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British Boy, Charlie Simpson Age 7, Raises $240,000 for Haiti Relief

Posted by: BuellBoy

Charlie Simpson

Simpson's efforts have been described as 'bold' and 'innovative' by Unicef's UK executive director.

He’s no Wyclef Jean or George Clooney, but that hasn’t stopped seven-year-old Charlie Simpson from raising more than $240,000 (£150,000) for the Haiti earthquake. Simpson from Fulham, west London had hoped to raise just £500 for UNICEF’s earthquake appeal by cycling eight kilometers (five miles)around a local park.

Charlie Simpson

Charlie Simpson

My name is Charlie Simpson. I want to do a sponsored bike ride for Haiti because there was a big earthquake and loads of people have lost their lives,” said Simpson on his JustGiving page, a fundraising site which launched his efforts.

I want to make some money to buy food, water and tents for everyone in Haiti,” he said.

Donate to Charlie Simpson’s Haiti fundraising page

And with that simple call, messages of support flooded the site.

Charlie's helpful little sister

Charlie's helpful little sister

Such a big heart for a young boy, you’re a little star!” wrote one supporter. “Well done Charlie. A real celebrity,” said another. More donations began pouring in after the story caught the attention of the British media — with many cheering Simpson past the £100,000 mark.

Even British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is spreading the message. His “Downing Street” Twitter alias said: “Amazed by response to the great fundraising efforts of 7 yr old Charlie Simpson for the people of Haiti.”

David Bull, UNICEF’s UK executive director described Simpson’s efforts as “very bold and innovative.” “It shows he connects with and not only understands what children his own age must be going through in Haiti,” Bull said in a press statement.

The Simpson family

The Simpson family

The little seed — his idea — that he has planted has grown rapidly and his is a place well deserved in the humanitarian world. On behalf of the many children in Haiti, I thank Charlie for his effort.”

Money raised by Simpson will go towards UNICEF’s Haiti Earthquake Children’s Appeal which will provide water, sanitation, education, nutrition as well as support child protection.

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President Obama and Secretary Duncan Meet 6th Graders

Posted by: Audiegrl

Speeding Up the Race to the Top

President Barack Obama and Sec. of Education Arne Duncan, right, take questions during a group discussion with 6th grade students at Graham Road Elementary School in Falls Church, VA. January 19, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama announces a proposed $1.3 billion investment in Race to the Top, a program to encourage innovation and excellence in education through competitive grants, at an event at Graham Road Elementary School in Falls Church, VA. January 19, 2010.

This morning the President and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan paid a visit to Graham Road Elementary School in Falls Church, Virginia where they had a chat with about 30 6th grade students. The conversation put a face to the people they were trying to help with the President’s latest investment of more than a billion dollars in next year’s budget to amp up the President’s “Race to the Top” program – a competition to incentivize success that has already generated an overwhelming response from states, with over 30 states expected to compete for first-round funding.

You can learn more about Graham Road in the White House background release, but the school made a mark on its community by implementing a comprehensive strategy to turn around student achievement, adopting rigorous and high-quality student assessments, teacher evaluation and professional development, along with innovative and effective use of data systems to track student performance. As a result, in 2008 all of the school’s sixth-graders met Virginia’s reading standards, and 96 percent met math standards, despite being one of the lowest income schools in the county. The expansion of Race to the Top comes with a plan to encourage precisely this kind of visionary change in schools that apply for the challenge.

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In his remarks after the meeting with students, the President explained how it all works, and the logic behind “Race to the Top“:

Last year, we set aside more than $4 billion to improve our schools — one of the largest investments in reform in our nation’s history. But we didn’t just hand this money out to states that wanted it; we challenged them to compete for it. And it’s the competitive nature of this initiative that we believe helps make it so effective. We laid out a few key criteria and said if you meet these tests, we’ll reward you by helping you reform your schools.

First, we encouraged states to adopt more challenging standards that will actually prepare our kids for college and their careers. We also encouraged schools to adopt better assessments — not just one-size-fits-all approaches — to measure what our kids know and what they’re able to do.

