Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships Blog
- Posted byon April 19, 2011 at 3:29 PM EST
Friends, today President Obama hosted a beautiful prayer breakfast honoring Easter in the East Room of the White House. He is the first President to host such an event for Easter, and was honored to be joined by pastors and leaders from around the nation to celebrate Holy Week.
It was a wonderful celebration, featuring opening remarks by President Obama; stirring music from Wintley Phipps and the Washington Performing Arts Center’s ‘Children of the Gospel’ Choir; scripture reading from Dr. Timothy Keller, pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York and Sister Kateri Mitchell, Executive Director of Catholic Tekakwitha Conference; moving prayers by Bishop Vashti McKenzie of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and Rev. Sharon Watkins of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ); and a beautiful closing thought by Bishop T.D. Jakes. You can view video of the President's remarks.
- Posted byon April 18, 2011 at 2:36 PM EST
Tonight and tomorrow night, Jewish families and friends in the United States and around the world will gather for Seders to commemorate the Exodus from Egypt and the triumph of hope and perseverance over injustice and oppression. For most Jewish families, the Passover meal is full traditions passed down through the generations like the maror, or bitter herbs, which symbolize the bitterness of slavery in Egypt or the matzoh, unleavened bread, which recalls the haste with which the Israelites left Egypt – giving them no time to allow their bread to rise.
While some families hold the secret to the fluffiest matzoh balls in town, others have created new traditions to share with their families and friends.
Here at the White House tonight, President and Mrs. Obama will again host a small Seder, complete with recipes provided by friends and family. It’s a tradition that started in Pennsylvania in 2008, when after a long day on the campaign trail then-Senator Obama gathered a group of staffers – Jewish and non-Jewish alike – for an impromptu Seder. Each year since, the same group, along with a few close friends and family, have come together to carry on the tradition at the White House. Among the family recipes on the menu this year are a traditional chicken soup with matzoh balls, braised beef brisket, potato kugel, carrot soufflé, and matzoh chocolate cake.
- Posted byon April 13, 2011 at 1:07 PM EST
To celebrate the one-year anniversary of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago marked the date with healthy snacks and a visit from the USDA’s Power Panther mascot.
Registered Dietitians were on hand to educate the children and their families about good nutrition with a ‘Be a Fit Kid’ activity. They tasted samples of sliced apples with peanut butter and got moving with jumping jacks and other simple exercises. The kids were taught the importance of eating fruits and vegetables and the value of physical activity. Families were also educated on limiting intake of juices and sodas, as well as ‘screen’ time on televisions, computers and video game devices. Kids were excited to get their pictures taken with the Power Panther and went home with goodie bags of fun tips and educational materials on nutrition from Let’s Move! and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The event was hosted at one of Catholic Charities’ sixteen Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Food and Nutrition Centers in Chicago and attended by local children and their families, representatives from Medill School of Journalism and the Department of Health and Human Services, as well as Catholic Charities staff and supporters. Kids participating in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) at the WIC Center were treated to a free, healthy and nutritious after-school snack and exercised with the popular Power Panther.
- Posted byon April 12, 2011 at 3:58 PM EST
Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships staff from the U.S. Department of Education and the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) participated in the United Way Education Town Hall on March 31, 2011 in Washington, D.C. The event was held at Trinity University, and brought together students, teachers, nonprofit and business leaders, and education advocates, and representatives from government.
United Way Worldwide President and CEO Brian Gallagher announced United Way’s commitment to recruit one million readers, tutors and mentors to enhance the education and lives of young people.
CNCS CEO Patrick Corvington talked about how education is a central priority for national service. “More than half of our funding goes to education,” said Corvington. “We make it possible for great nonprofits across the country to support tutors and mentors and school volunteers that reach three million disadvantaged youth each year.”
The event moderator, CNN’s Soledad O’Brien, interviewed Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council Melody Barnes and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. Duncan praised the United Way’s commitment saying that when community organizations and schools work together our young people from the toughest of backgrounds can do extraordinarily well.
Barnes highlighted the role that CNCS serves in helping to channel the energies and good intentions of everyday Americans into volunteer opportunities that support students and schools.
- Posted byon April 12, 2011 at 9:11 AM EST
At the end of March our staff traveled to present to the Episcopal Church’s Commission on Health. The Episcopal Church has a rich tradition of ministry and service to the impoverished and underserved. This tradition inspires their interest in health care access for all people, especially the most vulnerable.
Having an opportunity to speak directly to the leaders of the commission that guides the Church’s healthcare ministry was an amazing opportunity for me and my colleagues. I began our presentation by reminding everyone that President Obama and Secretary Sebelius believe that faith and community leaders play an important role connecting hard-to-reach populations to quality, affordable health care. "The stories of everyday Americans and, more importantly, the courage it took to share those stories is what kept this effort alive…,” said President Obama.
The Affordable Care Act expands access to care, ends some of the worst insurance company abuses, and makes health care more affordable. Yet many questions remain about the impact of the law.
We had the opportunity to share with the group, that right now, uninsured Americans with pre-existing conditions can get coverage through the new Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) and young people are allowed to stay on a parent’s health care plan up to age 26. When I discussed ending insurance abuses, I explained that it is now illegal for an insurance company to drop you from a health care plan if you become sick due to an unintentional paperwork mistake. By putting you in control of your care, I told the commission, insurers can no longer cap the dollar amount they will pay or limit the amount of care you will receive in your lifetime.
- Posted byon April 11, 2011 at 9:39 AM EST
“You need a positive approach in order to work for change because you have to believe that even if you cannot bring it about all by yourself, you can still make a difference.”-Dorothy Height
On March 24, the Department of Education Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships hosted “Woman and Girls Winning the Future through Education.” The event honored the legacy of Dr. Dorothy Irene Height and focused on empowering women of all ages to become involved with education issues in their individual communities to raise achievement levels. The center partnered with the Black Women’s Roundtable which is a part of the National Coalition for Black Civic Participation. Also women from local community and faith-based organizations, and federal employees from across the government attended the event. Senior leadership from both the Department of Education and the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships to discuss school turnaround, mentoring, college completion and other issues pertinent to women and girls.
During the event, we hosted a roundtable discussion where attendees shared their ideas on how communities can be involved in their schools and bring positive change. Participants suggested ways to encourage corporations to fund programs; encourage individuals to use personal networks to connect teachers with resources; and increase communication with all individuals and agencies (teachers, parents, local school districts, state governments, federal branches) in a way that supports schoolchildren today. Participants also suggested expanding mentor programs in schools, ideas on how to get parents involved, and how we can get corporations to invest in students. Many new inspiring ideas were born at the event.
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