TheVIPPReport: Surekha Kulkarni talks to me about why she moved her family from India to Louisville

Celebrating AAPI Heritage Month

Special Report–Sherlene Shanklin, WHAS11 Television ABC Louisville

Surekha Kulkarni and her husband moved their family from India in 1986 to Louisville to make sure her young son had every opportunity to be the best he could be. She tells me why she made the sacrifice. “We did not move here for money or fame or fortune we came here because of a school.” Her young son was in kindergarten and she had learned he was dyslexic needed additional educational instruction which the de Paul School in Louisville, Kentucky provided.

We felt it was not a choice really, so we moved a family of four. With no job, no way of knowing but the school was there. And it was actually a totally different experience for me. She says “After moving here, I have experienced so much! I’ve done so much.”

Kulkarni says a recession was going on and all the degrees and experience her husband had still did not help him get a job at first. She says “When he couldn’t get a job. We decided to buy a grocery store so that way we could get food.” They owned and operated the store for years at Oak and Swan Streets called the 828 with no previous experience. She goes on to say that the community embraced and supported them. “They just accepted me but They could not pronounce our names so they changed it I became Sue and Suhas  became Sam. So Sue and Sam of the store.”

When not working in the store Kulkarni volunteered at the school. Kulkarni says “So my son started school from day one and we appreciate and let so grateful, I started working in library as a volunteer just a way to give back. That might be what started, my beginnings of volunteering career.”

Within three years, the family was on track which gave her the confidence to say you can do whatever you want. She went to India for a stay and decided to take a jewelry class in her free time. “So, I took this class and I enjoyed it so much that I haven’t stopped” Kulkarni says.

Then The Beaded Treasures Project was created. She volunteered with the Kentucky Refuge Ministries. Where she says, “I found that I really enjoyed it and loved teaching and connecting. It was amazing to see the transformation. Because in the beginning, these women came from various countries, like Iraq, and the Congo. All faced terrible ravages. They were traumatized.”

Beaded Treasures not only generated wealth but generated self-esteem, a sense of purpose and self-sufficiency. Kulkarni says “I saw that not only were they making jewelry, and selling it at the events, five of them started working full time, three of them started working on their education. Some had finished high school and some had a couple of years of college. One of them now has gone back to Nepal. To start a school because growing there was no school in her village.”

In 2019, Beaded Treasures became a part of Volunteers of America. “This was way more that I expected. Quite amazing like. I had somehow became a part of their transformation. Transformation from diffident to confident, and dependent to independent.

I wanted to know what she wanted to remember her by. She says “That I tried! I want people to know that if you just step out of your comfort zone there’s no stopping you. I’m the perfect example of that. We are the ones that hold ourselves back. And we can make a difference. Each one of us can make a difference. Look at me!”

Kulkarni has a new project “Empowering Beads”. It will be a pop-up shop this summer on the weekends in Norton Commons.

►Contact WHAS11’s Sherlene Shanklin at sshanklin@whas11.com or follow her on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram.

To see the television version of my story, click the link provided:

https://www.whas11.com/article/news/community/moments-that-matter/surekha-kulkarni-beaded-treasures-project-community-women-empowerment-inspiration/417-3e873a14-d190-4191-84cf-66a5868e79ef

TheVIPPReport: Jamey Aebersold shares his love for jazz

Jamey Aebersold

Tucked away on a New Albany street named after his family. Jazz master Jamey Aebersold has been playing music for most of his life. I caught up with him in his studio which is covered with some 15 thousand vinyl albums, thousands of photos which he calls the Smithsonian Jazz Institute of the Midwest. He talks to me about how he was introduced to jazz.  He says “Jazz is the coming thing. When I was young, I got my driver’s license at 16. I got me a 35 dollar car.  I drove to Louisville, in westend where jazz was playing. Every club had jazz. Rock-n-roll had not been invented yet.  Country western wasn’t popular so jazz was basically everywhere. I would go to those places and listen to them.  I would wonder what was going on in their minds.

He never liked to stick to the traditional format. Aebersold says “My dad like Dixieland music. I bought some records. Yeah, I liked it but then when I heard Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, I kinda went that way.” As he hand gestured.   

He goes on to say “It was years later, I would realize that was the foundation that I needed those scales and cords and the fingering of it, so forth…because that would allow me to play what I heard in my head.  (as he hummed a tune) then add a cord to it. That’s how I got started.” 

Jamey told me that he was not a good student and the teacher actually returned his money because he just didn’t have the patience to play the standard scales and cords. In his mind, he was just copying what he saw in the music book.  He wanted to play what was in his head which we know today as improvisation.  When he got older he did receive his formal training and we talked about it.  He said, “I went to Indiana University and they didn’t have saxophone but they put me on the woodwind degree. So, I had to take lessons in oboe the flute, the basson, clarinet, and I don’t think I took saxophone lessons from anyone but the second year a guy was getting his graduate degree and they let him give me lessons. I played the first jazz recital at Indiana University which was a big deal back then 1960/61.” He talked about the audience giving his a standing ovation for that performance.   

