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every separation is a link

children & what the future holds

the struggle: right vs. wrong

issue: november 2011

Are we setting ourselves up for failure? Questions about our education, parenting and our views about others. Are we ready to listen?

 Precious

movie review: is this the reality?


issue: november 2011

features

every separation is a link by isabel kent edited by dan brown

Trying to live in another person’s shoes is hard for many of us. Specifically when we may not have any knowledge of what the other person is going through. How should we take on conversations like these and what should we do to understand what is going on? These are some of the questions we should be asking.

departments Letter from the editor Right vs. Wrong: How would you decide? Movie Review: Precious

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the struggle: right vs. wrong

children & what the future holds

by lauren bartlett

by stephanie rasmussen

edited by dan brown

edited by dan brown

illustrations by leticia figueroa

photography by dan brown

How do we make choices in life? Maybe it’s something our parents suggest like a sport. Maybe our science teacher suggests that we join the science fair which could lead to a career. Other times it may be something that has a grey area. Who determines this though and why do we like to jump to conclusions?

What our children eat is important to their growth. With more parents working in families, we might not be paying attention to what they eat as closely. What we choose to haave around the house can impact their lives greatly as well as what we teach them for eating habits. It’s all in moderation.


Letter from the

Editor People grow up in all different cultures. We come from different backgrounds and learn things here and there from family and friends. People go through different situations, good and bad, some more than others. We sometimes forget the ones that help along the way. Maybe it’s the Aunt who gives you life lessons or a family-friend who helps in other ways. For some, growing up with family can be a great experience or a heart-breaking one. Sometimes it just takes an idea from one person to change the direction in another person’s life. It’s all in the recovery. We all make mistakes. It’s how we adapt and change from these mistakes that make us who we want to become. People encourage others to be great and are mentors as well. How we work together in life should be the same way we would at work or on a sports team. Leaders speak up when it’s needed most. Especially when someone least expects it. Who will you inspire today?

DAN BROWN EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

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e very

iss aelinkp a r a t i o n by isabel kent edited by dan brown

Step back and look at the world. It’s such a strange thing, and incredible and beautiful, but rolling across that great sphere is also turmoil. Much of existence, perceived through the eyes of a human, is sorrow and violence, manifesting itself in multitudes of particular guises - war, poverty, famine, prejudice, crime, etc. But we’re stuck here. So, for the sake of being here, of living, how do we make it better? How do we go about diminishing these problems? Where can we possibly start? Underlying most of them, when the complica-

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tions and differences are for the moment, stripped away, is something simple. For whatever reason, amidst the accumulated confusion of contemporary human life, we fall into the denial or hatred of another human being.

of it. Our genetic code, which means our basic anatomical structure, which means our physiological functions, are fundamentally identical. We have the capacity to empathize with one another, and we need to use this.

We know that humans are at once imperfect and magnificent. What is difficult is accepting the imperfect as inevitable, and forgiving it in ourselves so that we can forgive it in others. There is so much sameness, if we decide to become aware

What I am saying is obviously nothing new. But the fact that it has survived thus far in the course of human civilization only serves to testify to its solidarity. It is simple, but I think it has profound implications. In all the world’s major religions,


the basic tenet, the “Golden Rule,” is the same. We should “Do unto others what we would have done unto us.” Although this is drawn from religion and may seem idealistic, it’s tenets are at base, human, and extend to the nature of our experience in everyday life. For example, how can we expect others to have respect for our own views if we do not respect theirs? And how can we expect to get anything out of a conversation if we don’t try to understand what the other person is trying to get across? A sense of empathy, as current research in neuroscience and psychology is finding, really does permeate our lives. Without having to will a conscious decision, we register the body language and facial expressions of those around us. We are able to base this in our own experience and realize the analogous intentions behind the behavior of others.

silently germinating this view of the world. In turn, this obviously impacts the deeds one carries out. If one continues this way unaware, the effects will only multiply.

