About Raindrop Turkish House

Raindrop Foundation

9301 W. Bellfort Ave. Houston, TX 77031

 

Raindrop Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3), educational, charitable, social and cultural organization founded by Turkish-Americans in Houston in 2000. It now operates in six states: Texas, Arkansas, Kansas, Oklahoma, Mississippi and New Mexico.

The Raindrop Foundation aims to cultivate friendship and promote understanding of diverse cultures through its unique services to the community. We strive to establish bridges between the Turkish and American cultures and communities by providing easily accessible educational, social, and cultural services. Services are provided with the intention of contributing to global peace at the grassroots level by sharing Turkey’s heritage of tolerance and understanding. Below are various services the Raindrop Foundation (RDF) provides:

Educational Services:

In the academic area, RDF contributes to an increasingly rich and multicultural American education in following ways:

  1. Aiding schools (including universities, community colleges, and secondary schools) in establishing Turkish language programs. RDF sponsors “for credit” Turkish courses at the University of Houston and the University of Texas at Austin. RDF provides support to schools ranging from finding qualified instructors to furnishing schools with materials.
  2. RDF aims to help establish study abroad programs in Turkey. As a benefit of its location, Turkey offers a rich history and culture to its visitors. Based on schools’ goals, RDF can provide assistance in accommodation, food, transportation and contact with local families, schools and other institutions. In April of 2012, RDF sponsored a Study Turkey program at Austin high school in which eighty-two seniors were a part of a ten-day trip that included visits to historical, cultural and religious sites, educational institutions as well as visits with local families. Students prepared short documentaries on different aspects of the country.
  3. RDF welcomes field trips to its 17 branches, where students can experience presentations about Turkey’s history and culture. Visitors will have the opportunity to taste samples from Turkish cuisine. This is an educational and fun field trip opportunity for schools.

Cultural Services:

  1. Cuisine classes: Introducing culinary culture developed from the era of the Ottoman Empire.
  1. RDF offfers cuisine classes within its branches. These classes are open to community members of all ages and are great to take as a family or with friends
  1. With its experience in cuisine classes and experienced instructors, RDF can also provide culinary courses or after school cuisine programs at schools.
  1. Art classes: RDF can introduce traditional Turkish and Ottoman arts such as Ebru. Ebru is the name of Ottoman water marbling art, which is based on transfering artisitic designs created on water to paper, giving it a magical sense.
  1. Turkish cultural festivals: Every year each Raindrop branch organizes a traditonal Turkish Cultures Festival where a kaleidoscope of varying people from the Turkish world is showcased.  Not only an educational adventure for those in attendance and involved, the Turkish Cultures Festival is an entertaining event that joins together international communities. The event includes performances from the famous Ottoman Army Band, music groups, and folk dances as well as handcrafts, calligraphy and of course delicious world renown Turkish cuisine. RDF calues collaberation with the universities and K-12 schools to feature activities that contribute to the diverse culture of America.
  1. Turkish Language and Culture Olympiad: One of the main events that Raindrop Foundation organizes is the annual Turkish Language and Culture Olympiad. RDF values language learning and organized this event to motivate students to learn a second (or third!) language. Turkish is listed as one of the critical languages under the National Security Language Initiative (NSLI). NSLI is an interagency initiative of the Departments of State, Education, and Defense, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. The initiative is designed to dramatically increase the number of Americans learning critical need foreign languages such as Turkish, Chinese, and Persian through new and expanded programs that begin in kindergarten and run throughout university and into the workforce. In order to encourage multilingualism in students as early as possible, Raindrop has been organizing the Turkish Language and Culture Olympiad with an increasing participation each year.
  1. Intercultural dialog dinners: A main goal of each RDF branch is to establish good relations with their neighbors. One of the events serving this goal is the Friendship and Engagement Dinner where RDF branches gather with their neighbors and community members for a friendly dinner at the centers. We enjoy food and conversation, strengthen friendships and form a culture of “living together”. At these dinner meetings we also recognize the contributions of different personnel, institutions and organizations (e.g. fire department, police department, city members, museums, libraries, educators).

Aid Efforts

Raindrop also helps those in need through its charity organization called “Helping Hands.” The purpose of Helping Hands is to assist, with all forms of aid within our means, people such as the homeless, destitute, widowers, patients, orphans, veterans, and those affected by catastrophes such as earthquakes, floods, fires, etc. Helping Hands also aims to develop and strengthen social responsibility, solidarity, aid and consciousness and contribute to improvement of the socioeconomic level of society. RDF will be happy to run projects in collaboration with schools.

RDF Helping Hands also organizes health fair in Houston. Families receive free immunizations and health screenings at the fair. The fair provides free diabetes, blood pressure and cholesterol tests, along with free dental screenings.

Intercultural Trips to Turkey

RDF organizes and sponsors Intercultural Trips to Turkey every year. Our tours don’t just take participants to museums and natural sites, they help them feel Turkey: palace-museums and housing relics dating back more than a millennium, bustling markets where vendors and buyers have haggled for hundreds of years, artisans who practice crafts passed down for generations. Moreover, we invite them to dine on tables set on sidewalks overlooking the evening traffic of Anatolian cities and we welcome all to our friends’ homes to share meals.

Family workshops

At Raindrop family workshops we include a variety of activities for different interests so that children, teenagers and adults can come together and enjoy sports, reading, delicious meals, and more.

