Spirit of America's Blog
Boots and best SoA year-end ever
First: all of us at Spirit of America give our sympathy and support to our friends and allies in France. The terrorist attacks in Paris are an example of what we are all up against.
In the last six weeks, Spirit of America received $1.1 million in donations. That is our best year-end ever. And, our project helping children who escaped ISIS received more donations than any SoA project since 2004. Incredible. Thank you.
Those funds are being put to work immediately. We have hired a new Field Representative to increase our support to the mission against ISIS. Projects have been funded and implemented in the Philippines, Georgia (the country), Syria, Honduras and West Africa. And, tens of thousands of boots are on the ground protecting the feet of Iraqi children, with more boots on their way.
CBS did a great story on our boots project. Watch it here.
And, in case you missed it, Spirit of America other media coverage recently.
In the Philippines, the Right Approach Leads to Great Results
As you know, the intentions of most international aid organizations are pure, but as an aid worker, I can tell you that many organizations' methods of helping are not always as effective or beneficial as they could be because they lack the proper procedures for identifying and meeting needs. Understanding the need, truly understanding it from the perspective of the aid recipient, is vital to providing the right, locally appropriate solution to meet the needs of the people. One US Army team I recently worked with in the southern Philippines understood that concept and took it to heart. When they applied their understanding of the situation, they were able to change the lives of the Filipinos they were working with.
Filipino youth who recently graduated a culinary vocational training program show off their new cookware donated by Spirit of America
Improved Care for Georgian Wounded Warriors
Today I'd like to provide an update regarding a project we first told you about here. The US Army civil affairs team in the small-yet-important Eastern European country of Georgia is working with their local military partners to improve care for critically wounded veterans of the campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Georgian military was one of the highest per capita contributors of troops to these conflicts, and some 19 of the country's soldiers lost limbs during deployments. With your support, Spirit of America was able to provide the Georgian healthcare professionals working with these wounded warriors badly needed scrubs to improve hygiene, professionalism, and team cohesion.
Georgian medical team members show off their new scrubs alongside some of their patients
NY Times story on SoA in Syria
Great story in The New York Times Magazine - " Radio Free Syria" - that features Spirit of America projects in Syria. We are working with the US State Dept and are providing solar-powered radios to help independent media be a force for peace in Syria. And, we are providing warning sirens to Raed Fares and Radio Fresh so that innocent civilians can be warned of attacks by the Assad regime and by extremists.
Vietnamese Children Embark Upon a Literary Journey
"You are not only fortifying us with excellent reading material, but with a story on how people help other people that we will be sure to teach the children." – J.T.
Over the summer I was contacted by a Civil Affairs officer from the 84th Civil Affairs Battalion who had recently returned from Vietnam. While there, she met an ex-patriot, J.T., who was working with the US Embassy to address the vulnerabilities youth are facing in the country.
Many poor and disadvantaged Vietnamese children drop out of school before they get to the sixth grade. One of the greatest challenges, even for children who are able to remain in school, is the availability of quality education, specifically in regards to reading and writing the English language. When the previous international school was closed near what used to be the North / South demilitarized zone, a void was left. J. T. built the new school with the purpose of filling that gap and providing the best education possible. They have largely been able to achieve that goal, but the students and staff needed some help.
SoA in The Wall Street Journal
In January 2012, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta received a memorandum signed by three four-star generals: Jim Mattis, then head of the U.S. Central Command; James Amos, commandant of the Marine Corps; and Raymond Odierno, Army chief of staff. They were writing to support a new idea. In June Adm. William McRaven, head of U.S. Special Operations Command, added his support.