But the human brain is malleable (Boroditsky 6). Biases can be turned around if they are brought to one’s attention. The problem might be that reminders are not prevalent in our everyday lives. We may see images of war on the news, but this is perhaps not specific enough. We still watch through our own tinted lenses, as a proponent of one or the other of the conflicting sides. What should be emphasized is the nature of the core disagreement, how and why it exists, perhaps that it should not exist, and what the resolution may be. We also need to be made more aware of our own slant and the perspective we are missing in our repertoire. Once we can see all involved outlooks So what happens when empathy ceases more holistically, we notice their inherent to function? On an individual scale, this sameness, and the ensuing ridiculousness can be a major component of closed-mind- of antagonism. edness, arguments, and physical fights. Cases in point are bullying, whether at To illustrate a concrete example of a school or over the internet, domestic vio- social issue involving the inability to lence, and gang violence. Among larger take on another perspective, considgroups this is exhibited in similar ways, er the rift between the wealthiest and largely as prejudice against, and mistreat- poorest classes in the United States. ment and/or suppression of, another peo- My estimation is that much of the very ple. Extreme cases are genocide and war. wealthy are so adapted to their way of Can’t these be seen as large-scale mani- living that they are not aware of the festations of the inability to take another’s vast struggles of the impoverished. They perspective? I don’t mean to oversimplify must know that the poor do in fact exist, these grand issues. There are certainly but they cannot put themselves in that various other complications that come situation, because they have never been into play. Many of these complications, there and do not relate to it experientially. however, could be explained as them- They also probably feel no reason to make selves arising partially as a consequence of lack of understanding between people. Circumstances like these coalesce and build upon each other, eventually forming one mass conflict, which then leads to further atrocities.

attempts to do so. They are so comfortable where they are. Whatever charities may be goading them to donate are just an annoyance. The thought of taking on the vantage of the poor does not cross their mind, at least not with any great urgency. And frankly, it would just be too much effort. But if something were to make them, imagine the impact it could have. If the wealthy were made to live like the poor, or to just experience a small part of such a life, perhaps they would realize how awful it can be. To know that they personally would not want to be in a position of poverty may be enough for them to conclude that since there are other humans that are in that place, they need to be helped. The prior example becomes an issue of human rights. Throughout the world, the poor lack many basic entitlements of life because they are bound by their circumstances. In extreme conditions, there is lack of adequate shelter and nourishment to even stay alive. When the pressure of mortality is so present, anything beyond the necessities of life must seem frivolous. Furthermore, although it varies depending on the specific location, opportunities in jobs, education, and all areas of life, are in scarce supply. Law and justice may be seen as concepts created for the purpose of treating all equally in discernment of right or wrong action, in protecting individuals from mistreatment, and overall, to keep human society as a whole in order and running smoothly. But they are also founded on an emotional groundwork. Humans are innately social, require contact with others for health and well-

A clash occurs when we see an individual or group as other than ourselves, that we disagree with so fervently that it appears foreign enough to be designated as wrong or even evil. To protect ourselves we often feel the need to do something to suppress that other. If these notions push further into action, physical harm is done. The thoughts themselves however, are already

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ers. Mirror neurons allow us to grasp the minds of others not through conceptual reasoning but through direct simulation” (Blakeslee 1).

being, and have built society based on the ability to operate in a network. For this to function properly, cooperation between people is essential. And in order for this to occur, we need to at least have respect for the views of others. This is not to say that it will be perfect. Dilemmas will inevitably arise. The paradox is that once we acknowledge human imperfection, the dilemmas are much less common. Throughout this entire process, empathy aids us. In 2009, President Obama propounded the qualifications he deemed necessary for successors to the Supreme Court. He included everything one might expect: extensive legal experience, a spotless ethical record, and dedication to the rule of law (Garrett 1). However, Obama also added empathy. He stated, “I will seek someone who understands that justice isn’t about some abstract legal theory or footnote in a case book; it is also about how our laws affect the daily realities of people’s lives, whether they can make a living and care for their families, whether they feel safe in their homes and welcome in their own nation. I view that quality of empathy, of understanding and identifying with people’s hopes and struggles, as an essential ingredient for arriving at just decisions and outcomes (Garrett 1). When a predicament comes to the fore, empathy helps us determine a just solution. Yes, we do have to rely on written law as a solid standard, but we also must be considerate of the circumstances under which the individuals involved acted. Maybe someone acted wrongly, did something that is illegal, but maybe it was because they were facing such plight, that for them at that time, it was the best decision. We need to be understanding of

