JUST JUNIORS JOURNAL
When it seems like nobody can help....
Someone should be there to try.
FIGHTING AGAINST BIGOTRY
In September, 2003, the LS Kids attended a September 11 memorial on the dike in Lock Haven. This was advertised as a community event, and held by a group called the Southern Clinton County Association of Christian Churches. During the ceremony, one of the people involved made several unkind comments about other faiths than hers, greatly offending Lou and the Kids.
The LS Kids wrote an e-mail to this woman, and received an e-mail back, which contained some very rude statements. In this e-mail, she claimed,"JESUS DOES NOT TEACH TOLERANCE!....Wiccans worship trees (and some worship demons), Buddhists worship a wave of spiritual awareness, and Islam worships a god who may advocate killing infidels (that's anyone who is not Islamic)....Muslims only help other Muslims while Christians help everyone.....With the God of Jesus you have a chance--with the Islamic god you're toast."
This August, Lou and the Kids discussed protesting this woman's involvement in another ceremony. They wrote letters to several of the churches involed last year, in which they explained,"We have no problem with the fact that she believes this. But to have this spoken upon at an event that was supposed to include the entire community was upsetting....We are hoping the community pulls together and has another event to commemorate September 11 this year. We are looking forward to showing our respect for our country and the people who fell that day. However, if we can expect another show of prejudice, we as a group would rather not attend. We wanted to make our feelings on the subject known, so that perhaps they can be taken into account during the planning."
Lou, Debbie Benfield, Krystle Welch, Crissy Miller, Biz Albright, Meghan Rockey, and Ginger White had discussed the event, and agreed not to attend if this woman was involved.
Within a week, they received back two letters, from the pastors of churches involved last year. Both were varying degrees of supportive, and both stated that the organization was not planning another ceremony this year. Because of the complaints last year, the woman who had made the offensive statements lost her position within the organization.
"I too was offended," said one of the pastors in his letter. "All I can say is she didn't speak for me! You are not the only ones who expressed dismay at last year's event. Your letter is both eloquent and loving---Something we see too little of during disagreements in this world."
With no event being planned by the organization, and the woman who had offended them last year not involved, Lou and the Kids agreed that their goal had been reached. "She's not in on anything this year," said Lou. "We win."
SAVING THE ELEPHANTS
During the month of September, the LS Kids signed and handed out postcards, provided by In Defense Of Animals. We were trying to save the elephants of the San Francisco Zoo.
The elephants were being neglected. Their feet were deteriorating because of a lack of space to walk, and the hard concrete ground they stood on. The postcards were signed and sent to the zoo and local politicians, like a petition, to get the elephants' feet treated, and the elephants removed to an acceptable habitat.
THE BIG PINK RIBBON
A giant pink ribbon made consisting of 75,000 post-it notes? Absurd, you say? Not at all! In fact, the 3M company has proved that they are "sticking up for breast cancer" by donating $1 to the City of Hope Cancer Center for each of the 75,000 wonderful people who signed up through their web site. This $75,000 that has been collected will be used to build a giant pink ribbon in New York's Times Square. The giant ribbon will be made up of 75,000 pink post-it notes, each note representing a person who signed up on the 3M web site. The ribbon will then be unveiled during the first week of Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October 2004.
Lou and the rest of the LS Kids were planning to be among the 75,000 people who signed up on the 3M website, but the onrush of people signing up to help was so great that the Kids never even had a chance to sign up. You can still help to aid breast cancer research by buying the pink and white M&M's. A portion of the money will go towards breast cancer research, so we can all pitch in and help in the ongoing fight against breast cancer.
KEEPING PENNSYLVANIA BEAUTIFUL
The LS Kids volunteered to clean up the banks of the Susquehanna River in September, but didn't quite end up doing it. Twice.
Lou saw an article in the Lock Haven Express, asking for volunteers to help clean up the banks of the Susquehanna River. He discussed the project with Debbie Benfield, Krystle Welch, Crissy Miller, and Meghan Rockey. The Kids agreed to participate, and called contact person Elizabeth Lynch of Clinton County Cleanways. They were scheduled to help clean the riverbank on the 18th, and then postponed because of the flood.
The next attempt was on the 25th, which was also cancelled because the water levels had not dropped sufficiently. Lynch contacted Lou, and told him that they would rescheduled in the spring.
"We're on their call list now," said Lou. "They'll be getting back to this project sometime, and we'll be involved. It just won't be immediately."
FLORIDA- September 15 was my birthday, but I doubt you can say it was happy. We had hurricane Ivan, which destroyed a lot of stuff.
Three trees fell on our house, one went through our barn, and the other barn's roof was ripped. Trees are down everywhere, and we just got power back. Our house leaks a bit, but it'll be okay. We have A LOT of work to do.
There was a bridge I had planned to swim next summer. It was destroyed, and I was denied permission becuase of the debris left in the water. They said it was way too dangerous. But I'm still gonna try.
I hurt my wrist slinging axes all day, but it's just sprained.
JEN RUNS ANOTHER MARATHON
ARIZONA- In 2003, just after Lou's mother died of cancer, his sister Jen ran the Midnight Sun Marathon on June 21, 2003, to raise money for the Leukemia Society. Now, she plans to run in another one.
On January 9, 2005, she will be running in the Rock N Roll Marathon, in Phoenix, Arizona. Lou received a letter with the information in mid-August.
"As I'm dragging myself out of bed to run, someone else is climbing out of bed to go to chemotherapy," stated Jen. "Over the next five months, I'll run more than eight hundred miles to prepare for this race."
