Fall 2015 Volume 20 Number 4 About this Issue You never know what will happen when you think you have a good idea worth pursuing. In preparation f

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Fall 2015

Volume 20

Number 4


About this Issue

You never know what will happen when you think you have a good idea worth pursuing. In preparation for this issue, we found an article written, Discovering Hope in a World of Poverty, ten years ago by Martin Fergus, then an Associate Professor and Associate Chair of the Political Science Department at Fordham University. We had a simple request for him to write a follow up article depicting what has changed in that time span. What we got back was a “must read” article for anyone interested in the subject of hunger & poverty. Not only does he bring us up to date on what has transpired, but looks into the crystal ball and outlines what must be done. As if that was not enough, Martin describes the role KIDS plays in educating young people about what must be done to make this world a better place for all. This article is a natural segue for the following open letter to all our readers.

While we feel that all the articles in this issue are important, this open letter to you demands your attention. This is not your run of the mill appeal for funds, but deals with the future of KIDS and where you come in. Now is the time to turn your attention to the letter and learn how the very future of KIDS is in your hands.

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Discovering Hope in a World of Poverty Revisited…By Martin C. Fergus

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Martin C. Fergus

A decade ago I wrote an article for the KIDS’ Newsletter titled, “Discovering Hope in a World of Poverty,” (Summer 2005, Volume 10 Number 2). I noted that for a number of years I had been teaching a course at Fordham University focused on poverty both in the United States and the developing world. One aim of the course was to provide students with a full understanding of poverty, including its human costs and how its persistence was often a byproduct of the actions of powerful political and economic interests. I saw this as essential to a second aim of the course, which was encouraging students to find effective ways to address the poverty problem.

As I wrote then, “I did not want to convey to students a rose-colored-glasses image of the poverty problem – the first step to addressing any problem is always [having] a realistic understanding of it.” But rather than leaving the course buoyed with the confidence of increased knowledge and a feeling of empowerment, “The First few times I taught the course, students sometimes told me that they ended the semester with a feeling of hopelessness and even despair.”

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The Future of KIDS Is In Your Hands…By Larry and Jane Levine

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Larry and Jane Levine

When we first started Kids Can Make A Difference (KIDS) twenty-one years ago, we never could have anticipated the longevity or relevance of the program. KIDS started at a middle-school in York, Maine and at the end of our first year there were 20 schools in the Northeast involved in this embryonic program. Today we have grown into a highly respected worldwide education program through our alliance with the International Education & Resource Network (iEARN). KIDS has a proven record of success in helping young people understand that it is within their power to foster change in their community and world. Through the KIDS’ program, young people understand that social justice is at the heart of our mission.

Let us start by thanking those of you who have been such an important part of the KIDS’ story. Without your faithful and generous financial and spiritual support none of the progress we have made to date would have been possible. We hope that those of you who subscribe to this newsletter will take the next step and make a contribution to the program.

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A Teacher’s Challenge Knows No Borders...By Emily Heimsoth

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Emily Heimsoth

My first teaching job was as an English Language Assistant at a public elementary school on the outskirts of Madrid. The educational system in Spain was dramatically different than the American one I grew up in. Lunch breaks lasted two hours, signs of affection like hugs and pecks on the cheek were distributed without fear of reprimand, and political correctness in general was simply not a high priority. And though the culture was generally laid-back, the demands on the teachers were not.

Like many educators in the U.S. teachers in Spain were underpaid and forced to work within tight budgets, but they also faced challenges unique to their country. A sizeable population of Roma people, also called Gypsies, live in Spain, and while the country has made huge strides in integrating them, an estimated 80% of Gypsy students between ages 12 and 18 will drop out of school. Many of the younger Gypsy students in this elementary school seemed to be on this path, and you could sense that this extra stressor overwhelmed the teachers.

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Continuing the Legacies of Food Sovereignty Activists...By Andrianna Natsoulas

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Andrianna Natsoulas

In 2009 I attended the Community Food Security Coalition’s annual conference. I was amazed by the swell of interest in local foods and food policies, but what struck me even more was the absence of the people who provide the food. There were at most three tables of farmers and one fisherman’s wife. I realized farmers and fishing men and women do not have the time or money to attend meetings, so I decided to go to them and captured their testimonies. The result was Food Voices: Stories From the People Who Feed Us.

Food Voice praises the farmers and fishermen who are fighting with their sweat and hands, trying to create – or actually re-create – a food system that values quality over quantity, and communities and the environment over the corporate bottom-line. Town-by-town, these front-line players are working to change how food is provided, processed and distributed.

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