Our country always unites around tragedy. Shortly after, it shatters back into partisan bickering with a focus on the things that divide us. So, how can we capture and nurture that sense of unity in a more permanent (and positively-driven) way? A fantastic op-ed in Politico suggests a viable possibility (Politico, 6/20):
To make citizens, we must facilitate the shared experiences that cultivate civic pride and responsibility.
This should mean a period of full-time national service as a rite of passage for every young American, ages 18 to 28. Such service could be military or civilian. Young adults could choose the Army or Peace Corps, Marine Corps or AmeriCorps, the Navy or VISTA. National service would be optional, but expected. Every college admissions officer or employer must start to ask, “Where did you serve?”
For nearly two decades, the Washington AIDS Partnership has fielded an AmeriCorps team in the District. The participants supplement the staffs of the Partnership’s grantees. Executive Director Channing Wickham says that the program works exactly as the Politico piece suggests it would:
The AmeriCorps experience is unquestionably transformative for the twelve young people who pass through our program each year. Team members develop a deep sense of social justice, and a personal responsibility to serve others and to give back to society. We stay in touch with our alumni, and we’ve seen those qualities continue to thrive. The vast majority of former Washington AIDS Partnership AmeriCorps members are now working as physicians, nurses, social workers, public health professionals, teachers, or front-line workers in poverty, housing, or health.
HEALTH | A new study from Pew Research Center finds that the portion of healthcare being administered by family caregivers has jumped from 30% to 39% in just one year. This trend reflects a number of things, including the high cost of healthcare in a bad economy and rising rates of life expectancy. (USA, 6/20)
– Next week, WRAG will release its newest edition of What Funders Need to Know. This one looks at our local direct care workforce.
– Obamacare behind schedule as Oct. 1 rollout nears (CSM, 6/19)
FOOD | The SNAP Challenge – living on food stamps to build awareness of the hardships faced by those who rely on the program – has become quite trendy among politicians. The politicians advertise a $1.50 per meal budget and post pictures of the meals they can afford through social media outlets. It’s hard to tell what the challenge seeks to prove. Amidst budget debates, nobody is actually arguing in favor of food insecurity or claiming that being hungry is easy.
Anyhow, the Post’s Fact Checker has a great look at SNAP and whether or not the $1.50 per meal budget corresponds with the realities of the program. The bottom line:
[B]uying food based only on the average SNAP benefit for a single person [$1.50 per meal] gives a misleading impression of the program and its intended impact. The SNAP program is intended as a supplement; it is not expected to be the only source of income for food.
NONPROFITS | Why does the media tend to ignore the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors? It hurts our feelings! The Stanford Social Innovation Review writes on the subject. (SSIR, 6/20)
HOUSING | Mayor Gray Opens New Mixed-Use Apt. Building in NE (NBC, 6/19) The building includes 70 affordable housing units.
David Bowie once asked if there is Life on Mars. He’d probably be interested in these 1.3 billion pixel images from the Red Planet’s surface. Also, have you ever wondered why Bowie’s eyes look different? The answer is because of teenage love. Seriously!