Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

There are many homeless children in Hawai’i, but being homeless shouldn’t mean growing up without opportunities for health, security, education, joy…. There’s one woman and one program located on the Big Island* that seems to go above and beyond in order to provide and make a difference and that’s Magin Patrick and The Christmas Wish Program. Her volunteer-based organization doesn’t just provide holiday gifts, meals and festivities for the Big Island’s homeless, poverty-stricken and abused keiki but they also provide life necessities, personal hygiene kits, food, clothing, emergency services, assistance to help families get off the streets, inspiring kids to stay in school, back to school supplies, a reading and tutoring program, teen mentoring…. As if that wasn’t enough work, in 2007 they introduced a 9 week summer camp, where teens from all over the US come to Hawai’i to mentor homeless keiki with a variety of activities and educational programs.

The Christmas Wish Program is now partnering nonprofit with the USDA Summer Nutrition Program. This program allows them to assure proper nutrition for the kids during summer camp and is a stipend they rely on to keep the project running. But a new policy means they need to show financial stability for their projected attendance and the USDA is now requiring them to have their funds before their application can be approved.

So last month Magin put a call out for some financial assistance to help them meet their goals for this year’s summer camp: to provide hot nutritious meals to 75 homeless and poverty-stricken keiki. The deadline is March 5th yet when I got a second email plea I went on their site and saw out of the $12,112 needed, they’d only raised $267 ($60 being from myself and a company I work for). Times are tough and we all feel it, but they’re still looking for people who can help by covering one child’s healthy, hot breakfast, lunch and dinner for a day – just $8.50! All their staff is on a volunteer basis, which allows 100% of all the donations to help the homeless (and they are tax deductible).

It only takes a minute. If can, please kokua!

Christmas Wish Summer Nutrition Program  (First Giving)

For more info:

Magin Patrick, Executive Director, Christmas Wish Program, Inc. & Project Hawai’i, P.O. Box 1844, Kea’au, HI 96749 • (808) 982-8128 or cell (808)987-6018 • HelpingHands@ChristmasWishProgram.org

The Christmas Wish Program

Volunteer Hawai’i: Christmas Wish Program

Volunteer Hawai’i: Teen Mentoring Program

Great Non-Profits

* Eighteen percent of children on Hawai’i Island live in poverty (Hawaii-Tribune Herald, Feb., 2010)

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by Campus Queen

Those who know me know that I’m very passionate about child protection. Let me tell you a few reasons why.

When I was 10, a friend confessed to me that her stepfather had molested her and her sister.

When I was 12, two friends, sisters, confessed to me that their cousin molested them when they were under six-years-old. The way they described it is that is how they lost their virginity.

When I was in college, two of my friends confessed to me that they had been molested by their fathers.

In college, another friend confessed to me that her cousin repeatedly molested her. When he called and said he was going to come visit her at boarding school, she tried to kill herself.

I kept every secret for every one of those girls.

Now at 40, my best friend’s daughter was abducted, molested, and murdered at age 5.

I’m a mom now and I’m not keeping any more secrets.

Two days ago John McCain released an ad attacking Barack Obama for supporting sex education for kindergarten students. In fact, what Obama supported was age appropriate education for children as a means of teaching them what was proper or improper touching to help protect them against sexual predators [read NY Times for facts behind the distortion]. McCain completely distorted that fact. The cold hard facts are that 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 10 boys are molested by the age of 14 (Department of Justice statistic). And because this crime is so greatly underreported, those numbers are extremely conservative. In 85% of the circumstances, the molester is someone close to this child, which makes this education even more important. If the molester is in the home, they will not be getting this education in the home. Children need to know that no one has the right to hurt them. No one.

Earlier this year Joe Biden introduced Senate Bill 1738, the PROTECT Our Children Act. At the core of The PROTECT Our Children Act is a computer system that enables law enforcement to track and document the trading of child pornography in real time. This system allows the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) taskforces and other authorized law enforcement officers throughout the country to quickly determine who the worst offenders are in a given area. The statistics illustrate how law enforcement is facing literally thousands of new leads every day. The PROTECT Our Children Act will create oversight, accountability and cooperation among the many agencies working to stop this problem and give them the resources, forensic labs and US attorneys to prosecute these cases successfully. Thus far, this system has resulted in a 96% conviction rate without a child ever having to take the stand; the images, videos and narratives justifying the heinous abuse of children stand for themselves.

This Senate bill is Congress’ most aggressive support for law enforcement’s efforts to address the exploding U.S. child pornography industry which consists of more than 600,000 known computers that have been recorded actively trading grotesque videos and images of sexually violent crimes against children. Currently, fewer than 2% of these known offenders are being investigated due to a lack of resources. However, in one third of child pornography arrests, evidence leading to a local child victim is found at the scene. If Senator Biden’s bill passes, we will have the power and resources to rescue as many as 200,000 children from ongoing abuse.

There are several senators who have yet to sign off on this bill. One notable absence is John McCain. Joe Biden sponsored it and Barack Obama supported it.

I am outraged that John McCain would use Obama’s support of something that is desperately needed for our nation’s children and distort it so blatantly. How he can represent himself as someone who cares about our children, release this ad, and then fail to support Senate Bill 1738 is deplorable.

