Saturday, November 11, 2006

Veterans Day salute to service and sacrifice

It’s Veteran’s Day today. I’m writing thank you letters that I’ve fallen behind on and I was inspired to write this post.

I’m a Veteran in two ways. I served in the Army from 1968-71 and I’ve served in the war on poverty as leader of a tutor/mentor program from 1974 till today. I’m proud of both.

Service requires sacrifice. It’s easy to understand the level of sacrifice given on the battlefield. Yet when I was coming back from Korea in 1971, I felt that my service to my country was not as important because I was not on the battlefield. Over the years, I’ve changed my mind through my leadership of a tutor/mentor program. For the soldiers on the front line to do their job, soldiers behind the scenes need to do their jobs, too.

In our war on poverty the volunteers who connect directly with teens as tutors/mentors, and the people who staff tutor/mentor programs are in combat every day. They can tell you the horror stories and the sacrifices they make to help kids who need many types of support to succeed in school in neighborhoods where many expectations and role models support different aspirations.

What I've learned is that while we need tutors/mentors, we also need many other volunteers who provide their time as leaders, organizers, web site developers, fund raisers, and as a donors. If non profit tutor/mentor programs can not consistently get this type of infrastructure support, most will not be consistently able to support those who are directly connected with kids.

Thus, as a veteran, I thank everyone who is making donations of time and money to support volunteer based tutor/mentor programs that serve kids living in poverty. I hope you'll look at the level of sacrifice being made by those who give their lives and time to military service, and consider expanding your own level of commitment to helping us end poverty by helping kids move through school and into jobs and careers.

No comments: