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Posts Tagged ‘support’

I learn some really cool things from the Christian Science Monitor. (I’m on their listserv for stories about people helping people, the CMS Change Agent newsletter.)

A recent newsletter highlighted an initiative by successful Mexicans living in New York who have decided to offer practical support to poor immigrants from their homeland.

Tyler J. Kelly writes, “The view from Carlos Valverde’s 38th-floor office tells a story by itself – New York stretching below, the mighty skyscrapers of the World Trade Center rising all around.

“Mr. Valverde is the construction manager of the World Trade Center’s Tower Three, responsible for 2 million square feet of real estate, and the vista from his office is, in many ways, the realized vision of many immigrants’ dreams.

“From Brooklyn’s workaday Sunset Park, however, the view is quite different. There, at classes put on by a nonprofit, the Mixteca Organization, six to eight immigrants sit in folding chairs around plastic tables struggling to spell tarea, Spanish for ‘homework,’ or trying to understand the concept of the hundreds’ place in math. …

“In Mexican culture – both in Mexico and here in New York – there’s little tradition of people bridging these two worlds. But that is changing. Valverde is part of a slowly growing effort to bring the resources of New York’s Mexican-American 1 percent to bear on the problems of the 99 percent.

“The benefits for the immigrant community here are plain. Edgar Morales, for one, has gone from being a construction worker to getting a college education paid for by a Mexican philanthropist. He’s now a computer science major with dreams of interning at Google or Microsoft.

“But it has also changed Valverde, who volunteers at Mixteca in Sunset Park, and others like him. In Mexico, the wealthy travel with bodyguards and live in houses surrounded by electrified wire; in the US, some are reaching and gaining a new perspective.

“After spending hours talking with clients about every conceivable detail of an elevator’s interior, Valverde says, ‘I go to Sunset Park and talk to a graduate [at Mixteca] who just finished English 3 and is a baker.’

“Compared with the baker’s reality, he says, the elevator issues seem ‘minute, minuscule.’ ”

More here.

Photo: Ann Hermes/Christian Science Monitor
Carlos Valverde (standing outside 3 World Trade Center in New York) helps new, less affluent Mexican immigrants go to school and find work.

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A few years ago Amy Wyeth wrote an article about Massachusetts veterans services for a magazine I edit. As I was thinking about what I could post here for Veterans Day, I remembered how much I appreciated learning from Amy about an organization for homeless veterans in Leeds, Massachusetts. It has since expanded to other locations.

The emphatic gentleman in the video below (“The Mission Continues”) really moved me. I got the points he made about not telling grownups what to do — instead being there to support them, one by one, in what they need. He advocates decriminalizing substance abuse so that veterans who need treatment can get it.

He notes that all the Solider On staff work directly with the veterans. Even if their job doesn’t entail social services, they all need to understand what the veterans are going through. At the end of the video, he says that the 90 percent of us who didn’t offer to give our lives for our country owe it to the 10 percent who did that, after their service, they can have a place to live and adequate support for what they want to do with the rest of their lives.

Soldier On now serves Mississippi, New York, Western Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. And it offers a separate program for women veterans, run by women veterans.

More here.

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A week or so ago, I wrote about CSA, community-supported arts, a concept that borrows from the community-supported agriculture movement. In case you missed it, here’s the post.

Another creative idea for supporting the arts is crowd funding. I learned about it from the Backstage blog by way of ArtsJournal.com.

” ‘I saw people believing in themselves enough to try and make money for their projects,’ said Monica Mirabile, a co-founder of the Copycat Theatre. Earlier this year, Mirabile was applying for grants for her Baltimore-based theater troupe when a friend suggested she look into Kickstarter, a ‘crowd-funding’ website that promotes artistic projects through social media and allows donors to
support fundraising campaigns with any amount of money they desire. Crowd-funding sites have grown in popularity over the last few years and continue to attract artists and benefactors. …

” ‘This is not the newest idea on the block. It’s very traditional. But we’ve become very used to the idea of someone in a boardroom giving us a check and we hand them a piece of art and cross our fingers. The longer history of art is actually one of patronage that involves the artist’s audience. …

” Users of crowd funding must summarize their projects and goals for potential donors, a process that can help artists sharpen the skills needed to pitch or develop those projects in the future. ‘I learned how to better articulate why I’m doing the project and my artwork and what we’re trying to gain,’ said Mirabile. ‘I made friends because, by promoting, I got to talk to different
people in my community and made connections.’ ”

Read more here. And if you try an approach like Kickstarter, would you let me know how it worked for you? Leave a comment.

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