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Travel Fairy Godmother's Summer Magic Includes Sending 12 Homeless and Needy Kids to San Diego and a Benedictine Nun to Ireland to Fulfill Her Lifelong Dream


September 25, 2008 (Boston, MA)- Focused on her Travel Fairy Godmother mission to provide unique travel experiences for people who might not get to special places in the world without her assistance,  nationally syndicated radio show travel expert Stephanie Abrams waved her magic wand this summer and created trips for a group of 12 needy children and their chaperones to San Diego for 9 days in August and a trip to Ireland for  an 81 year old Benedictine Nun and her traveling companion for 11 days who returned to the US on September 17th . Abrams explains that her mission is to provide children with opportunities to raise their horizons and to understand that their lives can be any way they want them to be by introducing them to places where natural beauty and evidence of humanity's finest accomplishments abound.

Abrams, who hosts the coast-to-coast radio show Travel WITH Stephanie Abrams on the Business TalkRadio©, Traveling Feet heard nationally on radio, and whose web site, has been honored repeatedly as a Best Website by the League of American Communications Professionals, says her focus as the Travel Fairy Godmother is in keeping with her professional mission of introducing children and adults to places from which she believes they will return inspired, enriched, uplifted and enhanced and somehow know they are better people than when they left home. Individuals upon whom travel experiences are bestowed are either identified by Abrams or brought to her attention by radio listeners, web visitors or those who know of her decades of leadership in the travel industry.

Abrams was recently contacted by Kathy Jarvis of Fort Smith, Arkansas who brought Sister Catherine Markey to Abrams' attention. Jarvis' father, who was raised with his three brothers from toddlers to adulthood by the Benedictines, frequently noted that there was nothing that could ever be done to repay the nuns who raised them. Trying to repay her father's debt of gratitude with her volunteer work at the Benedictines' Monastery in Fort Smith, Jarvis came to admire Sister Catherine whose maternal and paternal grandparents were Irish. Jarvis explained that she would like to see Sister Catherine's lifelong wish to visit Ireland fulfilled as part of her own commitment to try to repay the Benedictines for their nurturing of her father and uncles.

“Three weeks after I was contacted by Kathy Jarvis, Sister Catherine's trip was in order! I choose perfect accommodations in perfect locations to make sure this would be a perfect trip,” Abrams explains.  “Kathy accompanied Sister Catherine to Shannon. They were met in Ennis by a car and driver from Dooley Car Rental and were received for a visit and lunch at the Cliffs of Moher. During their three-day stay at the Galway Bay Hotel, daily excursions whisked them off to Kylemore Abbey, an international girls' school run by Benedictine Nuns, Connemara, Cong and Galway Town.  I arranged for the Director of Knock Shrine, Pat Lavelle, to drive them to Knock Shrine where they spent one night. Then came the big surprise!” Abrams states.  “I decided I had to meet Sister Catherine and Kathy and flew to Ireland to intercept them in Knock and act as their guide for the last 6 days of their trip. It was a surprise for them and a sheer delight for me!”

The rest of the trip included stops at historic and spiritual locations such as Trinity College's Book of Kells exhibit and the unique library in Dublin, Clonmacnoise, Glendalough, Powers Court Falls, the Dunbrody Famine Ship in New Ross, the Waterford Crystal Factory, the Ring of Kerry, Foynes Flying Boat Museum and a special farewell dinner at the Temple Gate Hotel in Ennis, once a convent, with its owner, John Madden. Other overnight stays included Fitzpatrick Castle in Co. Dublin, an 18th century Irish castle, Cork Imperial Hotel, and the Carrygerry Country House in Newmarket-on-Fergus to end the trip with the ambiance of the countryside but within 5 minutes' drive from Shannon Airport for an easy getaway the next morning.

Sister Catherine remarked that the most memorable parts of her trip to Ireland were the memories of the kindness and sincere warmth of the Irish people. She remarked that if she went back to Ireland again, the place she'd like to spend more time is in the library museum at Trinity College located above the Book of Kells exhibit area.

“I suspect,” Abrams notes, “that Sister Catherine's background, experience and skills as the archivist for the Benedictine Monastery in Fort Smith, Arkansas, where she is still actively involved daily in that position, has something to do with her interest in the ancient books in that library!  I told Sister Catherine, ‘There's always next year!' ” Abrams states. Sister Catherine and Kathy Jarvis are featured on the September 27, 2008 broadcast of Traveling Feet which broadcasts on radio, streams live at in the 11am to 1pm ET time slot, and is permanently archived at the site. A list of radio markets in which the show is heard can be found by clicking on Broadcast Info in the site's navigation bar.

In August, Abrams provided a trip to San Diego for twelve children ranging in age from 6 to 12 years who were accompanied by chaperones from the Giving Tree Outreach Program which rescues homeless children from the streets and assists the children of needy families. Abrams notes that she is very proud that, “One of this summer's chaperones was one of teens that I sent to Ireland for 22 nights last summer! She came back from that glorious experience, played a key role in implementing the First Walk for Homeless Children by Homeless Children that took place on November 17, 2007 in Tucson. Since coming back, she has been awarded a full scholarship at a major university.  These are the kinds of positive outcomes I hope for as a result of young travelers being able to see the world beyond the streets they live on.”

Abrams says she chose the Hilton Gardens Inn San Diego Del Mar as the ideal place to base the young people because of the “spacious accommodations and their philosophy of making guests truly feel at home as well as their great location for sightseeing in San Diego. And I knew that their Managing Partner, Bob Rauch, known as the Travel Guru, was up to the challenge of making sure that these special kids felt right at home at their great property!” In addition to having the services, features and benefits that the Hilton Gardens Inn Del Mar provided, Abrams organized visits to Legoland, Sea World, San Diego Zoo, and a day at sea with Hornblower Cruises.

“One of the children remarked that his dream to see the sky meet the ocean had been fulfilled and it was the highlight of his experience on their day at the beach in San Diego,” Abrams notes.  “I hope that each of the children undertakes the task of doing something to make the world a more beautiful place so that other travelers want to come to see something they are responsible for implementing whether they have improved a neighborhood, planted a garden, painted murals, created sculptures planned seating areas at scenic overlooks or found ways to improve their local library! In most destinations, the places travelers visit are sites created by ordinary people whose passion is braided into a form that brings joy to those who visit for decades, centuries or longer. It is important for young people, particularly those who come from deprived backgrounds, to witness what is possible and within human grasp and invention so that they, too, have something to inspire them and to which they can aspire,” Abrams concludes.

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