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February 6, 2009

Do One Thing

I wanted to introduce you to a very important project called Do 1 Thing.
This is a nationwide collaborative effort on the part of photojournalists and videographers both to raise awareness about homeless teenagers and to also ask each of us to do one thing of our choice to assist them on Valentine’s Day 2009.
On the 14th, and going forward, over a hundred leading photojournalists, many Pulitzer Prize winners, will do their “one thing” in the form of documenting teen homelessness. (Do1Thing has been partnering with two support organizations, Covenant House International, the largest privately-funded agency in the Americas providing shelter and other services to homeless, runaway and throwaway youth, and StandUp for Kids.) The video above features the award-winning and widely-recognized photojournalist Ron Haviv discussing his involvement in the project.

In support, I will be doing several posts between now and the 14th sharing some of the photographic work already completed, encouraging you to visit and keep up with the Do1Thing website and blog, and most importantly, to urge you to make whatever humanitarian gesture you can on Valentine’s Day — then sign on to a BAGnewsNotes follow-up post and comment about it (with images) if you choose.

From a statement by photographer Chris Stanfield:

As the wealthiest and most generous nation on the face of the earth, it is amazing to me that so many young people are living on our streets and while we spend trillions of dollars fighting wars and bailing out corporations, our children spend yet another night in shelters, alleyways or motel rooms across this country with nothing but hope to keep them alive. Contrary to public belief, most of them are not stupid, or lazy or unmotivated. For a number of different reasons, they have found themselves dependent on the good will of others, sometimes just to survive.

To those who read this, I say: Buy one less thing you don’t really need this month and take a homeless teen to lunch. Invest in their future. Be an example for your own children by teaching them to love your neighbor as yourself. Just for one day…let one single act of kindness turn into two and then three and then four. Volunteer at a shelter, become a big brother or big sister or donate that expensive meal you were going to share with your loved one on Valentine’s Day and help make dinner for the homeless teen you pulled off the street for that night. Whatever you do, do in honor of our nation and our reputation throughout history for lending a helping hand. I can think of no better place to start than in our own neighborhoods.

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