GraceGrace Kuroki, Villa Maria Academy ’16

Hello and welcome to Empty Bowls 2016. My name is Grace Kuroki and I am a senior at Villa Maria Academy.

This year Malvern Prep, Notre Dame, and Villa have been collaborating to plan, create, and organize this event since September. We all are very excited to have you here today at the culmination of our efforts. This year we have hand-made 1020 bowls.

We encourage you to consider buying more bowls as each dollar supports Bethesda Project. As your placements state, “$20 gives one person a night of shelter, $30 provides a resident with housing stability for a day, and $125 provides three healthy meals a day for 20 people for a week.” Already, each one of your tickets has supplied a night of shelter for someone in need.

We could not thank you enough for that.

Tonight you will hear reflections on our process from students from Notre Dame and Malvern. We also have the Bethesda Project’s Executive Director and a Malvern Alumni to share thoughts on the event.

On behalf of everyone who took part in this year’s Empty Bowls, we sincerely thank you for all your continued support and ask you to consider assisting in any way you can.

ReganRegan Moran, Academy of Notre Dame de Namur ’17

My name is Regan Moran, and I’m a junior at Notre Dame.

I heard about Empty Bowls through my art teacher, Mrs. Rupertus, when she asked me if I wanted to represent Notre Dame in some kind of ceramics-based charity. My answer was – of course – yes. I love ceramics, and although I didn’t know much about Empty Bowls, it sounded nice.

Driving into Malvern the first day was a little nerve-wracking, mostly because I didn’t know where I was going, but also because I am only a second-year ceramics student and I didn’t know if I was going to be of any help. But I learned a lot in my few months at Malvern about making bowls and about Bethesda Project and its impact on people in need.

I got into it for the ceramics, and it seemed like a good cause. But I was exposed to wide-scale creativity, new approaches to ceramics, new teaching methods, and a sense of community from many different students from Villa Maria, Malvern Prep, and Notre Dame, getting together to give back.

Each bowl I made was making a contribution. Each bowl is an opportunity to support other people who are stuck in poverty, who are hungry or homeless – people who are in our community. Being able to combine art and giving back makes for a very special kind of charity. Empty Bowls is just that.

So if you appreciate art, come to an open studio next year and help glaze or make a bowl. And if you’re having fun tonight, bring your family and friends next year, because every bowl and every person here is making a positive change.

TaitTait McGlinn, Malvern Prep ’16

Good evening everyone.  My name is Tait McGlinn and I will be graduating this year as a senior at Malvern Prep.  

Having only a few short months left at Malvern has caused me to think and reflect on the past 7 years of my life at this school. For me they were years of growth, physically, intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually.  Malvern has made me the young man I am today, but I still find myself asking, what for? What makes a Malvern, or Villa, or Notre Dame education valuable?  

I’ve found that the importance of what we learn doesn’t come from that material itself.  All the tests and quizzes we take, all projects we collaborate on, they don’t matter if we’re not using what we learn to benefit others.  What we choose to do with that information makes what we learn each day meaningful.

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]All the tests and quizzes we take, all projects we collaborate on, they don’t matter if we’re not using what we learn to benefit others.  What we choose to do with that information makes what we learn each day meaningful.[/pullquote]

There are so many others ways we can raise money for a great cause like the Bethesda Project.  Why do we choose to make ceramic bowls of all things to sell at a charity event and raise money?  I’ve come to realize that the importance of this event is that we are using our talents, our God-given gifts, to give back, something that we are all called to do.  There is a bigger lesson here than simply raising money for a great cause.  We make these bowls as a community: one person may throw the bowl, another will trim it, and a third will glaze it any which way.  In making these bowls, we are choosing to take what we have learned and make the world a better place.  If you think about it, there are not many aspects of our life that we are able to apply this idea to.  With our hands, we have truly learned how to serve others.

Every day when I get home from school, I put my keys in a small cup made by my older brother in his ceramics class when he was at Malvern.  Carved into the cup, there is a quote from a Mumford and Sons song.  It reads, “Keep my eyes to serve, my hands to learn.”  I’ve seen that phrase every day, but have only now come to realize what it means.  We, everyone involved in Empty Bowls, have learned by doing.  We learned how much effort goes into each bowl.  And we’ve learned what each bowl really symbolizes.  

It’s amazing to think that each bowl at your table represents a night of shelter for one person.  For me, that puts it all in perspective.  That makes the countless hours spent in the studio worth it.  And tonight we are able to serve others by watching.- watching how great of an impact a handmade bowl can make on someone’s day and knowing that that smile once they’ve picked the perfect bowl is ultimately helping someone in dire need.  This quote is so simple and encapsulates what Empty Bowls is all about.  

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Photo by Teresa Salinas