Second, we urged schools and school districts to make sure we have excellent principals leading our schools and great teachers leading our classes by promoting rigorous plans to develop and evaluate teachers and principals and by rewarding their success.

Third, we urged states to use cutting-edge data systems to track a child’s progress throughout their academic career, and to link that child’s progress to their teachers so we know what’s working and what’s not working in the classroom. Fourth, we encouraged states to show a stronger commitment to turning around some of their lowest-performing schools.

And even before states have received a single dime of taxpayer money, many of them have committed to instituting important reforms to better position themselves for a Race to the Top grant. Forty-eight states have now joined a nationwide partnership to develop a common set of rigorous, career-ready standards in reading and math. Wisconsin has enacted legislation permitting schools to link student achievement to the performance of teachers and principals. In Illinois, Louisiana, Tennessee, California, we’ve seen changes in laws or policies to let public charter schools expand and succeed. These are public schools with more independence that are formed by teachers, parents, and community members.

So by rewarding some of these states submitting applications today, by extending the Race to the Top for states, by launching a Race to the Top among school districts, and by applying the principles of Race to the Top to other federal programs, we’ll build on this success. We’re going to raise the bar for all our students and take bigger steps towards closing the achievement gap that denies so many students, especially black and Latino students, a fair shot at their dreams.

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Celebrating MLK Day: Have a Dream

Learn more about the Kids for King Initiative at www.KidsForKing.org

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Stupid Parents + Reality TV=Kids at Risk

Posted by Audiegrl

richard-heene-balloon_l

Richard Heene holding son Falcon

Entertainment Weekly—Is the Balloon Boy fiasco the latest example of parents putting their love of fame before their love of children? Should kids even be allowed on reality TV? And how much blame should go on the network executives behind such programs? These are a few of the questions that we look at in the new issue of Entertainment Weekly with a story focusing on how past and present shows like Jon & Kate Plus Eight, Supernanny, Kid Nation, and The Baby Borrowers could be putting young children at emotional and physical risk, all for a paycheck and 15 minutes of fame. “The entertainment executives very well know the risks that are facing these children,” says former child star Paul Petersen (The Donna Reed Show), who now serves as president of A Minor Consideration, an advocacy group for young performers. “They just turn a blind eye to it and climb in their Mercedes as if they’re blameless. I’m sorry, but you’re not blameless.”

balloon-boyballoonBut what about the parents who sign up their children for such shows? And what of Richard Heene, who has been accused of orchestrating the whole balloon hoax involving his 6-year-old son Falcon to get himself his own TV show? “This is what I’m really scared of,” says reality producer Tom Forman (Kid Nation), who says he heard and rejected Heene’s pitch for a storm-chasing series. “Parents get blinded by the lights, the fame, and the lure of Hollywood, and are willing to do anything to get themselves on television, including putting their children in harm’s way. This is what happens when a father tries to play television producer.”

To read more about fame-hungry parents, children on TV, and the possible future of the Heenes, check out the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, on stands now.

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First Lady Michelle Obama Hosts a Healthy Kids Fair at the White House

Posted by Audiegrl

healthy_kids_1michelle obamaWhiteHouse.gov—Yesterday, the First Lady held the first ever Healthy Kids Fair on the White House South Lawn—a fun event created to teach parents and children the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

All afternoon, the kids took turns jump roping, hula hooping, and learning to concoct nutritious snacks and lunches. As the First Lady explained, the recipes — such as Sweet and Zesty Popcorn and Baked Sliced Apples — are easy to make and developed with today’s busy family in mind:

    “We want our children to eat right, not just because it’s the right thing to do but because quite frankly healthy good food tastes good and we want them to experience that. We don’t just want our kids to exercise because we tell them to. We want them to exercise because it’s fun and they enjoy it. And we want them to learn now how to lead good, healthy lifestyles so that they’re not struggling to figure out how to do that when they’re older.