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Here is very real evidence of just how connected we are. In a sense we can simultaneously experience the thoughts and actions of another. This also poses the intimate connectivity of thought, action, and language. These cells fire when one performs an action, sees another this. A person who may endanger others carrying out that action, hears it hapcannot be dismissed, but they also can- pening, says the word for that action, not be punished for being human. In all or hears that word (Blakeslee 1). Mircases, beyond categorization of wronged ror neurons can be seen as the meeting and wrong-doer, and because all of us are place of these different avenues, which all really both, we need to be able to see an allow for understanding between people, individual’s suffering and act out of com- and are essentially linked as a means passion in an effort to correct it. This in of communication whose framework itself serves to connect. In it is a realization is emotional. that we are all human and that we all share It is also important to note that social the same life. emotions like shame, pride, embarrassment, and so on, are centered in The nature of how we view and interact a uniquely human mirror neuron syswith others has directed culture, politics, tem in a brain region called the insula. economics, and human society as a whole, In a study conducted by Dr. Christian which also extends to our impact on the environment. All of these things provide Keysers at the University of Groninus with a striking image of how we par- gen in the Netherlands, it was found that when people watched a hand go to ticipate in and create our world. caress someone and then saw another This web of interrelationships has bio- hand push it away, this region regislogical foundations, into which current tered the pain of rejection. Moreover, he studies surrounding the nature of the noted that humiliation appeared to be human nervous system have brought new “mapped in the brain by the same mechinsights. A region toward the front of the anisms that encode real physical pain” brain called the medial prefrontal cortex (Blakeslee 3). This just goes to show us that (MPFC), activates when we are ponder- when someone is suffering from emotioning our own feelings, but also when we al trauma, they are also really ailing from are thinking about or observing those physical distress. same feelings in another (Boroditsky 5). More specifically, a class of cells called When mirror neurons malfunction, an mirror neurons, which are located in vari- emotional level of communication ceases ous areas of the brain, have been found to occur. It is now thought that this is a to direct our ability to read not only an- major cause of Autism and Aspberger’s other person’s actions, but also the in- disease. Autistic individuals are often tentions and emotions behind them. In cited as sort of living in their own world, an interview with the New York Times, or being highly antisocial. It could be Dr. Giacomo Rizzolatti, a neuroscientist that the neural basis of social abilities at the University of Parma credited with is lacking, and they therefore are signifisome of the first research of these struc- cantly unable to relate to other people. tures in the 1990’s, was quoted in saying, Studies show that these individuals can “We are exquisitely social creatures. Our identify an emotional facial expression, survival depends on understanding the and even imitate it, but they do not feel actions, intentions, and emotions of oth- its emotional significance (Blakeslee 2).


A similar effect is seen in individuals with Aspberger’s, who are unable to read facial expressions and vocal inflections, recognize sarcasm, and also cannot understand figurative language. They interpret everything logically and literally. For individuals with either disorder, everyday life is made extremely difficult simply because they cannot adequately relate socially and emotionally to other people. The importance of empathy is apparent. It lends us the competence to recognize that other viewpoints must be just as valid as our own. Scientific research has provided us with more clues as to how and why this phenomenon operates, and has given us greater insight into how incredible this biological capacity truly is. The complexity and social grounding of our empathy is something uniquely human. It lies behind much of our daily decisions and behavior, and is one of the key components of how we have developed as a society. Truly, it needs to exist for us to exist. All of this serves to remind us of empathy’s profundity. But what teaches us most is the faceto-face encounter in which we share a real and fathomless humanness with another. to view sources from this article, please see page 21.

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the struGGle:

t rtlet n ba wn e r u a bro by l dan a d by a figuero e t i d i e c i t e by l tions ustra

VS.

ill

The dichotomy of right and wrong are subjective, and therefore not universal. Right or Wrong? How many times must an individual be faced with those three words in a lifetime? What makes them choose one or the other? Is the right choice always necessarily the moral choice? Who decides what is right or wrong? These are all relevant questions in this struggling issue in life. Could the belief in karma be enough for one to lead a “good” moral existence? The fi nger is always pointed towards one’s self-interest and one’s outcome of their decisions. Personal benefits, religion, and punishments are all factors

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Almighty is called Al Deen or Al-Islam, provides that whatever gifts this beautiful earth of ours has in store or can produce, should be available to all mankind in an equal manner. There is a section of people, however, who dislike it and would, on the basis of might, control the sources of production, so that they might withhold God’s gifts from His creation and avail of them Amongst all cultures and religions we personally according to their sweet will. can see a societal point of view in which The group, opposed as it is to God’s way of actions are deemed as socially acceptable life Al Islam, places all sorts of hindrancor the contrary. A viewpoint unfamiliar es in its establishment among mankind, to many Americans is that of Muslim bringing about, what the Holy Quran debelief. “The way of life revealed by Allah scribes as a struggle between Right and in decision-making. Morals are derived from thought processes as well as how human beings come to decide life choices and pathways for their futures. As children we are taught right and wrong. We know that if we take a cookie from the cookie jar before dinner; that is wrong. How did we learn this?