Lou and the Kids sent a donation to Jen at the time, to help her raise funds to run the marathon. They will be sending another donation to her for this one.
Anyone interested in making a donation can contact Jen at JennySunshine100@yahoo.com or the Kids at firstname.lastname@example.org.
MAIL FROM JANICE
PHILLIPINES- The LS Kids received both a letter and a card from Janice Marco, their sponsored child in the Phillipines, during the month of September. Along with the letter came a new photo of Janice, the fourth one since they began sponsoring her two years ago.
"Janice has grown," commented Lou. "She used to be a tiny little thing. Now she's growing into a young woman." The new photo of Janice was scanned and placed on the site. Janice was eleven years old when the LS Kids began sponsoring her in 2002. Now she is thirteen.
"You know I'm very proud of you and your group because you are helping other people," said Janice. "Only a few people in the world have a good heart like you all have. I am forever grateful for having you as my sponsor."
"Her English has gotten better, too," mentioned Lou.
RHYME AND REASON
Don't Try To Teach Me
I don't understand
Half the words you say.
So please don't try
To teach me today.
I don't understand
Half the equations you give.
So please dont try
To teach me how to live.
I don't understand
Half the problems you solve.
And I really dont care
How the planets revolve.
I don't care about a future way.
Do not try to teach me today.
I don't care how fire burns.
Today's not the day
That I want to learn.
THE RUDY REPORT
Well. Apparently we're being serious this issue.
Everyone's talking about helping out good causes, this month, so I figure I should get in on this, too. Usually, my idea of a good cause is feeding your dogs. But I'm going to take a different approach this time.
Sometimes, you should NOT feed your dog.
Amazing, I know! And so unlike me. But there are some foods that are poisonous to dogs, and shouldn't be given to them. People food is good for people, but not all people food is good for dogs.
I'll beg for it anyway, of course. But don't let me have it.
Onions are very bad for dogs. Chocolate hurts us. Grapes and raisins are almost immediately poisonous. And plenty of other things that people can eat but dogs can't. If you have a question about what you can feed your dog, call your vet.
Listen, dogs love food. And we'll beg and plead for whatever you got. But we also love our owners....And it's up to you to know what you can give us.
-Rudy The Dancing Beagle
ADORE IT/DEPLORE IT
Adore It: Normally, reality TV is worth busting on, but this once, it did something good. On the second season of "The Apprentice", competitors had to sell ice cream, competing to see who made the most profits. The winning team had triumphed by claiming to donate ten percent to the Leukamia Foundation. After winning, the team asked host Donald Trump if they could donate all of their profits to the Leukemia Foundation, and were given permission. Possibly the first genuinely charitable moment ever to be broadcast on reality TV.
Deplore It: Lynn Gobbell of Moulton, Alabama, was fired on September 9 for having a John Kerry bumper sticker. Phil Geddes, owner of the company Enviromate, has handed out Bush pamphlets and told Gobbell to either remove the sticker, or she was fired. (Gobbell was later contacted by John Kerry, and offered a better job with his campaign.)
Fred MacFadgen of Watertown, Massachusetts died Monday, September 13th, of prostate cancer. He was in his sixties. He was a police officer in Watertown, and the uncle of Lou.
He leaves behind a wife, Mary MacFadgen; and three daughters, Laura, Amy, and Megan. He was preceded in death by another daughter, Wendy.
CASE WILLIAM JOHNSON
Friend of Lou, Vesta, Staci
On September 12, 2004, Case William Johnson of Lock Haven passed on, due to cancer of the brain that spread through his body.
He is survived by a wife, Stacey Johnson, and three children, one of them unborn. He was friends with Vesta Jones, Staci Wyland, and Lou.
Johnson was close to becoming a state police officer. He had served in the National Guard, and worked at First Quality of McElhattan.
The Just Juniors Journal Is:
Assistant: Staci Wyland
National Advisor: Vesta Jones
President: Debbie Benfield
Vice-President: Krystle Welch
Secretary: Crissy Miller
Quartermaster: Biz Albright
Staff: Meghan Rockey, Destini Geraty, Ginger White, Sarah Wilson, Ida Yost
Distant Correspondents: Kazlynn Otto, Meghan Wilson, Amber Fleming, Regina Spence
Foreign Bureau: Janice Marco
Want to be a hero?
You can. Easy.
This issue, the Kids all got involved in different causes---Different good things to do. Saving the elephants, fighting against prejudice, curing cancer, cleaning the environment. We were doing good things, and the Kids were all involved. And I'm pleased.
It's one of the main things I try to teach them---One person can make a difference. One person, just by making the attempt, can change things for the better.
The Kids all participated in one thing or another during the month---They're good about that. And by doing it, they've helped someone. Which is good, because, let's face it, the world sucks. There are a lot of problems out there. And if it's ever going to get any better, we've all got to make it happen.
You'll notice, none of these projects required a lot of hard, back-breaking labor. All that was required, this month, was a little bit of time, and the will to try. I wish everyone would get involved in something, and make a difference---It doesn't have to be a big thing, just a small effort. You'd be surprised at home much can be accomplished.
Clean a local park. Write a politician about an issue you're concerned with, or write a letter to the editor. Donate to a cause. Start a petition. Drop off old clothes someplace you can donate them.
None of these things really takes that much effort. All that's required is to make the attempt.
The Kids, all of them, did that this month. And they're all heroes.
-Thinking globally, acting up locally