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How to Raise $500,000 from Middle Class White Kids (and Why the Red Cross Never Will)

I learned about this story from my 12 year old son.  He heard about it last week and has been passionately evangelizing this story since that point.  He is recruiting his friends, his extended family, his church youth group.  He wrote all the newspapers and TV stations in the area.  He convinced his junior high school to show a clip on their daily announcement period.  I have had no involvement in this to this point.  He is not alone.  Youth across America have caught on to this story and have been mobilized.  Why?

END A WAR - April 29, 2006Remarkable.  Seth Godin encourages us to make our product so noteworthy that people will remark about it and want to tell stories about it.  Chartruese tells us to not be blankity-blank "pedestrian", meaning don't be common or average.

Three 20-something kids with a video camera wind up in northern Uganda.  They see incredible horror and encounter heartbreaking suffering, most especially among children.

Instead of turning their backs, they can't stop thinking about it.  They decide to do something about it.

What can three white kids do to stop 20 years of horror and war?  They decide that alone they can't do much, but if they can mobilize enough other youth, they can influence the powerful.

They know their audience - other youth.  They use multimedia, they use rock music,  they use myspace, they make music videos, they portray things raw and gritty and honest and authentic.

They first tell their story of their experience in Northern Uganda about  the Night Commuters in a documentary:

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Jan 5
Letterman: Funny or Fanatical?
I can’t help but give my two cents on the topic of Bill O’Reilly’s guest appearance on David Letterman. I have mentioned Letterman before. But I am not as impressed recently. letterman O'Reilly.jpg

I am a long-time fan of his show. I wrote a post a month back about Oprah’s celebrated visit to his show. I was disappointed that it seemed so contrived (by Letterman and Oprah). The exchange between O’Reilly and Letterman was far from contrived and was the most contentious that I have ever seen Letterman.

This blog is about Leadership and I try and view the events, knowledge and information that shape leaders and leadership the focus for all posts. I do not want to enter the political debate on this forum. There are too many others that have that piece of the Media covered.

But I found this exchange interesting and noteworthy and it is a major topic on the web currently. It shows the divisiveness of the country on the issue of the United States's continued presence in Iraq . Based on my knowledge, it is also the only time where Letterman has so vehemently flown the colors of his political flag. I certainly don’t watch the Late Show to learn about politics any more than I watch a show like O’Reilly’s (I don’t watch him) for humor.  Although sometimes the political commentary shows are funny.

Hats off to The Tension for providing an unofficial transcript and offering some straight-up analysis.
Dec 2
Oprah, Letterman and Leadership
I have laughed often at David Letterman poking fun at people. He seems to do his best work or maybe I just find it funniest when he finds humor in those that take themselves quite seriously. That is one reason I have enjoyed watching him lead up to last night’s show with super serious, superstar Oprah Winfrey. oprah letterman.jpg

If you haven’t been keeping up on “the television event of the decade” as Dave says tongue-in–cheek, Oprah was last on Letterman in 1989 and vowed to never return. Since then Dave has pointed out often the weekly calls to Oprah to have her on his show. Well his wish came true last night. Unfortunately for most diehard fans of Letterman, he may have met Oprah more than half way, forgetting how to be funny.

Reviews ranged from sour at As I Please to sweet at Jack Bog’s Blog.

Since I am not a TV critic, (try TV Filter) and just a Letterman fan, I won’t say much more about the merits of the show. The reason that any of this is noteworthy from this blog’s perspective was when Oprah told of her planned trip to South Africa to establish a girls leadership academy. I had read about this cause in Newsweek that featured Women Leaders (Oprah was the cover). Oprah said,

"I'm going to change the future for thousands and thousands of girls because I'm going to give them an education. I'm going to go out into the villages, into the rural areas, the forgotten places, and find the girls who have the potential to excel and be leaders in the world. I'm going to create a leadership academy. I believe that the future of Africa depends upon the future of its girls and women. That's the only thing that's going to turn that continent around."

Hats off to her and her effort in such a noble cause. That coincides with the great concept of microfinance and helping women out of poverty. As I have mentioned before, Unitus is leading this charge. Who knows, maybe their causes will cross paths. One thing is clear, their leadership and willingness to give back is a great example.

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