Last week in an interview with Time Magazine, John McCain aggressively refused to define the word “honor.” Now I know why. Men of honor protect our children. I hope you will join me in supporting our nation’s children, our future, in this next election by supporting true change.

* * * * *

Supportive Links:

Not One More Child – The video and transcript of Special Agent Flint Waters’ testimony before congress, which can be found here, is unlike anything you’ll ever see/read.

National Sex Offender Public Website

The National Association to Protect Children

Stop It Now – Child Sexual Abuse Prevention

Dru’s Voice

Democracy In Action – Though it passed in the House 415-2, the Child Rescue Bill may likely be killed in the Senate due to politicking. Click here to send a message to the Minority and Majority Leaders in the Senate.

Code Amber – Hurricane’s have displaced the Louisiana-based Amber Alert offices yet again, and they are struggling with added operating expenses. They are funded solely through donations.

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curious2No, not the Three R’s of Recycling: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, that Hawaii local boy Jack Johnson likes to sing-song about with his pal Curious George – making environmental awareness fun for kids! Nor the Three R’s of Compassion, used by religious groups to revive the ghettos: Relocation, Reconciliation, Redistribution. Nor the foundation of the “undo” in computer technology which have their own Three R’s to Dependability: Rewind, Repair, Replay – though many a time I have wished to utilize some of those intrinsic computer powers in my real-world life. Oh wait, there are the Three R’s to Healing: Realizing, Recognizing, Rectifying. I can do that. It’s confusing with so many Three R’s these days; how are we going to remember them all? But what has always left me most confused is how the pre-eminent of all the Three R’s aren’t even spelled with three r’s! What gives?!

‘You shall teach me, and when I am a woman we will set up a school where nothing but the three R’s shall be taught, and all the children live on oatmeal, and the girls have waists a yard round,’ said Rose, with a sudden saucy smile dimpling her cheeks. –Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott

You might almost ponder the foundational error in the fundamentals of elementary education when we have teachers trying to get kids to believe that Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic are Three R’s. Why are they Three R’s? Is this symbolic of the first incident in our initiation into primary schooling, when we should have challenged the idiocy of authority? Our first “Brick in the Wall” moment (besides perhaps “Why are those eggs green?!”), when we needed to have demanded an explanation of these supposed R’s. In kindergarten we should have stood up and confidently objected, “But ma’am, no matter how you slice it, they don’t start with R and I challenge you to convince me otherwise.”

It’s strange that all the other Three R’s I have discovered in my exhaustive research do start with the letter R. On the other hand, the “R” in the original Three R’s is not some theme by which these topics should be obviously categorized. They simply all have an R sound in them. It would be like saying Laughing, Splashing and Floating are the Three L’s of the beach. Huh? Because they all have the L sound. You get it? What?!

The dictionaries actually dare to admit, the saying comes from the phrase reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmetic. So it is true, the structure of our educational system has always fallen to the lowest common denominator. But where and when did this begin? On the homesteads of America perhaps? The American Heritage Dictionary claims the history goes something like this:

It is widely believed that Sir William Curtis, an alderman who became Lord Mayor of London, once presented a toast to the three R’s–reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmetic – thereby betraying his illiteracy. In any event, the term was picked up by others and so used from the early 1800s on.

Yes Jack, three IS a magic number. I think having Three R’s is maxed-out on people who clearly find challenge in the spelling of the word “arithmetic”! But this SuperSize Me culture always wants more – regardless of whether or not it’s for their own good. And people are so giddy about the R’s, there is now a new trend that I’m very unhappy to report…the friggin’ Forth R! People, we need to put our foot down now! To add a forth R seems instant recall suicide! Bruce M. Beach, a Radiological Scientific Officer even has a web site for his new Three R’s that “everyone will have to learn after a Nuclear War – or other world-wide catastrophe (but that most people aren’t yet ready to even think about).” You wanna hear them? Reconstruction (of society), Recovery (of production), Renewal (of religion), and the FORTH R!!! Resources (for nuclear war survival).

You’re right, it’s something I don’t want to worry about at this present time. Plus that extra R, dude, it’s one R too many! At the very least, the intelligence behind the Three R concept was this: That we can remember three things…but once you go one past that you’re pushing it! Howie Schaffer, public outreach director at the Public Education Network, actually has the chutzpah to want to add a T to the Three R’s. The nerve of some people! Now we’re totally heading in the wrong directions here. What would it be called? “The Illiterate Three R’s and a T of Education.” The T stands for Technology and he contends kids in low income communities learn on a limited number of inferior computers with slow connections and that it has a great effect on their overall educational experience and inevitably increases the gap between the lower and upper economic classes. Why doesn’t he find his own Three Whatevers and start a new list – why’s he gotta go and ruin it for the rest of us? Next thing you know they’re going to start adding art and science and physics into the mix – eek gads! And where will all those letters go!?

So, if we didn’t stand up then, it’s time to stand up now. Because ultimately, if our educational system in America is going to have any hope of evolving into something better (by way of what looks like will have to be a thorough redesign of its fundamentals, teaching methodology, and handy dandy acronyms and sayings and rules), our teachers, professors, and whatever powers-that-be who have a say in this, are going to have to start from the very basics and finally admit…the Three R’s have been a fraud all along.

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