. High school students wrote email
to their foreign friends. This program was suspended in 2012 due to the difficulties of communicating in different languages between schools without internet facilities in rural areas.
New proposals are planned for the future. All of these activities are designed to help poor children reach
their full potential. The Chinese word for fortune is also
translated as blessings. All people want to be fortunate or blessed.
We want to make it more than luck but sure blessings that they
receive and pass on to others. We are seeking to help students reach
their full potential. They first help themselves and then are
expected to turn and bless others in the same way.
The Blessing Hands Blog started August 29, 2005 as a report on Betty
Cutts’ visit to rural schools and summer English camp experiences. You can see our history in this blog at this link. http://blessinghands.blogspot.com. When newsletters became more effective, the blog became a place to post recent newsletters and movies.