Aebersold was very humble, knowledgeable, and full wisdom that we could of literally stayed with him all day and still would not of been able to cover everything he’s accomplished.  He  Performing in the all over the world and receiving so many accolades along the way.  From receiving the National Endowment for the Arts which is the highest honor given to jazz musicians in the U.S. to receiving the Indiana Governor’s Arts Award by Mitch Daniels. He had a table full of awards, even a letter from the White House from President Barack Obama.   

I wanted to know if he thought jazz was a lost art. He responded quickly by saying “No, no, no. I tell you why. When people play jazz they use their imagination. They are very creative and its coming from here to the fingers and that’s not going to stop.”

He says anyone can improvise. He says, “Too many don’t even try because they feel like they are not good enough”. 

I wanted to know what would be his legacy.  He says there’s to much to do now to worry about the future.  There’s still so much to do now.  He gave some good advice that he hopes more people would apply to their life and that was to be nice to people. 

To learn more about Jamey Aebersold and his Jazz Play-A-Longs, go to jazzbooks.com.  you may even see him a classroom if you attend Bellarmine, I-U, or U of L.     

Contact Sherlene Shanklin at sherlene@sherleneshanklin.com or follow me on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram.

To see the television version of the story. Click the link provided: https://www.whas11.com/article/news/community/moments-that-matter/jamey-aebersold-new-albany-jazz-muscian-beallarmine-uofl-indiana-university-teacher-music/417-c14b168b-979e-430c-b9e6-198f5d81fe57

The VIPP Report: NFL star Bilal Powell is building relationships and homes in Indiana and Kentucky

NFL’s Bilal Powell building relationships and homes off the field

The Former University of Louisville running back says Louisville is a good place to raise his family

Sherlene M. Shanklin

Your Story: As we wait for the football season to get started.  A former Cardinal and NFL star actually lives in Louisville hoping to build relationships and homes.  WHAS11’s Sherlene Shanklin talks to Bilal Powell. 
As Bilal Powell awaits to hear what team he will play for this NFL season he continues to build.
Homes that is…The former UofL Cardinal and NY Jets Running Back is now the co-owner of a home building company. 

Powell says “I was always into real estate and my partner and I was introduced through some mutual friends. It started off a friendship and we got to talking finally realized he was a builder.”

His business partner at GreyBuilt Homes is Aaron Witt. They decided to team up to grow the business. Named after Witt’s daughter.
He says “The people I know and the people he knows we figured that we don’t have to be a small time business we can really take over the area.”

Powell me on a tour of Floyd Knobs, Indiana . He’s currently looking into opportunities to help in West Louisville. I asked the Florida native why did he decide to come back to Louisville? “Louisville is a great city you know my wife is from here.  The city is so family oriented. And I was like this is a great place to raise a family.”

I had to ask the question his fans wanted to know.  If a NFL team calls tomorrow would he go back?  He says his magic number is 10. So he continues to work out five days a week in the morning before heading into his office.  His answer, “Yes, I want to get in 10 years.  Its just a personal goal for me to get in ten years.  I got the opportunity to play under Ladamion Thompson and he did 10 years obviously Matt Forte’ did 10 years.”

Powell keeps up with his brothers of U of L and the Jets and some plan to team up on future projects.  
“Just being an alumni of U of L, the brotherhood. I actually have other teammates they do concrete, they do all of these different things we are now starting to connect which is awesome.”

He gives some advice to those who want to be in the NFL. It’s not where you start but how you finish and he’s a true testament to that.  He was drafted in the fourth round at 126.  “You definitely have to have a focus and dedication. One thing about the NFL the talent margin is small. “It doesn’t matter if you come in as a first rounder or a seventh rounder or undrafted. If you work hard and do what you need to do and be consistent at what you do. You can stick around for a long time.” 

I also asked Powell what legacy would he like to leave behind? He says, “I’m a guy of few words, but my actions speak louder than my words. I just want to be a guy known to be consistent, my profession, my friendship, my marriage whatever it maybe I was consistent in what I did and something like this is an opportunity to leave something like this for my kids.” 

Bilal Powell hopes to build six to eight homes this year since the economy is now on the upswing. Focusing on building on both sides of the river.  The free agent had nine successful seasons in the NFL to date. 

Contact Sherlene Shanklin at sherlene@sherleneshanklin.com or follow me on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram.

The see the WHAS11 story on Powell click the link provided https://www.whas11.com/article/features/bilal-powell-focused-on-building-homes-in-louisville/417-df751bbf-c074-432a-b06c-2839dd630e99

The VIPP Report: John Legend will be at Horseshoe Casino Southern Indiana

ImageThe VIPP Report: It’s the “All of Me Tour” featuring singer-songwriter and nine-time Grammy Award winner John Legend will be in concert at Horseshoe Casino located in Southern Indiana.   The concert is scheduled for Thursday, April 10th in “The Showroom”.  Legend says this is unlike any tour he’s done before.  Fans can expect an intimate, raw and unplugged show. 

If you have a story you would like The VIPP Report to cover send your request and/or idea to TheVIPPReport@vippcommunications.com. 

You can also follow us on Twitter @VIPPComm.