Her Voz


Poverty Hits Home in the U.S.

Today my heart was saddened because of a study that revealed 49 percent of all U.S. children will be in a household that uses food stamps. The disparity is the highest in African American communities; 90 percent of African American parents will be clients of the National Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP/Food Stamps), according to the new study conducted by Washington University and Cornell University.

“One of the most dramatic examples I’ve seen of the true reach of hunger in the United States,” wrote Greg Plotkin of Change.org wrote, “It makes me wonder how others spent their Thanksgiving holidays.”

The study reviewed households containing children between the ages of 1 to 20 over the course of 30 years.

The results challenged me to take action. This new years my resolution will be to get into philanthropy and community involvement. I found several organizations devoted to improving children’s well-being, including:

www.savethechildren.org
www.feedingamerica.org
www.wish.org
www.stjude.org

All of the charity organizations above wanted a monetary donation instead of volunteering, so for now I will keep looking.

Other findings include:

• Nearly one-quarter of all American children will be in households that use food stamps for five or more years during childhood.
• 91 percent of children with single parents will be in a household receiving food stamps, compared to 37 percent of children in married households.
• Looking at race, marital status and education simultaneously, children who are black and whose head of household is not married with less than 12 years of education have a cumulative percentage of residing in a food stamp household of 97 percent by age 10.

For more information on this study, click here. There is also a video in which Mark Rank, PhD, Washington University Professor of Social Welfare, discusses the results.

Or to learn about other social issues in the U.S., visit www.change.org.

Update
**I am a tutor at Club Z tutoring. I help young children improve reading and writing skills or learn Spanish. Cheers!**

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E is for Ecuador: Women Expressing Power

Women in third-world countries have somewhat taken a back seat in their societies. The fact is just the majority of government officials and society leaders in a number of third-world countries are mostly male dominated/controlled—arguably you could say the same worldwide.

As a young woman, striving to make a social impact, I am proud to offer up stories that cut the thread of male dominated command. Nothings wrong with some male-operated societies and/or governments; lets just celebrate and give woman in power a chance be praised!

Global Voices Online featured an article about the women of the Kichwa tribe (Quichua—a long surviving indigenous Ecuadorian tribe) and their plight to rid oil companies from their homeland, instead of continuing its oil exploration. Attempting to explore 140 thousand Amazon land, also know as the Kichwa’s home, the oil companies failed each time.

Just how were these women able to stop them? One incident included15 women and children running 4 hours through the jungle yelling “anchuri, anchuri oil companies (get out).” Another tactic they used was threatening their husbands to leave and find other women on different lands, if they allow the digging.

Why though? Because the potential for cancer is higher in regions where oil drilling occurs. Contaminated water leaves the women little to very dangerous resources for bathing their children and washing clothes.

I, myself am proud of the Kichwa women for standing up to the oil companies!

Here are just a couple more inspiring stories:
The election last year of Michelle Bachelet to Chile’s presidency
Sotomayor pledges ‘fidelity to the law’
Persian Women in Power


New Year’s Resolution: Response

Alicja’s New Year’s resolution was the third thread of new year’s resolution posts by the class. I was so entertained by everyone’s effort to plan ahead, I read them all and yes Shana, the picture on Ryan’s blog is the funniest!

My favorite New Year’s resolution to date, is kick start saving for the future. (Really helped me with my spending habits.) Another year, my resolution was learn a sport and stick with it—I chose tennis. I remember one year it was detox my body for the month of January to start the year off physically clean. I found a week by week step plan at my church (liquid fruits and veggies and broth one week, solid fruits and vegetables the next week, next week add on fish and chicken, etc.)—yeah that one didn’t really happen.

I wonder what my 2010 New Year’s Resolution would be. This time I will take it to the web. Here’s a list of sites that provide a New Year’s Resolutions:
USA.gov—Popular New Years Resolutions
Now Public (blog)—Popular New Year’s Resolution
123New Year—Inventory of New Year’s Resolution
Search Engine Land—Social Media New Year’s Resolution

I noticed one bullet point come up a lot—take a trip. That sounds like something I can work towards, but I travel a lot so there isn’t much of a sacrifice.

I got it: “Get into philanthropy and community involvement.” I can do this. Maybe I could go to a shelter and serve food, start a fundraiser amongst friends and family then donate the money to a charity of my choice, or volunteer at a local hospital.

This could be the year that has the biggest impression. Obama’s campaign is about an agenda of change.


I Won’t Look at it the Same!

What I learned from class and what I’ve found most surprising.

The most important idea I learned that changed my thinking and my way of observing social networking, is social networking can lurk in the most uncommon places. Try Amazon.com for example, its an online department store filled with social media components. The customer reviews and forums offer a community element to the site, where customers can interact, leave reviews and comments—create dialog, and vote about products. It really makes the shopping experience feel even more like I’m shopping with a friend. Another surprising find is my electric company, has a twitter page. Have a power outage or want to be notified of company-wide changes to electric bills? Follow Pepco on twitter.

Yesterday my cousin left on a cross–country driving trip. Everything, from the app on her iphone that gives her fun facts about each state to her ability to log-in to Facebook and instantly converse with me about her experience cross country, uses a social media component.

This class has truly equipped me for my future. I am really surprised about the intelligence and imagination of the Web 2.0 landscape, and appreciate where its going. The Google class was a bit scary—imagine inadvertently providing satellite maps to terrorists byway the most powerful social media Giant. A tool everyone uses, if in the wrong hands could cause damage. Even though, Google Earth/maps is available to everyone, I am glad Google is on the good side!

Even though the class is soon to end, my social networking experience is just beginning. Here are a few social media sites, that I am hooked to and learned throughout my studies:

1. Mashable.com Good news/blog topics about everything social media.
2. Slideshare.com The largest slide sharing site on the web. Share presentations, portfolios, or webinars.
3. Checkplease Users provide the dish on local restaurants. Videos, blog posts, and a chatroom (this one is for the Chicago area. Hope to visit a few places summer 2010).
4. Allrecipes.com The blog page is filled with ideas and experiences related to my fav.—cooking and eating good food.