    But as a parent, and I know all of you here today, we know that sometimes doing all that is easier said than done, because we all care but it is becoming so increasingly difficult to provide all that for our kids. And you all know that better than anyone here, as parents. We’re all pulled in a million different directions, working hard, working long hours, trying to do everything, be perfect parents. We love you guys so much we just want everything for you.”

healthy_kids_2michelle obamaAs the First Lady reminded her guests, one of every three children in the United States is overweight or obese—but if we take responsibility for our health, this preventable problem will be a thing of the past.

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One of the things I loved about the First Ladies speech was when she said, “my mother was also very clear in our household that you ate what she fixed“. You guys don’t know how many times I went to bed without dinner when my Mom fixed cabbage or liver. But the main enemy was ‘peas‘, they were just too squishy for my tastes. One fateful night I decided that if I just scraped the peas off my plate, and placed the plate on top of them, my Mom would think that I ate the peas. Well, I’m sure you can guess how well that turned out. 😉

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Secret Service: Facebook Poll No Threat to Obama

Posted by Audiegrl

Social Media Assassination Poll for Obama Posted on Facebook

Social Media Assassination Poll for Obama Posted on Facebook

Associated Press/Eileen Sullivan—The Secret Service has determined that a juvenile was behind the online survey that asked whether people thought President Barack Obama should be assassinated, an agency spokesman said Thursday.

No criminal charges will be filed against the juvenile or the juvenile’s parents, spokesman Edwin Donovan said. Donovan would not identify the names of the child or parents or say where they are from.

The poll, posted Saturday on Facebook, was taken off the popular social networking site quickly after company officials were alerted to its existence. But, like any threat against the president, Secret Service agents took no chances.

The poll asked respondents “Should Obama be killed?” The choices: No, Maybe, Yes, and Yes if he cuts my health care.

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Facebook Poll: “Kill Obama?” Pulled Down, Secret Service Investigating

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Obama: Soldier’s sacrifice, deserving Medal of Honor, should inspire all Americans

President Barack Obama posthumously awards Army Sgt. 1st. Class Jared C. Monti from Raynham, Mass., the Medal of Honor for his service in Afghanistan, to his parents Paul and Janet Monti, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2009, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

President Barack Obama posthumously awards Army Sgt. 1st. Class Jared C. Monti from Raynham, Mass., the Medal of Honor for his service in Afghanistan, to his parents Paul and Janet Monti, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2009, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

WhiteHouse.gov—Today, President Barack Obama awarded Staff Sergeant Jared C. Monti, U.S. Army, the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry. Staff Sergeant Monti will receive the Medal of Honor posthumously for his heroic actions in combat in Afghanistan. He displayed immeasurable courage and uncommon valor – eventually sacrificing his own life in an effort to save his comrade. Staff Seargent Monti’s parents, Paul Monti and Janet Monti will join the President at the White House to commemorate their son’s example of selfless service and sacrifice.

Jared C. Monti was born on September 20, 1975. He was a native of Raynham, Massachusetts. He graduated from Bridgewater-Raynham High School. He enlisted in the United States Army in March 1993. He attended Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

His military decorations include: the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, five Army Commendation Medals, four Army Achievement Medals, three Good Conduct Medals, three National Defense Service Medals, to name a few.

He is survived by his Father, Paul Monti, his Mother, Janet Monti, his Sister Niccole Monti, his Brother, Timothy Monti, and his Niece, Carys Monti.

He was posthumously promoted to Sergeant First Class.

THE MEDAL OF HONOR:

The Medal of Honor is awarded to a member of the Armed Forces who distinguishes themselves conspicuously by gallantry above and beyond the call of duty while:

—engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States;

—engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force; or

—serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party.

The meritorious conduct must involve great personal bravery or self-sacrifice so conspicuous as to clearly distinguish the individual above his or her comrades and must have involved risk of life. There must be incontestable proof of the performance of the meritorious conduct, and each recommendation for the award must be considered on the standard of extraordinary merit.

Associated Press Read more from AP: Obama honors soldier killed in battle

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