Comparing versions of Boda - Writing to Explore

Showing changes between September 2, 2010 at 8:20:17 am (crossed out) and August 1, 2012 at 10:59:46 am (underlined)

Ideas for NOFOs:
It's become the much parodied Miss America question, "If you become Miss America, how would you change the world for the better?" Miss America came about in 1921, and we still have war, hunger, and disease. Either a lot of young ladies took their scholarship money and ran or there are no easy answers. Thousands of non-profits have tried to answer that question and yet, here we are. Problems galore.
When I read the assigned question, "How can I make a difference in the world/in the St. Petersburg community?", I instantly flashed to the classroom in the film, "Pay It Forward". Kevin Spacey, a 7th grade social studies teacher, asks his class this question - adding extra credit if they can make it last all year long. The film's message to "pay it forward" resonated so much that it's required viewing to qualify as my friend.
Paying it forward doesn't require a $5000 grant. All it really takes is compassion. It takes the willingness of someone to go out of their way to help someone they might not necessarily know. It's not sexy, it doesn't have a clever ribbon, it doesn't have a day, week, or a month dedicated to it. But there you have it - the answer to world peace. Pay it forward. If someone does you a favor. Don't pay them back. Pay it forward to someone else. It's simple and practically no one does it. Why?
Alas - that's not the assignment. We must award $5000 to a non-profit agency do their mission. So I must ask, can we think of a way to fund "pay it forward"? Can you teach compassion to a society that does not value compassion? Is there a non-profit out there already trying to do this? If so, what could our $5000 do to help them? Do we give them a fish or do we teach them to fish?
Ultimately, I have to admit my cynicism here. My background colors my opinion. I lived overseas for 13 years of my adult life. I've done humanitarian work and been a tourist in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia where the American poverty standard would be considered a 4-star resort experience for the vast majority of people in those areas. There are no social safety nets in most third world nations. There is no welfare, food stamps, WIC, Medicare, or any number of programs our government provides. Knowing how bad it can be compared to how good we have it in America has hardened my already shrunken, black walnut for a heart when it comes to the down and out American.
...sigh... Okay, fine - I'll admit. I do have a bleeding heart. I do believe in helping my fellow man. And there's the rub. My conflict. I'm a star thrower. There are miles and miles of beach littered with humankind needing help. I'm resigned that I can't help them all. But I can help someone. And if they pay it forward, they can help someone. And so on...

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