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May 2006
Rev. Celeste Shakti Hill

Filling a Void
This is month two of the GOOD NEWS section. Here are a couple of articles for your enjoyment and contemplation. And remember, that if you have a GOOD NEWS story, please share. It can be as simple assisting a friend in need, or discovering a beautiful flower in your garden. We will print a couple each issue. Send them to, and we will all share the GOOD NEWS!
Filling the Void- Introducing the 2006 Social Capitalist Award winners--25 entrepreneurs solving the world's toughest problems with creativity, ingenuity, and passion. Because they can't stand a vacuum. Here is one story:
Earl Martin Phalen, the founder of winner BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life), came face-to-face with his inspiring vacuum while still a student at Harvard Law School. Phalen and several classmates volunteered for a mentoring program in Roxbury, Massachusetts. He remembers telling the kids, most of them from low-income African-American and Latino families, that anything was possible, including going to college. But when he and his law-school buddies sat down to help the students with homework, they realized the kids were years behind academically. "We left there really devastated," he says.
Phalen, an African-American born into the state's foster-care system, decided to do something about it. With a grant of $12,500 and a promise from his adoptive parents to cover his rent if he went broke, he launched BELL, a rigorous after-school and summer program for kindergarten through sixth grade, out of his Boston living room in 1992. Today, the organization serves about 7,000 kids in four cities. Eighty-two percent of them read at grade level or better, despite having started the program typically more than a year behind in reading skills. Phalen's key insight--the need for a tightly knit web of volunteer mentors, parents, tutors, and teachers to support kids--was derived from his own experience. "That drives me," he says. "To know that somebody [supported] me, and all of a sudden, it took my life from going to jail to going to Yale."
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From The Foundation for a Better Life:
After witnessing a friend survive Lupus thanks to a generous marrow donor, Brooks Dame became inspired to "help someone out with a small little miracle of their own" and signed up to be a bone marrow donor, a painful and dangerous procedure. A year later Brooks received a call that a match was found; a 30 year old man with a wife and kids was desperately fighting Leukemia. Nervous, but buoyed by the opportunity to help the man, Brooks flew to Denver to donate his marrow, and help save a life.
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"Bread for myself is a material question. Bread for my neighbor is a spiritual one." -- Nicholas Berdyaev


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