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  • Edición impresa de Agosto 16, 2011

Do you live in a privileged place? I think I do. The reason I have to say this is that in the last weeks I have seen an amazing local movement to serve children.

In most of the cities in Northern Indiana, organizations gathered resources and volunteers in order to assist children in the process of going back to school next week.

It is the strong volunteering spirit that comes to the rescue of others in every occasion in the United States.

There were several sites in the area; South bend, Elkhart, Goshen and Fort Wayne, among others, where thousands of children this past Saturday received backpacks, school supplies, medical exams, eye check ups, and in some cases even clothing and shoes.

Every year more families wait for the day when they will receive assistance for their children. Since the financial situation of many has not changed in the past two years due to lack of employment, they have to ask for help. Meanwhile the rope tightens more and more in the school corporations as they find they have to do more with less resources since their budgets have been cut once more. In many school corporations the teachers that left were not replaced, at the same time the expectations about teacher performance has increased.

There is a hopeful ambiance that wants to believe that based in good wishes and volunteer actions you can compensate for the benefits that have been taken away.

For the children all those gatherings were a party! They enjoyed the attention, the presents, the popcorn and the music. It was a festival geared to getting them ready for school!

Every individual perhaps remembers what it was like to have new books, a new backpack, pencils, etc., and to expect a new teacher, subjects and maybe a different school. Everything smelled fresh and new.

For some children though, daily life brings them back quickly to the cold reality of the lack of possibilities. Some go without food at home and even though the schools try to provide breakfast and lunch, they can see how the situation is back at home. In some instances they are homeless or live in crowed conditions where they may even be exposed to danger.

Children deserve the best. Every child should have the right to a clean start without money worries or scarcity. In a country where so much is wasted and thrown away, a more coordinated effort could be made to offer children a different present that may guarantee a more stable and successful future.

The moneys spent on wars, arms and jails would serve a better purpose if dedicated to the time and place where they are needed, in a well-funded, secure education.

Volunteers play a commendable role and they are very much needed. Nevertheless, a second look at structures in organizations shows that, while the directors and paid staff get the applause for their ‘ accomplishments’, the volunteers, in many cases jobless, receive a thank you and I hope to see you around the next time.

Some of the moneys spent in high salaries could go to a stipend for the ‘volunteers that make each task possible.

It is wonderful to see what took place in this geographical area. I am sure the same is taking place throughout the country. Volunteers are the backbone of this society. They take it upon themselves to compensate for all the work that has been left unfinished or undone. A big applause to them! Without the volunteers daily life would be very hard.

I wish I could say the same for every politician and bureaucrat in Washington that has lost their connection to the people they are supposed to serve.

 

 


 

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