I’m taking a moment on this International Workers Day to send up a flare. I’m sending out an S. O. S. — We need help! Mayday!

The May 1st announcement that the Trump Administration would discontinue an education initiative focused on young women and girls in developing nations, “Let Girls Learn,” was yet another ‘last straw’ for me.

Twitter ignited with over 10,000 tweets in the first hour or so offering a range of condemnation and disgust. One such dispatch caught my eye.

@MLCHZDK  39m39 minutes ago

USAID – $27 million to Let Girls Learn Trump Mar-A-Lago visits $20 million Melania Trump could stay in DC for 1 month and cover this program

I haven’t researched the true cost of the President’s frequent golf outings –or his wife and son’s NYC habitation – or the budget for Let Girls Learn. I have thought about the long-range impacts, however, and that’s a subject for another day.

Just a few days earlier, I’d contemplated a more positive assessment of recent presidential action after reading an item in the Federal Register/Vol 82. No. 80.

In a modestly positive gesture, on April 21 our nation’s fearless leader signed a proclamation declaring April 23 – 29 “National Volunteer Week, 2017.” I must have missed this on the 6 o’clock news.

He didn’t have to sign it. He could have said, as did Pierre, “I don’t care.” But he signed it. Perhaps there’s a video on YouTube.

Bureau of Labor Statistics data cited in the proclamation (and I trust it at face value as a measure of known quantities) indicate more than 60 million Americans volunteered in 2015 giving an estimated $185 billion in service to their communities. T

I’ve driven past a version of this billboard, (image found online, or one quite similar many times in my neck of the woods – and I’ve been frustrated at the lack of a truly local literacy program with which I could volunteer. It’s one of the causes I hold dear, in the top three perhaps with housing and hunger.

Now, I could go sideways here – and talk about a recent Quincy M.E. episode on the subject 1983’s “A Loss for Words” (caught recently on the DVR and watched on during a workout, of course); or the 1981 TV Film starring Johnny Cash, “The Pride of Jesse Hallam” but you can read The New York Times review here.

In the presidential proclamation, Trump calls on all Americans to observe this week by volunteering in service projects … and pledging to make service a part of their daily lives.

Considering his endorsement (I don’t kid myself that POTUS actually makes these decisions), of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education and the defunding of this Obama-era initiative to help lift folks out of poverty and darkness through the power of literacy, I’d have to say volunteerism is poised to become more important than ever.

Corporate giving and philanthropy is terrific. High-profile Habitat for Humanity builds by Home Depot employees make for great photo ops and are well-aligned with its core business

Perhaps firms big and small could also find room in their corporate giving strategies to support education broadly and literacy specifically.  Even if teaching a child – or old man to read weren’t what most publicists would describe as sexy.

Nearly a dozen ideas on giving back can be found at DoubletheDonation.com

Here are two examples from the site.

Example: Microsoft provides affordable access to their technology and services to nearly 90,000 nonprofits every year. These nonprofits are located in 125 countries, and the collective value of the provided software is almost $950 million.

Example: Chevron offers its employees and retirees a Dollars for Doers program that rewards 20 volunteer hours with $500 and 40 volunteer hours with $1,000.

 

Thanks for reading & sharing these thoughts. You can also read about Jonathan Ment Photography, follow on twitter & find me on Facebook

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2 thoughts on “. . . – – – . . . Sending out an S.O.S.

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