I was at my son's football game the other night and I was reminded of how the world's a very small place -- the six handshakes theory (also called six degrees of separation). For every person you meet, you're only six handshakes away from anyone in the world.
As I thought of that I also thought of that great movie "Pay It Forward." In the movie, a teacher gives an assignment to his class to come up with something that will change the world for the better. If they do, he will give them an A in the class. A young boy, from a loving but dysfunctional home, comes up with an idea-- do something to help three strangers with no expectation of getting anything in return, only to really make a difference for them. The only pay back you request is that they must "Pay it forward" to three others and those three must do the same, and so on and so on.
It was the most inspirational concept I had ever heard. What you witnessed was large to small miracles and it really made the world a better place.
The recent tragedies back East have had a number of ironic consequences. The devastation of the attacks generated the greatest surge in charitable giving in the last 20 years. Several billion dollars has been donated to relief agencies, helping the communities attacked recover, and to the families of those who lost loved ones in the attack. At the same time, Americans have severely cut back their spending, canceling vacations, putting off purchases of cars, furniture, and even choosing to stay home on the weekends instead of catching a movie or eating dinner out.
Both reactions are having serious impacts on local economies, especially metropolitan Tucson. Local charities who help clothe, feed and aid our community have seen local giving come to a near halt. While at the same time, local businesses have seen sales plummet and have begun to consider layoffs or other more drastic measures.
We must not cease our personal efforts to make a difference in the lives of those affected in the attacks. The strength of our nation is shown in our ability to overcome the acts of criminals.
At the same time, we must not neglect our own community. It is time to help the metropolitan area "Pay It Forward" through our Shop Around the Corner campaign.
The staff of the Northwest EXPLORER Newspaper challenges our friends and neighbors to join us in making a difference:
Find a charity, organization, or someone in need and do something - donate money, food, supplies, time or all of the above.
Go out and purchase that car, bike, dress, or whatever you have been wanting and needing -- or go out to dinner with your family or friends, see a movie, a play, or concert, and bring a smile to your soul and seed our economy with prosperity.
How will this make a difference? You and your family will be happier, the economy will be energized and our community will be in a stronger position to ward off any crisis that comes along. Emotional and economic strength are essential to prosperity.
Shopping locally will do more than just help local business owners. It helps you too. Sales and bed taxes fund major portions of the budget in Oro Valley and Marana. Those towns, as well as Pima County, receive a significant amount of shared-tax dollars from the state, with sales taxes accounting for a portion of those dollars as well. These taxes pay for teacher salaries, road improvements, libraries, and much, much more.
I hope you will accept our challenge and join us in making our community stronger.
Thank you for your wisdom and courage!
LOCAL CHARITIES THAT NEED HELP
Red Cross: 318-6740 or 1-800-HELP-NOW
Salvation Army: 1-800-SAL-ARMY
United Way: 903-9000
World Care: 514-1588
Marana Food Bank: 682-3001
Big Brothers/Big Sisters: 791-2447
YMCA of Northwest Tucson: 888-7716
Little League Baseball: 544-2454
Pop Warner Football: 322-9779
Northwest Interfaith Center: 297-6049
Friends of Oro Valley Library: 825-0095
Friends of Oracle State Park: 896-2425
Catalina Community Center: 825-0009
UPCOMING CHARITY FUNDRAISERS
The Greater Oro Valley Arts Council is holding its "Jazz 'n the Valley!" fundraiser Oct. 20 and 21 at James D. Kriegh Park, 23 W. Calle Concordia. The Friends of Oro Valley Public Library will also be holding their book sale during this event.
Order lobsters from Child & Family Resources 14th Annual Lobster Landing fundraiser Oct. 20. Lobsters can be purchased in singles at $15 each or in packages ranging from $75 to $400. Orders must be placed by Oct. 12. 881-8940.
Attend the 12th Annual "Evening in Italy" to benefit the Guardianships of Southern Arizona Inc., an organization that helps care for the mentally disabled. The dinner will be held at 5 p.m. Oct. 14 at the Doubletree Hotel at Reid Park. Cost is &100 and events include raffle, silent auction, dinner and entertainment. Reservations can be made at 620-6170.
CONTINUOUS SUPPORT FOR SEPT. 11 VICTIMS
Soleil and Friends are hosting a fundraiser Oct. 10 to benefit the YMCA of Greater New York. The special dinner event costs $85 or $110 with wine. Reservations can be made at 299-3345.
Oro Valley Police Officer Sarah Hallett will be returning to New York Oct. 11 to participate in the "Police Organization Providing Peer Assistance" program. Hallett is accepting donations at the Oro Valley Police Department, 11000 N. La Canada Drive.
The International Minute Press is donating 15 percent of their proceeds to the American Red Cross for all sales from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31.
The Tucson-Pima Arts Council is having a special exhibition of collected works created by artists and writers in repsonse to the attacks on Sept. 11. The exhibit will run through Nov. 9 at 240 N. Stone Ave.
Funtasticks Family Fun Park raised over $700 that will be donated to the Red Cross.
Tucson's Fort Lowell Furntiure District will be donating up to 10 percent of profits made on Sept. 29 to the Aid 4 America Fund.
Sarah and Melissa Skaja and Joanna and Katie Burke raised $328 by selling lemonade and golf balls.