Valentine’s Day is usually a day of planning and anticipation in hopes of being able to show those you care about how much they mean to you. In Fresno and in many other counties around the US, the week of the 14th offers a different opportunity. Incorporating the spirit of both Valentine’s Day and President’s Day, National Salute Week, February 10-16, offers citizens another chance to reach out to veterans, thanking them for their past service and continued sacrifice in the name of our great nation.
This year, while making Valentine’s Day plans with your special someone, take some time to either make a Valentine for a veteran in your community or call and stop by the Fresno VA Medical Center to give a personal salute to one of these brave men or women.
Cards can be mailed to the address below or dropped off at the front desk, room E107.
2615 E. Clinton Ave
Fresno, CA 93703
Attn: Voluntary Services
Tomorrow is April 10th and if you can’t stand the sight of people’s bare feet, you might want to stay inside for the day. You see, tomorrow is TOMS’ annual One Day Without Shoes event. For the 5th successive year, hundreds of thousands of people around the globe will ditch their shoes and go about life barefoot. If you happen to be around town, and especially if you happen to be on a college campus, you will likely see some of these individuals who are willing to forgo their Nikes, UGGs, Vans and Converse for 24 hours.
Now that you’ve been warned about the potential glimpses of bare feet you might see tomorrow, you may be wondering why on earth people would want to go without shoes in the middle of April? Well, here’s the reason: because millions of people don’t even get to choose whether they wear shoes or not! Millions of children all over the world don’t own any shoes at all, and thus have no choice but to walk barefoot over disease ridden, debris filled, and parasite infested ground every day. In fact, according to the One Day Without Shoes website, “4,000,000 people have Podoconiosis, a debilitating and disfiguring soil-based disease. 740,000,000 people are affected by hookworm which can cause intestinal pain, weakness and cognitive impairment.” And in just one case study done in the Philippines 30,000 people were discovered living on one landfill where their feet are constantly exposed to broken glass, debris and syringes.
How does a bunch of people who do have shoes leaving them in their closets for a day help people who don’t have any shoes? To be perfectly honest, it doesn’t. Not directly at least. What it does do, however, is generate conversation. Conversation about a problem in the world which can, in turn, inspire action. That is the goal of One Day Without Shoes, inspire people to act and make the world a better place. So, tomorrow, whether you choose to go without shoes or not, spend some time reflecting on some problem in the world, and think about what you can do to help solve it.
When I recently began an advocacy campaign for the March 5th Camp Darfur event with my fellow Ambassadors, I really did not know what I was getting myself into. All I knew was that it was an issue that needed to be brought out into the open and that I wanted to take part in it. As I started to research and get more involved in this action against genocide, I realized how close to home it was for me.
I grew up hearing how my parents had survived the Vietnam War, but I had never connected the dots that the Hmong, who were hunted and killed due to their involvement with the CIA, were victims of genocide. From this newfound knowledge, I felt more sensitive towards the cause to bring awareness to the situation in Darfur, but more so, on how I can make a difference in the lives of the Darfurians.
With the help of 1-800-GENOCIDE, I was able to do just that. I began the phone call inquiring about talking points I could use while talking with my Legislator, but I learned much more. To my surprise, I was informed that there was an Act being introduced later that week, March 8th, to Congress. This meant that I could instruct my elected official to pass and support this Act. I could not have asked for better timing. This Act, the Sudan Peace Security and Accountability Act of 2012, will help stop the injustice happening in Sudan and much more. More information can be found here: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h112-4169.
With this newfound knowledge, I have had the privilege of not only letting my Legislator know my thoughts about genocide and Darfur, but to also ask for their support on this Act.
Now I challenge YOU to do the same. What better time to stand for a cause than now? It is only ONE phone call away! Call 1-800-GENOCIDE today.
P.S. Check out the Pledges made by other Fresno State students at the Camp Darfur event here.
When most people think of service, they think of going out and doing things for organizations. They think of serving food to the homeless, or handing out newspapers for Kids Day, or helping revitalize a park, or doing something that benefits people directly. Doing all these things is great, and provides wonderful benefits to the community, but there is another very important form of service out there that many don’t think of: advocacy.
Being an advocate means supporting a cause. Support can mean doing big things, like handing out flyers, putting up posters, and giving speeches. But supporting a cause doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to do big things to make a difference. Doing small things can make you an advocate as well.
For example, I am an advocate for people with intellectual disabilities. I know I can’t do anything huge like petition the government for more rights for intellectually disabled people, and I don’t have time to hand out flyers on campus or organize awareness events. But I can talk about the disabled population with people who have questions, helping to break down the stereotypes and misinformation that many have about what intellectual disability is and how it affects people. And I can help by participating in national awareness days, like Spread the Word to End the Word, an event aimed at stopping the use of the word “retarded” in slang vocabulary. Every little thing I do to help support people with intellectual disabilities is considered advocacy because I am helping raise awareness about the issue.
A lot of you might already be advocates without realizing it. If you support a cause, or feel strongly about an issue, you are being an advocate. It is a form of service because you’re donating your time to support a cause, no matter how big or small.
What issues do you advocate for? In what ways are you an advocate?