Service

The Invisible War

It's Martin Luther King, Jr. Day - a day on, not a day off. This year, like the few previous, I have planned to dedicate the day to service, particularly since I am no longer employed full-time by a national service organization. I did not make it happen today.

So, in the spirit of what Martin Luther King, Jr. taught us - about equality, service, and human rights - I would like to share this video that was brought to my attention by the folks at Miss Representation, a documentary film-turned-campaign "that seeks to empower women and girls to challenge limiting labels in order to realize their potential."

Jennifer Siebel Newsom, who wrote, directed, and produced Miss Representation (2011, find a way to see it if you haven't), is a producer on a new documentary called, The Invisible War, Official Selection at 2012 Sundance Film Festival. The film brings to light the prevalence of sexual assault in the military. 

I do not want to say too much before seeing the film or doing any research beyond the trailer, but that such large scale atrocities are taking place within the United States and its government agencies - particularly one created to protect us - devastates and angers me. I hope this film is the beginning of a louder, more effective and efficient movement to eradicate this particular disgusting injustice.


Blog Action Day: Poverty - Jumpstart

Today is the second annual Blog Action Day and the issue is poverty. I can't talk about poverty without talking about children. I can't talk about children without talking about education and I can't talk about education without talking about Jumpstart. Readers who know me know about Jumpstart and my passion for its mission, but for those who don't, Jumpstart is an example of what is RIGHT about this country.

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Founded in 1993 by college students, Jumpstart has worked for the past 15 years to help children from families in poverty enter school ready to succeed. They pair highly trained college students to work one-on-one with preschool students for a year. The volunteers play, read, and listen to the children. In short, they level the playing field so the preschool students enter kindergarten on the same plain as their middle- and upper-income peers. Jumpstart is an AmeriCorps program that helps America's youngest citizens at a critical stage in their lives and the college students who work with them. In addition to developing meaningful and fulfilling relationships, the college students receive Work Study wages and AmeriCorps awards to put toward furthering their own education.

This year alone, Jumpstart is serving nearly 15,000 children in 20 states and continues to work toward the day that every child in America enters school prepared to succeed. Jumpstart isn't going to solve the global poverty crisis, but they are making a significant dent in a meaningful way and educating children who just may solve the poverty crisis themselves some day.

For more information, click here for Jumpstart's current fact sheet.