Wrong. Whereas Islam has unquestioned sway in nature, it has to contend with stiff opposition in human society. Consider the example of a seed sown in the earth. Given the requisite means of growth a healthy and vigorous seed will sprout, the shoot will rise high slowly and a day will come for the tiny little seed to swing as a full fledged and robust tree. The seed has the capacity to grow and attain its destiny. Likewise the eternal laws and the permanent values which, as already referred to, make up Al-Islam, have the capacity to overcome impediments in the way of their materialization and to attain their goal.

In the words of the Holy Quran the healthy concept of life, Kalema-e-Tavvib, has the capacity to go up to Him — Quran chapter 35 verse 10 — it is to attain the heights which Allah Almighty has destined for it. In other words Right has the capacity and power to grapple with and overcome Wrong and pursue its own course. What happenings in human society, past and present, seem, however, to believe the conclusion. There is untruth everywhere, having full sway and giving no quarter to truth. Tyranny, exploitation, dishonesty, and fraud are rampant. Appearances may, however, be deceptive. Ask ourselves

fi rst and then Let us clear the misunderstanding underlying the confusion (Parwez). Parwez clearly outlines the potential for mankind to succeed and how an entire society has shared this point of view for as long as the religion has existed. In a very different time period then the present twenty-first century we can see that the basis of humanity is still very much the same. “It is the eternal struggle between these two principles — right and wrong — throughout the world. They are the two principles that have stood face to face from the beginning of time; and will

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ever continue to struggle. The one is the common right of humanity, and the other the divine right of kings. It is the same principle in whatever shape it develops itself. It is the same spirit that says, “You toil and work and earn bread, and I’ll eat it.” No matter in what shape it comes, whether from the mouth of a king who seeks to bestride the people of his own nation and live by the fruit of their labor, or from one race of men as an apology for enslaving another race, it is the same tyrannical principle” (Lincoln). I think President Lincoln puts this quite insightful. Furthermore, to think of the nature of humanity in that time period they were quite accepting of slavery, which was happening in their backyard. The suffering and misery of the poor and destitute has long been reported and documented by writers all over the world. The circumstances and stories of the less fortunate are accounted by authors who sometimes distance themselves from the people they write about. However, Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder focuses on the work of Dr. Paul Farmer, a man who works tirelessly to comfort the sick and dying in the poorest countries in the world. Instead of being a simple biography about a wonderful man, Kidder weaves his own message of human rights into the book. Kidder successfully conveys his message that universal health care is a right, not a privilege through the words and deeds of Dr. Paul Farmer. From the book, Kidder writes, “To build a school was to unite the practical and the moral.” Farmer would say, “Clean water and health care and school and food and tin roofs and cement floors, all of these things should constitute a set of basics that people must have as birthrights” (Kidder 91). Kidder proves to tell this story as he experiences, thus letting the reader experience the inspiring, as well as disturbing events with him. In the book, Kidder follows Farmer to many countries. Peru, Russia, and Haiti are where most of the story takes place. In each country, Farmer and his Partner in Health Team eventually make great progress in the communities they work in. The percentage of prisoners dying from Tuber-

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culosis in Russian penitentiaries goes down for example when Farmer and his team raise money with the United Nations. Kidder reports Farmers work with a convincing matter. He sees firsthand what legitimate healthcare can do in the poorest areas in the world. “Clean water, health care, school, food, tin roofs, and cement floors, all of these things should constitute a set of basics that people must have as birthrights” (91). All people need is basic living conditions to strive and live a healthy life, is depicted by Farmer specifically in Haiti. Kidder uses Farmers work to prove the sometimes neglectful western world that living a healthy life should not be something only richer nations get to enjoy. For example Kidder says, “…the idea that all members of an oppressed minority were equally oppressed, which all too conveniently obscured the fact that there were real differences in the ‘shaftedness,’ also sometimes called the ‘degrees of hose-edness,’ that people of the same race or gender suffered. ‘All suffering isn’t equal’ was an article of the PIH faith, generated in reaction to… simple lines like ‘The rich have problems, too’” (Kidder 216). This ignorant standard set by the

‘educated and wealthy’ westerns was understandably frustrating to Farmer and the PIH-ers. Kidder argues that the universality principle of suffering is wrong because as Farmer puts it “all suffering isn’t equal”. Catholicism, Judaism, and Islam all say that suffering on earth leads to reward in heaven. Whether it is another culture or another time period than what we are familiar with, the basic human instinct is the same, and human values are still as relevant. However, as we receive the comforts and luxuries of life it is far too easy to not understand or to forget how the other half, or in this case 90% of the world’s population live. Even in my own travels across seas, I unexpectedly found a similarity in different cultures, which is easy to forget: that we are all very much the same, very human. to view sources from this article, please see page 21.

