Saturday, September 12, 2009

A Day of Service

What better way to honor those who perished on 9/11 than by performing good deeds? As you may already know, President Obama designated the day as a day to not only remember but to help one's community. The ability for an individual to create social change is foremost in my mind these days, as I am midway through the book Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin. Mortenson, who drifted into an impoverished Pakistan village after failing to reach the summit of K2, the world's second largest mountain, was looking to honor the life of his late sister in his climb, and decided that her memory would be best served by building schools instead. The book chronicles how a seemingly average man can achieve extraordinary acts, as Mortenson builds not only one school, but many. His Pennies for Peace campaign is one my Senior Experience class is planning on undertaking, hoping to raise a good portion of the $12,000 needed to build a school.
But we want to support local efforts as well. Another example of a person who exemplifies the President's call to serve the community is Jericho resident Aimee Holtzman, founder of RockCANroll, a not-for-profit hunger relief organization. Inspired by her favorite music of the sixties, Holtzman believes that an individual can indeed change the world, one can of food at a time. Her premise: if each concert-goer brought a can of food to hear his or her favorite band, thousands of non-perishable items could then be distributed to food pantries in the area. Holtzman, who has partnered with radio stations, Capital One Westbury Music Fair, even race car drivers, makes her extraordinary efforts to help others seem simple. My students were inspired by her presentation and decided to designate Friday classes 'Food Pantry Days'. They also began to consider other school events where people could bring a can for donation. If you check out her site, Holtzman is nominated for a monetary grant awarded to a Jewish Community Hero which she would like to use to expand her grassroots organization, so please consider voting for her by clicking on the link.

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