Education Is The Way Out Of Poverty
The school year ends with a crescendo of activities as graduates pour out of schools. I can remember how happy we all were to escape the hot classrooms and disappear for the summer. In my case I had ranch work to perform and spent most of the summer putting up hay on a northwest Colorado ranch.
Come fall it was a happy time to go back to school, the attraction was friends, not school books. It was great to see everyone back in class and see how we had all changed in just a few short summer months.
I attended a breakfast this week hosted by The Denver Schools Foundation that raises money for needy students to attend college. There were 300-plus participants at the breakfast and they gave a former Craig resident Pres Askew credit for organizing the donor breakfast. Pres was a Denver resident, but moved with his family to Craig a dozen years ago — and while in that northwestern Colorado city, he organized and started the a local Boys and Girls Club chapter, a very successful non-profit.
Following family members in the medical field, he and his wife Patti moved back to Denver where he became President of Colorado Boys and Girls Clubs. Last week he was working on behalf of the Denver School’s Foundation and hosting a gigantic breakfast at the Denver Athletic Club, another of his projects. He has also participated in the Denver Lions Club, among his many activities.
Great volunteers are hard to find and we have a multitude of volunteers in Colorado like Presley, they are priceless. There is now way that all of the non-profits could operate without the wonderful volunteers that work from their hearts for nothing but maybe a scant “Thank You.”
More volunteers were at the ground breaking of the Salvation Army’s new Harbor Light building project on Champa Street. The Army is building a new home that will house 120 homeless men to be completed in 15 months. Another board of volunteers assists the Army in its marvelous support of the disadvantaged afflicted, and destitute men, women and children. The new project includes a brand new kitchen where the Army cooks thousands of free meals each day for the hungry. This is truly God’s work and so well done by The Salvation Army. This is a huge investment in Metro Denver at a cost of $8 million; the Army has been in Denver for 125 years serving needy people.
At least 1,800 friends and supporters of Larry Mizel and the Mizel Museum gathered at the Lowry Airport Museum to honor Glenn Jones with the 2012 Community Enrichment Award. The television “cable guy” has been a Denver fixture for decades and has made his mark in pioneering education through television programs including his own accredited on-line university.
Again volunteers everywhere made the event an annual must for the museum and a strong bond between the Jewish community and everyone else. It is a loving, caring evening where old and new friends are made and cherished. Hats off to Larry and his family for all that they do in Denver, the state and the world.
Lastly, I heard something thought provoking at the Denver Foundations breakfast. The keynote speaker was an African-American gentleman named Steve White, the Western Division President of Comcast. He spoke of his childhood growing up dirt poor in a a public housing project where by only his single mother’s perseverance he and his three brothers worked their way out of poverty and all attended college, he graduating from Indiana University. A wonderful, meaningful talk about how people with meager means can become successful in America and why financial aide for scholarships can change lives; it changed his life and will change many more.
It dawned me that after his introduction as an “African American,” why do we use that term anymore? I’m not an Irish American; we don’t refer to Mexican Americans, and I think it is well past the time that we stop referring to Americans where their ancestors might have lived.
Steve White is as American as anyone in this nation; we need to start dropping racial titles in stories and introduction.
We’re all in this together as Americans and volunteers.
Ed note: Robert Sweeney is publisher of The Fruita Times and Palisade Tribune a third generation native of Western Colorado.