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Adults learn from their childhood. What they pick up early on has a tendency to stay with them as they grow older. As citizens and parents, helping children is crucial to them being valuable citizens later on. It starts at home, but outside influences are just as important; In some cases, even more important. If we can instill good values as these children develop and keep them on track, they’ll have a greater chance of being successful in life. After all, isn’t that what we’d like everyone to be?

Foster Care

Jonny grew up in foster care his whole life, not having anyone to love him like every child should. Because of this, he faced a lot of obstacles, some of which have led him down the wrong path.

Reunited with parents or primary caretakers (140,896 children)

[source:] http://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/factsheets/foster.cfm

3%

7%

Other (8,288 children)

Went to live with a guardian (19,339 children)

Wrong Identity

20%

51%

As of September 30th, 2009 there were 423,773 children in foster care. An estimated 276,266 children exited foster care and ended up in one of these categories:

8%

Went to live with another relative (22,101 children)

Adopted (30,389 children)

11%

Emancipated (30,389 children)

Jonny decides to steal a random person’s identity to try and steal money from them and gain personal information. Little does he know it is the identity of a powerful CEO.

266,461 In 2009

people fell to identity theft in the United States. In Wisconsin alone there were 2,777. [source:] http://www.ftc.gov/sentinel/reports.shtml

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Jonny now decides to do some trading on an online trading site under his new identity. Doing so will certainly land him in jail.


Poverty Sucks

Once Jonny gets released from prison, he ends up right back where he started: Homeless. This ends up being a never-ending circle that he tries to beat. Is Jonny worth living for anything? Maybe.

In 2007 12.5% of people in the United States lived below the poverty level (37.3 million). [source:] census.gov

12.5% Prison Time

After commiting corporate fraud, Jonny will serve 25 years for stealing millions of dollars from the CEO’s identity that he stole.

In 2009

1,613,740 people were incarcerated at the state and federal levels. [source:] http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/index.cfm?ty=tp&tid=131

162 convictions for corporate fraud in 2009

These 162 convictions led to $6.1 billion in restitution. The rich and powerful steal, too. [source:] ftc.gov/sentinel/reports.shtml

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children & what the future holds by stephanie rasmussen edited by dan brown photography by dan brown

Our children are eating too much junk food For the first time in American history, today’s children will actually have a shorter lifespan than their parents (Politics). Childhood obesity, malnutrition, and hunger are becoming more frequent as poverty significantly increases. The well-being of children can benefit through changes in welfare programs, changes in the food industry and improving nutrition education programs in school systems. The well-being of future generations is at stake. Nutritionist Marion Nestle says “an ideal diet provides sufficient energy and

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essential nutrients to meet physiological requirements, maximize growth and longevity, and prevent nutrient deficiencies as well as conditions of nutritional excess and imbalance” (385-6). The primary factor associated with poor nutritional status is poverty, the inadequacy of family resources. Inequality in food access increases the risk of malnutrition and disease. Changes need to be made in welfare programs and the public needs to be educated on how to maintain healthy nutritious diets.

The welfare system fails to provide an adequate safety net. Millions in the US are reported experiencing hunger and lack means to obtain food, despite the presence of a food system of great overabundance. Such inequalities to access food are factors that increase the risk of malnutrition and disease. “USDA reported that 12 million US households lacked food security; of these, 3.3 million households reported hunger, and 800,000 households reported severe hunger” (Nestle, 388). The Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey concluded that 9 to 12 million


families lacked resources sufficient to ensure adequate food intake (Nestle 389). “Households with children under age 18 were most at risk of food insecurity and hunger, especially if the members were Black or Hispanic or headed by females. Hunger studies and analysis data collected from surveys show the correlation between food insecurities and hunger with income. “Although children comprise 25% of the total population, 40% of them live in families with poverty-level incomes” (Nestle, 389). Household income both above and below federal poverty level are

experiencing food insecurity and hunger. The federal poverty income level is unrealistic when “only half of the households reporting hunger were receiving federal food assistance” (Nestle, 388-9). “Below poverty incomes are unequally distributed among Americans; they are characteristic of 11% whites, 26.5% Blacks, and 27.1% Hispanics” (Nestle, 389). Inequality in poverty means inequality in the well-being of the population. Too many families and children are not receiving food assistance and go hungry. Welfare programs bring food to the hungry, but

what kinds of food are being consumed? Is food insecurity measured by food quality or food quantity? Millions of children rely on school meals during the school year. However, schools are no longer safe environments for our children to make healthy choices. The food industry recognizes the vulnerability in children, and thus they are the prime marketing target. More than 23 thousand schools have fast food franchises in the cafeteria (Politics). In 2003 New York City created a contract with

