Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Making a difference any way you can

When I sat down tonight to enjoy my evening of singledom I had no intention of writing this blog. MBH is out for an evening of lecture and schmoozing at MIT. LB, our cat, is curled up out under the Christmas tree (no "holiday" tree for us) hoping that one of the presents for him contains a cat nip mouse. My only plan tonight was to enjoy the remaining enchiladas from a pan I made for our neighbors while sipping a glass of cheap red wine and watching an old Bette Davis movie that was sure to make me cry.

While waiting for the video tape to rewind, I was contemplating both Lauren over at Ardent Eden latest posts as well as Andrea's last few posts over SGTCC. I didn't notice I had paused my surfing on Channel 5 where Chronicle was showing. I am not sure if this show's format is something all the local affiliates of ABC use, but Chronicle is a local human interest television magazine. Most of the time it is interesting, light stories about back road New England towns, local events, or some other connected theme. And, every once in a while they have truly important shows like tonight's. The show tonight was called Youngbloods. It was all about young people in the greater Boston area who are somehow making a difference in our community and in some cases on a national, far reaching scale. Two young people in particular stood out: Michael Fertik and Katya Fels.

Michael Fertik is a student at the Harvard Law School who has taken it upon himself to help re-invent the Democratic Party; one state at a time. His group, the Campaign for a National Majority (CNM), is working to support people running for local offices and build a "farm team" of clear thinking, issue minded candidates for the Democratic party who can win national elections and not lose sight of the values I believe ALL Americans support. They research the candidates and instead of blanket supporting everyone running under the Democratic ticket they select a few who meet the clearly stated values of the CNM. So far, they have tested their model in Texas and Iowa and won two seats from Republicans.

Katya Fels is the founder and executive director of On the Rise. On the Rise is a local organisation that helps homeless women and women in crisis find solutions to their situations through growth, community, and self supporting structure. What really impressed me about the group was their mission to help these women help themselves through development of self worth and life skills. On the Rise doesn't take government funding because they don't want to be subjected to the rules and regulations that this type of government funding imposes on groups and that force women in these situations to give up privacy, dignity, and most importantly self control. In the last 10 years, they have grown from a small group of women helping women into a national recognized model of community service.

I encourage you to visit these to fine young people's organisations webpages. And, better yet, help them in their endeavors. Find similar groups in your community and volunteer or donate. If there aren't these types of programs in your community then help start one.

It isn't often that I get up on this podium. There are far better bloggers like Andrea, Lauren and Siel over at Green LA Girl who daily stand at this graphical microphone leading the charge. But every once in a while, I find myself looking up from the breadboard and realising I need to add my voice to the chorus. Even if my voice is a little out of tune and I've forget the words from time to time.