Astute readers of this blog will recall that, in a recent post, I chided readers to view volunteering as a year-round pursuit, not just something to be done on certain special days of the year. While I am sticking to that stance, a certain special day is upon us so I must chide you to volunteer now, even if only for one day. That day is Monday, Jan. 16 - Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service.
In the endless spatter of political news and propaganda it is easy to miss important decisions that our leaders might be making. One is a potential cut in social programs to help pay for tax relief. If it's not already clear how I feel about this, here's the summary: America should maintain its proud heritage of providing services for the needy.
You are, no doubt, expecting to spend the next three minutes reading about how you should, in this season of thanks and giving, find time to volunteer to help those less fortunate. And, yes, that is one of my themes today.
I was in Rio de Janeiro last month and went into one of the city's favelas, slums known primarily as vast zones of poverty, drug dealing and subsistence living. I went into the Vidigal favela on my own - not on the guided tours that typically bring tourists into the slums - because I'd heard of an unusual new guest house where tourists volunteer to help kids in the community.
What if future history lessons included stories of everyday people? Not everyday people who became president, or painted masterpieces or dominated a sport, but regular folks who left behind stories - and memories - that fade all too soon with the passing of each successive generation.
Sometimes a story comes along that is so powerful and impactful that all we can do is shake our heads in wonder at the feat. Today that story is about Jenny Bowen and her non-profit organization, Half the Sky Foundation.
No generation lives in a vacuum. In fact, the more each generation interacts with others of all ages, the more we all can grow to better understand one another and - importantly - share our knowledge, perspective and compassion to help others.
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