Additional Services

Raindrop contributes to a colorful society by organizing, sponsoring and hosting cultural and social events such as Nevruz picnics, traditional dinners, Turkish coffee nights, International Women’s day, soccer games, Noah’s pudding days, art exhibits Whirling Dervishes’ performances-- all to establish and enhance friendship ties with our neighbors and local communities and form a culture of “living together”.

Raindrop Foundation ties together the vision, values, and cooperative spirit of the different communities in the southwestern states. RDF is committed to strengthening the bridge that connects the Turkish and American cultures. We invite you to connect with us and view current and past events at www.turkishhouse.org, or join us at one of our locations as we work toward achieving a common goal.

Raindrop Turkish House is a non-profit 501(c)(3), educational, charitable, social and cultural organization founded by Turkish-Americans in Houston in 2000 and now it operates in six states: Texas, Arkansas, Kansas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, and New Mexico.

Next to being a home to Turkish-Americans, Raindrop Turkish House addresses their social and cultural needs and helps them integrate into this multicultural society better. The mission of Raindrop is to introduce Turkish culture into American society and cultivate friendship and promote the understanding of diverse cultures through its unique services to the community, through dialog and cooperation.

Raindrop organizes every year its traditional Turkic Cultures and Children’s Festival where the kaleidoscope of varying people from Turkic World is showcased. Representative bodies and communities from Azerbaijan, Bosnia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, The Kyrgyz Republic, Uzbekistan and more celebrate the rich mosaic of variant cultures and heritages with the help of both local and international sponsors. Not only an educational accomplishment for those mesmerized by the amazing sights or for those involved, the Turkic Cultures and Children’s Festival is an entertaining event that joins together international communities. This event includes the famous Ottoman Army Band, handcrafts, calligraphy, music groups, folk dances, and of course delicious worldwide known Turkish cuisine.

One of the main events that Raindrop Turkish House organizes is the annual Turkish Language and Culture Olympiad. Turkish is one of the critical languages under the National Security Language Initiative (NSLI). NSLI is an interagency initiative of the Departments of State, Education, and Defense, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. The initiative is designed to dramatically increase the number of Americans learning critical need foreign languages such as Turkish, Chinese, Persian and others through new and expanded programs from kindergarten throughout university and into the workforce. In order to encourage students to study Turkish and start doing this as early as possible, Raindrop has been organizing Turkish Language and Culture Olympiad with an increasing participation each year.

Raindrop organizes and sponsors Intercultural Trips to Turkey every year. Our tours don’t just take participants to the sites, the museums, and the natural sites, rather help them feel Turkey: palace-museums and housing relics dating back more than a millennium, bustle of markets where vendors have haggled with buyers for hundreds of years, artisans who practice crafts passed down for generations. Moreover, we invite them to dine on tables set on sidewalks overlooking the evening traffic of Anatolian cities. We welcome all to our friends’ homes to share meals.

Raindrop contributes in colorful life of society by organizing, sponsoring and hosting cultural and social events such as Turkish cuisine classes, cultural nights, Nevruz picnics, traditional dinners, Turkish coffee nights, International Women’s day, soccer games, Noah’s pudding days, Whirling Dervishes’ performances, and Intercultural Dialog Dinners where we enjoy and strengthen friendship ties with our neighbors and local communities and form a culture of “living together”. In addition, we host artistic exhibitions throughout the year. Kids, youngsters, and adults are all together once a year but its taste is always in our minds: Raindrop family workshops, which include many activities such as sports, reading, delicious meals, and more.

Raindrop also offers educational services such as Turkish and English classes, music courses, seminars and international conferences. These educational activities mentor students from various majors through its affiliations with the University of Houston, Texas Tech University, and University of Houston Clear Lake and help university students become well versed in community matters and be aware of the international world.

Raindrop also helps the needy through its charity organization called “Helping Hands.” The purpose of Helping Hands is to help, with all forms of aid within our possibilities, people such as the needy, homeless, destitute, widowers, patients, orphans, veterans, and the ones affected by catastrophes such as earthquake, flood, fire, etc. Helping Hands also aims to develop and strengthen social responsibility, solidarity, aid, consciousness and contribute in improving socioeconomic level of the society.

Raindrop organizes Breakfast & Morning conversations, which is a series of public conversations that draw together diverse minds to discuss critical issues and engage in cooperative social action. Raindrop ties together the vision, values, and cooperative spirit of Houston’s different communities to work together toward common ground. For the current events and past activities, you can visit our website at www.raindropturkishhouse.org or www.turkishhouse.org Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.  

Board of Directors 

CHAIRMAN             : MR. RUHI OZGEL, MA            

VICE CHAIRMAN     :  MR. YALCIN DEMIRBAS

TREASURER           : MR. GOKAY BESLI,MED

SECRETARY            : MR. HALIL TAS, PH.D.

MEMBER                :  MR. YASAR TIRYAKIOGLU

MEMBER                : MRS. TUBA ALPAT, MD

MEMBER                : MRS. DILEK SUSLU, PH.D.

PRESIDENT / CEO   : MEHMET OKUMUS, MED

CEO of LEARNING CENTERS : JOHN GUROL DUMAN

 

ORGANIZATIONAL CHART OF RAINDROP FOUNDATION INC.

 

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