Sunday, November 15, 2009

Ask Not What….Those Famous Words and You

from Jeon Francis, Office Manager

“And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country.” Those famous words are still very relevant today as when they were first spoken by President John F. Kennedy at his 1960 inauguration and heard around the world.

Throughout history entertainers, politicians, religious leaders, and ordinary citizens alike have put personal agendas aside to help better humanity for their own generation and future generations. Over the years many with celebrity status have lent their name, money, and service to a variety of worthy causes, Ella Fitzgerald (singer) – March of Dimes; Agatha Christie (author) – British Red Cross; President Jimmy Carter - Habitat for Humanity; Annie Lennox (singer) – Greenpeace; Brad Pitt (actor) – UNICEF; George Clooney (actor) – United Way; and Queen Latifah (singer & actor) – Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs of America to name a few.

In addition to volunteering, other celebrities have taken their commitment to service a step further and have established foundations, organizations and public service awards. In March 2002, Bono of U2 and others teamed up to create a new advocacy organization called DATA (debt, AIDS, trade, Africa) whose mission it is to fight against the extreme poverty in Africa.

Former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy co-founded the Jefferson Awards, a prestigious national recognition system honoring community and public service in America. The Jefferson Awards are presented on two levels: national and local. They began in 1972 to create a Nobel Prize for public service. Today, their primary purpose is to serve as a "Call to Action for Volunteers" in local communities.

Other celebrity founders and co-founders include the Bill & Melinda Gates - Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (; Madonna – Raising Malawi (; and Oprah Winfrey - Oprah’s Angel Network (

The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention. ~Oscar Wilde
Great or small, the contribution of your time or other resources matter. The Center began 35 years ago as just an idea, with no budget, but with a solid group of volunteers. Those volunteers as well as the ones who followed, which include you, helped pave the way for what the Center is today.

Whether you are a hotline volunteer that frequently covers Saturday overnight shifts or an event helper that occasionally comes out to assist with various tasks, we recognize your contribution and thank you for all that you do for us, and, in the bigger picture, the community at large.

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