The power of small grants

I was thrilled to read your story, “‘Micro-grant’ powers 10-year-old’s idea for radio program” and wanted to reflect on micro-grants and the transformative power that they have. As an ambassador for The Borgen Project, I’ve learned a great deal about the types of projects these types of funds can support, and the role our government can play in the process.

Nonprofits like The Pollination Project and Spark Microgrants work to provide seed money to small organizations all around the world, with the aim of enabling those with the desire to create change in their communities and in communities in need around the world. Recipients have gone on to provide women’s education, heal the damage of gang violence, and build infrastructure necessities like wells and schools. The contribution is minimal, and the per-dollar impact is huge.

The government can do just as much as nonprofits, if not more, for impoverished and at-risk communities worldwide. A small grant can build a well, or a road, and make lasting community changes that lift people out of poverty.

Lifting people out of poverty across the world should be a major focus of our congressional leaders like Rep. Jackie Walorski, who I thank for co-sponsoring the Keeping Girls In School Act. Building schools and educating our girls will have a cascade effect that benefits all. If the Marshall Plan and its ilk taught us anything, it’s that investment in foreign aid has tremendous returns for the US economy and for the world at large.

Jared Schooley, 


Eat your vegetables

Kale, yeah! June 17 is “National Eat Your Vegetables Day.” Of course, I’m vegan, so every day is “eat your vegetables day” at my house. Eating veggies and other tasty vegan foods rather than meat, eggs, and dairy “products” helps protect the environment, stop animal suffering, and prevent life-threatening illnesses.

Researchers at the University of Oxford believe that going vegan is the “single biggest way” to cut greenhouse-gas emissions, alleviate world hunger, and conserve water and land, which would also help prevent the mass extinction of wildlife. Vegans also spare countless cows, chickens, pigs, fish, and other animals from pain and suffering, and vegans are less likely to suffer from heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and other diet-related diseases.

And versatile vegan foods generally cost less than animal-based foods, especially since vegans usually don’t have to shell out more money for statins, blood pressure pills, and weight loss plans.

So celebrate “National Eat Your Vegetables Day” and all of “National Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Month,” by enjoying pasta primavera, vegetable fajitas, hummus and veggie wraps, grilled vegetables, and other delicious veggie-based dishes. See for free vegan recipes.

Heather Moore

Norfolk, Virginia

Great gift on Father’s Day

June is Men’s Health Month and Father’s Day is this weekend. A great gift for your family this Father’s Day is to start living tobacco-free.

Smoking is the No. 1 cause of preventable death and costs 11,100 Hoosier lives every year. Dads who smoke can celebrate Father’s Day by quitting, and family and friends can help support dads who are trying to quit.

There are many reasons why dads may want to quit smoking.

n 23.5% of Indiana men smoke, which is higher than the national rate of 15.8%

n Men are more likely to be current cigarette smokers than women

n Men who smoke increase their risk of dying:

n From bronchitis by nearly 10 times

n From emphysema by nearly 10 times

n From lung cancer by more than 22 times

n From heart disease by 3 times

The Indiana Tobacco Quitline is a free phone-based counseling service that helps Hoosiers quit all tobacco products, including smokeless tobacco. There is also a web based counseling option,, and supplementary texting service, Text2Quit.

Services are available 24/7, so call 1-800-QuitNow today or visit More information is available from the Minority Health Coalition Elkhart County at 574- 522-0128 or

Quitting smoking has numerous benefits, but perhaps the greatest of all is more time with family and loved ones on Father’s Day weekend.

Velishea Billings,

Minority Health Coalition Elkhart County

Tobacco Program Coordinator


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