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Real world, real time solutions

I knew a woman who was newly-divorced with a few children and a couple of jobs. She enrolled in college and took out student loans. She was going to set a good example for her children and make a better life for them following a painfully abusive marriage. Her college counselor, meaning well, referred her to a social service program that helped finance books and gas money.

She made an appointment and met with a case worker in a cubicle decorated with Jesus fish and Godly sayings. The case worker walked in and immediately looked sternly at the young mother and asked her, “What is it going to take for you to be self-sufficient?”

One might hope the case worker could recall the saying, “By the grace of God go I.”



Feeling broken and holding back tears, the woman left the social services office and her educational dreams and goals in that building.

It is not enough to educate yourself. It is not enough to take good physical care of yourself, either.



We all have to lift our fellow humans in order to achieve collective excellence.

Check your judgments at the door and check out what some people are doing to elevate others.

Knowledge empowers, and Oregon state Sen. Mark Hass (D-Beaverton) knows it. This week it was announced that Oregon is expected to become the second state in the country to offer free community college.

That is a real investment in the future of its citizens.

Hass cited in legislative testimony, that it costs about $14,000 a year in social services and indirect costs to support each of the 70,000 Oregonians, 18 to 24 years old who are unemployed and have no education beyond high school.

In the long run it is much less expensive to educate and the return is far better, as people become ready for the workplace and foster a sense of satisfaction.

There are people examining the sources of social strife and finding sensible solutions.

Giving folks the capability for higher education provides the gift of a healthy mind.

Meanwhile in Arizona, a new law will allow anyone to order lab tests for sexually-transmitted diseases, pre-diabetes, vitamin levels and fertility, with no need to see a doctor. For less than $3, a person can get a cholesterol test.

Theranos, a blood-analytics company from Palo Alto, is pioneering the technology that allows people to obtain test kits easily and affordably. Hurried, worried Americans can certainly use those types of nearly instant answers to looming health questions.

Within in arm’s reach — The University of Central Florida has a team of students operating a nonprofit called Limbitless Solutions. It is a 3-D volunteer network making electronic arms for children with missing limbs. According to CNN, “Each electronic limb takes about 30- to 50- hours to make and assemble. The students use the printer in the school’s manufacturing lab and cover the cost of materials — about $350 — through donations.”

I don’t think it is our job as human beings to force our own will, beliefs or might on others, but to use our strength, love and knowledge to elevate those around us. What will you do to contribute to the improvement of the world today?

“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” — Mother Teresa

Mandy Feder is the Managing Editor of the Tahoe Daily Tribune. She can be reached at 530-542-8006 or mfeder@tahoedailytribune.com.


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