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Snapple giving them exclusive rights to sell drinks through vending machines at all city schools. Snapple was assumed to be a healthier choice than soda by city officials however the juice drink contains more calories and sugar than Coca-cola. Such sugary drinks have been associated with obesity in children (Politics). A learning environment should be the last place to receive misleading information. It is the public’s responsibility to set the example to make choices that better our well-being. Alcohol, drugs, and tobacco are banned from school campuses and junk food should be too. Malnutrition can have negative influence

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on the cognitive development of children. Cognitive impairments from malnutrition can stay with a child into adulthood. Productivity and success rate in school are directly influenced by inadequate nutrition. In order to provide a better education for children we need to first address issues of food insecurity which is “highly correlated with deficient intake of calories and essential nutrients” (Nestle 389). Even moderate levels of malnutrition, common in the US, “induce physiological and cognitive consequences that are especially pronounced in young children: fatigue, impaired immune function, attention deficits, and impaired learning” (Nes-

tle 389). Children in food insecure households or have hunger have “lower general health status, more physical symptoms, more mental health and behavioral problems, and more academic difficulties” (Casey 1407). Healthy nutritious foods need to be provided within the school system and easily available to all children, especially those with household food insecurities. Household and child food insecurities are also influencing the “risk for overweight and overweight status among many demographic categories of children” (Casey 1407). Academic standards can’t be met on an empty stomach. A child suffering from malnutrition is at risk for drop-


Did you know? • A  bout 17.2 million children (23 percent of all children) lived in households that were classified as food insecure at times in 2009. About 988,000 of these children (1.3 percent of all children) lived in households classified as having very low food security among children. • T  he percentage of children living in food-insecure households in 2009 was essentially unchanged from 2008 and was higher than the 17 percent observed in 2007. The percentage of children living in households with very low food security among children did not change significantly between 2008 and 2009 (1.5 percent vs. 1.3 percent). • I n 2009, the proportions of children living in food insecure households were substantially above the national average of 23 percent for the following groups: those living in poverty (51 percent); Black, non-Hispanics and Hispanics (35 percent each); those whose parents or guardians lacked a high school diploma or General Educational Development (GED) certificate (43 percent); and those living with a single mother (38 percent). NOTE: Food-insecure households are those in which either adults or children or both were “food insecure,” meaning that, at times, they were unable to acquire adequate food for active, healthy living for all household members because they had insufficient money and other resources for food. [source:] http://www.childstats.gov/americaschildren/eco3.asp

Children need to have more calcium with their meals.

ping out of school. Stronger nutritional children, the community needs to become education programs are needed in the more involved. The welfare program often school system and available to the public. relies on the support of the community, but shortages of resources in a declining Children who rely on meals through the economy leave many without food. school during the school year are going hungry during the summer months. The Previous information based nutrition USDA asks for “communities and locales” education programs in schools are to operate summer food programs using failing to make an impact. Behavior money from the Temporary Assistance for change programs with the involvement Needy Families Program. According to a of families and community are a sugrecent news release, the USDA is work- gested replacement. ing on “alternative approaches to provide food benefits to children during the sum- The United States Department of Agriculmer” but specifics are not outlined. If the ture’s Food and Nutrition Service admingovernment fails to provide food for our isters 15 nutrition assistance programs.

It is difficult to measure the success of nutrition assistance programs when information is from a biased source. While the USDA offers an abundance of information of current food and nutrition programs, statements regarding success in providing “a safety net” in a government news release lacked sufficient support when nutritionists and pediatricians provide data stating otherwise (USDA). The USDA awarded Child Care Wellness Grants to fourteen states, including Wisconsin. The program provides nutritious meals and snacks to infants, children and adults daily. Funds awarded to

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Children who rely on meals through the school during the school year are going hungry during the summer months.

