By Christopher A. Pape
The holidays are the time to be both grateful for what one has and to be generous of spirit. As an Italian-Catholic, I learned it was better to be meek and poor (for we shall inherit the Earth) rather than rich and powerful. But since we are the most successful nation on the planet, wouldn’t it be a good time to be thankful and try to help others, both within our own community and around the world, be as prosperous as we are?
But how do we go about doing that? To use another proverb: “Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime.” We must teach those who are less fortunate. Through education and guidance, the poor among us can flourish; it is our burden.
I recently saw a segment on 60 Minutes that inspired. It was a profile on Craig Kielburger, the founder of Free the Children. As a Canadian youth, with modest means, he was able to build an empire of good. Now serving in over forty countries, the organization helps disadvantage youth by building facilities in which the children can attend class and learn a fundamental education.
Not only do I believe this to be a worthy cause but also one that can change the shape of the world. A lack of a quality education – a liberal Western education – is both unfair and unjust. And to deny every child a basic human right – is to deny their humanity. I strongly believe that everyone should receive the benefits of schooling.
The charity also inspires local youth – Americans, Canadians, Germans, Italians, etc. to give back to the world. Through fundraising and awareness, both Kielburger and his organization have proven that children can and do make a difference.
Locally, there are plenty of children who are suffering, especially since the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. The Red Cross and other national charities are involved from the Jersey Shore (where I grew up) to Staten Island; they are helping families and specifically children to cope.
Wherever you choose to give and contribute, it’s important that you actually do so. With so many mouths to feed and souls to enrich, this holiday season is an excellent time to start – if you haven’t already. •