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Get by giving.

Our children need you and the resources of your association. Be a meaningful part of their lives, exhorts General Colin L. Powell.

General Colin L. Powell, USA (Ret.), has found his stride: Challenging groups, such as the participants in the June 11 American Associations Day, on behalf of children who aren't getting enough "laptop time." Powell isn't talking about access to computers; he's referring to the children he sees who aren't getting enough daily care and love at home or, despite the appearance of a sound economy nationwide, enough food.

The challenge: Get involved. Be a part of the solution. Volunteer. Help kids in America believe in themselves and in this country.

From the moment Powell literally sprinted to the stage on American Associations Day, his urgent appeal for revving up the level of participation in meeting the goals of America's Promise - The Alliance for Youth was well-received. One of the attributes of an effective leader is the ability to tell a compelling story, and that's something Powell does engagingly. He described the day he spent with his "shadow kids" on National Groundhog Job Shadow Day - a day that included calling President Clinton and eating lunch at the congressional commissary (where Powell and members of Congress ordered sandwiches while the delighted kids ordered New York strip steaks).

Powell asked his shadow kids what they learned from the day of following him around. The simple but strong lessons didn't go unnoticed: You work hard. You speak a lot. You have to know how to write and read. Basic lessons about being a contributing member of society well worth conveying to the nation's children, said Powell, who asked the members of the audience to become active participants in National Groundhog Job Shadow Day, a program for which ASAE is a sponsor and in which 125,000 children participated this past February.

It's just one way in which Powell is committed to mobilizing the nation to help children. Powell reiterated the goals of America's Promise, the alliance of organizations, agencies, and individuals dedicated to supporting volunteer efforts:

* Make sure every child has a responsible, caring adult in his or her life (such as the mentors offered through Big Brothers and Big Sisters organizations).

* Provide a safe place for children to learn and grow (such as Boys and Girls Clubs and Salvation Army programs).

* Give every child a healthy start to the day.

* Teach every child a marketable skill.

* Make sure children realize we expect something back - that is, give children the opportunity through community service to discover how much one gets by giving.

Opportunities for associations to give children access to the resources needed to meet these goals are many, said Powell. He cited several examples, including that of an American Trucking Associations's initiative. With the use of satellites and laptop computers, ATA is enabling truck drivers to make geography lessons a topic that children can have fun with.

The message to children, explains Powell, is as simple as "we're not going to let you be failures, to blow it, because you're too important." Powell's warning to adults: "We either build our children - all of them - or we keep building jails."

Note: To learn more about participating in National Groundhog Job Shadow Day, visit the official Web site at

Ann I. Mahoney, CAE, editor in chief of ASSOCIATION MANAGEMENT
COPYRIGHT 1998 American Society of Association Executives
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1998, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:association' role in helping American children; General Colin L. Powell' speech
Author:Mahoney, Ann I.
Publication:Association Management
Date:Aug 1, 1998
Previous Article:Taking the hill.
Next Article:The extraordinary leader.

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