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“local child care sponsoring organizations and institutions through states agencies” to “inspire innovative improvements to enhance nutrition and promote physical activity of the children” (USDA Grants). During an interview for my service placement at A.W.E. (Artists Working in Education), I was informed of the possible integration of wellness and nutrition activities into the art program. A few weeks after I started volunteering, I was approached with the opportunity to suggest some ideas. Through research and brainstorming I created several ideas for visual art based projects that reflected nutrition and healthy food choices. The ideas now make up a new nutrition and wellness curriculum that A.W.E. will offer to the urban community. Michelle Obama’s Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act passed on Thursday December 2nd, 2010 to reduce childhood hunger, promote health, reduce childhood obesity, improve program management and improve program integrity. The bill includes improvement of school meals and the involvement of the community. The bill addresses changes needed in the programs themselves, schools, community, and those running the programs. The bill allows more schools to provide meals to children and adults afterschool through the Child and Adult Food Program. Eligibility to free meals during school is expanded to cover a greater percentage of children. The bill allows for mandatory funding for pilot programs that provide food for children outside of school. It requires schools to become involved in the promotion and distribution of materials that inform families of meals available during the summer. Standards for quality of meals served at schools will help children receive the amount of nutrition needed. Funding will connect the school with local and fresh produce. Improvements in wellness policies and funds for food will be addressed at schools. The bill summary addresses many issues regarding quality of food and accessibility of food in schools and states that it will enforce wellness and nutrition education programs schools and child care settings.


Children enrolled in the federally funded School Breakfast Program and the Special Supplemental Food Program for Woman, Infants, and Children have shown to achieve higher scores on standardized testing (Braun). There is hope that the new adjustments in welfare programs and school system will make an impressionable impact on the well-being of children, but family and community involvement are important factors that aren’t addressed through the Obama’s new bill. In addition, funding for the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act is from cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance

Program, once known as the food stamp program. Another issue that still needs to be addressed is of the food industry taking responsibility by ending the marketing of junk foods on children. There are several factors that contribute to the well-being of children and one giant leap won’t solve all the current issues. By spreading awareness and getting involved at schools, organizations, and the community we can help children in making healthy choices and providing them with nutritious foods. to view sources from this article, please see page 21.

Junk food our kids eat at school…available for as little as $1.

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movie review

by dan brown

Rating:

Stars:  Gabourey Sidibe as Precious

Movie: Precious

Mo ‘Nique as Mary

Genre: Drama

Paula Patton as Ms. Rain

Director: Lee Daniels

Rating: R - Restricted

‘Precious’ is about a 16-year-old high school junior nicknamed Precious who lives in Harlem with her Mom, Mary. This riveting story goes through a set of realities that people only dream doesn’t happen such as physical and verbal abuse, incest and rape. Precious gets raped by her Dad in the opening scene, while the dark lit room makes this scene all the more scarier. The Dad, Carl, talks about how his daughter is better than her Mom, Mary, a thought that is so disturbing it almost makes you want to turn the movie off. We don’t get the admission from Mary until the end of the movie as to how everything started.

actually like to go through. Many might say she has the same opportunity as someone who is born to a good family. This is hardly true and ignorant.

to the welfare office and that school will not do her any good. Mary is also upset over the fact that Carl rapes Precious, obviously not loving Mary like he should be.

Going to the new school Precious starts to share a connection with her new teacher, Ms. Rain. Ms. Rain helps push precious to become better at her reading and writing skills and takes time out of her nights to help her accomplish this. She does this to show her that someone cares and actually believes in her no matter how far behind she may be. Because sometimes, your family isn’t going to be there for you, ever. As the story moves on, Mary continually tells Precious that she should go

During all of the pain that she goes through, Precious is still determined to be better and to learn despite being behind in her reading and writing. It took only one person to help her believe, and in return what would be someone that is an asset to society instead of a liability. Sometimes, we forget how a single word or action can change someone’s life forever. We should all be striving for this everyday, the world would without a doubt be a better place if we only did the small things.

Through out the movie Mary verbally abuses Precious, swearing at her, calling her fat as well as telling her school won’t do anything for her and that she should go to the welfare office. It’s ideas like these that form into realities for people growing up. If they hear it enough, they start to believe it. Precious’ principal comes to her house and has to talk through the intercom, telling her about an alternative school called “Each One, Teach One”. The reason behind this is because of Precious being pregnant with her second child, both who are fa- — Gabourey Sidibe as Precious thered by Carl. In situations like these it is hard for people to imagine what it is

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school ain’t gonna help none, take your ass down to the welfare. — Mo’Nique as Mary

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sources

every separation is a link

the struggle: right vs. wrong

children & what the future holds

by lauren bartlett

by stephanie rasmussen

Kidder, Tracy. Mountains Beyond Mountains. Deluxe Trade Paperback Ed. New York, NY: Random House, 2003. 327. Print.

Bornstein, David. “Fighting Bullying With Babies.” The New York Times. The New York Times Co. 8 Nov. 2010. Web. 13 Apr. 2011.

“Lincoln–The Eternal Struggle: Abraham Lincoln, Seventh and Last Joint Debate with Steven Douglas, held at Alton, Illinois, Oct. 15, 1858.” Harper’s Magazine 12 Feb 2009: 1. Web. 7 Apr 2011. http://harpers.org/archive/2009/02/hbc-90004392

Bunting, Madeleine. “Hail the 21st-Century Enlightenment. Ideas don’t come much bigger.” guardian.co.uk. Guardian News and Media Ltd. 13 June 2010. Web.13 Apr. 2011. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/ jun/13/21st-century-enlightenment-revolutionmind.

Braun, Bonnie. “Nutrition Education: A Strategy in Welfare Reform.” University of Minnesota. Feb 1997. Web. 25 Nov 2010. http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/ businessmanagement/DF6897.html

by isabel kent

Parwez, G.A. “Insight.” Islam. N.p., 21 Dec 2009. Web. 18 Apr 2011. http://www.parvezvideo.com/insight/islam/ is_islam_failure/index.asp

Kidder, Tracy. Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure The World. Random House, Inc. New York: 2004. Rifkin, Jeremy. “’The Empathic Civilization:’ Rethinking Human Nature in the Biosphere Era.” Huffington Post. The Huffington Post.com, inc. 11 Jan. 2010. Web. 13 Apr. 2011. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeremy-rifkin/ the-empathic-civilization_b_416589.html

Gundersen, Craig, et al. “Food Insecurity, Maternal Stressors, and Overweight Among Low-Income US Children: Results From the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.” Pediatrics: Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics 122.3 (2008): e529-e540. Web. 25 Nov 2010. Nestle, Marion. “Hunger in the United States: Policy Implications.” Food in the USA. Carole M. Counihan, ed. New York: Routledge, 2002. 385-398.

Stueber, Karston. “Empathy.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Metaphysics Research Lab, CSLI, Stanford University. 31 Mar. 2008. Web. 18 Apr. 2011. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/empathy/

Politics of Obesity: Confronting Our National Eating Disorder. Michael Pollan. UC Berkley. 3 Nov 2003. 25 Nov 2010. http://video.google.com/videoplay?doc id=-1639712309577829707#

Teach Empathy. The NVC Academy, 2011. Web. 13 Apr. 2011. http://teachempathy.com/

United States Department of Agriculture. “USDA Announces Wellness Grants in Child and Adult Care Food Program.” Washington: 0612.10, 19 Nov 2010. Web. 25 Nov 2010. “USDA Report Outlines Food Access in America.” Washington:0605.10, 15 Nov 2010. Web. 25 Nov 2010.

Uchiyama, Kosho. Opening the Hand of Thought: Foundations of Zen Buddhist Practice. Wisdom Publications. Boston: 2004. United Nations. General Assembly. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 10 Dec. 1948. Web. 20 Apr. 2011. http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/

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Casey, Patrick H., et al. “The Association of Child and Household Insecurity with Childhood Overweight Status”. Pediatrics: Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics 118.5 (2006): e1406-e1413. Web. 25 Nov 2010.

United States Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry. Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Hearings 111th Cong., 2nd sess. Washington: GPO, 2010. Web. 3 Dec 2010.


last thought

1 CARING for neighbors and friends, because we’re all human.

2 MORALS

we all have them. Shouldn’t we use them?

3 PATIENCE

is key to get through to someone.

Keep pushing them to understand.

4 COMMUNITY

help out a neighbor if they need it.

Wouldn’t you want them to help you if you needed it?

5 PARTICIPATION

leaders step up and help out.

Start today by participating in local community events.

If just once a day we said something inspiring to someone, it may change their life. We may not know their past, but we can help change their future. That is something we should be thinking about. We all need help at some point in life, some just need someone that believes in them. Be that someone today, tomorrow, and the next day. You never know who you will inspire next.

november 2011 | MIAD Bridge | 22


BELIEVE trust evolve in your work.

in your team.

everyday.

So, what do you want out of your MBA Program today?

Join our MBA Program of Business to advance your career and your life. Businesses time and time again choose our graduates because of our commitment to excellence shown in our professors as well as our students. Strive to be better. Call 414-555-3029 today for an information packet.

Believe. Trust. Evolve. It’s your future, do something with it.


2011 MIAD Bridge