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Collapse: An Extended Book Report

Diamond, J. M. (2005). Collapse : how societies choose to fail or succeed. New York, Viking.

This work presents a broad historical approach to the title question: why do societies collapse? His examples range from Easter Island to the Anasazi of the American Southwest, to the Viking colonies of Greenland, to the Maya, to Rwanda, contrasting these to modern Australia, Montana and Los Angeles, as examples of places with environmental problems that may not in fact collapse.


A Movement Without Marches

African American Women and the Politics of Poverty in Postwar Philadelphia

A Movement Without Marches by Lisa Levenstein

2010 Honorable Mention, Frederick Jackson Turner Award, Organization of American Historians

Lisa Levenstein reframes highly charged debates over the origins of chronic African American poverty and the social policies and political struggles that led to the postwar urban crisis. A Movement Without Marches follows poor black women as they traveled from some of Philadelphias most impoverished neighborhoods into its welfare offices, courtrooms, public housing, schools, and hospitals, laying claim to an unprecedented array of government benefits and services. With these resources came new constraints, as public officials frequently responded to womens efforts by limiting benefits and attempting to control their personal lives. Scathing public narratives about women’s “dependency” and their children’s “illegitimacy” placed African American women and public institutions at the center of the growing opposition to black migration and civil rights in northern U.S. cities. Countering stereotypes that have long plagued public debate, Levenstein offers a new paradigm for understanding postwar U.S. history.  Click here for more information

About the Author

Lisa Levenstein is associate professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.


Women/Family Volunteer Opportunities

The Asheville City Schools Foundation is an independent non-profit organization dedicated to educational success for all city schools students.(828)-350-6134     Website

 

Asheville Youth Rowing Association is a non-profit 501(c)(3) public corporation dedicated to promoting the sport of rowing among teenagers between the ages of 12 and 18 years as a means of instilling discipline, teaching team work, attaining physical fitness, and teaching the sport of rowing in order to help young people gain admission to college and/or other educational efforts, obtain scholarships for educational efforts and/or to succeed in a life endeavor. The Association functions without preference to race, creed, religion, or color in Western North Carolina. 828-337-8109 http://ashevilleyouthrowing.com/home/

 

Asheville Youth Mission (AYM) is a place where mission, creativity, and transformation are happening with young people. 828 231-4635 http://ashevilleyouthmission.org/

 

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Western North Carolina serves nearly 700 children and teens in eight western counties. We match adult mentors with kids who need a caring role model in their lives. We match Bigs and Littles based on personality, hobbies and experiences and provide full support from the start, so matches can grow into lasting, fruitful friendships. 828.253.1407    http://www.bbbswnc.org/

 

Children First mission is to improve the lives of children, youth and their families through community collaboration, advocacy and programming. 828-252-4810   Website

 

 Eliada mission is Helping Children Succeed. Eliada’s vision is to provide an optimal learning environment that empowers children and their families to succeed. 828-254-5356 http://www.eliada.org/

 

Girls on the Run is a national non-profit educational and running program for pre-adolescent girls (3rd-8th grades) that strengthens girls physically, emotionally, and socially in preparation to face the upcoming pressures of adolescence. 828-713-4290  http://www.gotrwnc.org/

 

Girl Scouts Carolinas Peaks to Piedmont, Inc.Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. (828) 252-4442    emalenchak@girlscoutsp2p.org

 

Guardian Ad Litem WNC A Guardian ad Litem is a trained community volunteer who is appointed by the Juvenile Court torepresent the “Best Interests” of a child who is involved in court proceedings as a result of havingbeen abused or neglected. The Guardian ad Litem Volunteer conducts an independent investigationof the facts of the case and makes recommendations to the court.  828.251.6130     http://www.galbuncombe.org/

 

Hands On Asheville-Buncombe brings people together to strengthen our community through meaningful volunteer action. (828) 255-0696 http://handsonasheville.org/

 

Hanger Hall provides each girl a superior middle school education in an inclusive and supportive environment that promotes a sense of belonging, creativity, self-confidence, personal motivation and a desire for knowledge. In partnership with parents, Hanger Hall encourages girls to develop the living and learning skills necessary to succeed in life and to contribute to the betterment of the world. (828) 258-3600 http://www.hangerhall.org/

 

The Health Adventure, Asheville’s Family Health & Science Museum, provides a rich environment for community members to volunteer their time and skills on behalf of health and science education. Volunteer opportunities include everything from committee work, behind-the-scenes administrative tasks and internships to live performances! (828)254-6373       www.thehealthadventure.org

 

Helpmate serves as Buncombe County’s primary provider of crisis-level services designed specifically for – and offered exclusively to – victims of domestic violence and their children. (828)254-2968 www.helpmateonline.org/

 

The Hope Chest for Women commits to providing limited financial assistance for Western North Carolina women diagnosed with breast or gynecologic cancer and who are experiencing economic difficulties due to treatment cost. 828-418-1344    www.hopechestforwomen.org

 

The “I Have a Dream” Foundation mission is to motivate and empower children from low income communities to reach their education and career goals by providing a long-term program of mentoring, tutoring and enrichment, and tuition assistance for higher education.   828-230-8546   /www.ihadasheville.org

 

The Junior League of Asheville is a volunteer non-profit women’s organization who have been serving the Asheville area and surrounding communities since 1925.  We are part of a larger oraganization, the Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc. which includes over 295 Leagues throughout the U. S., Canada, Mexico and the United Kingdom.  The association of Junior Leagues International consists of approximately 160,000 women around the world, all striving for positive change in their communities. (828) 254-5608 www.juniorleagueasheville.org

 

Kids Voting Buncombe County is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to securing the future of democracy by educating and involving youth in the election process today.Our objective is to educate students Grades K-12 of the rights and responsibilities associated with voting and to stimulate critical thinking skills necessary for making informed judgments as voters. 828-775-5673  http://www.kidsvotingbc.org

 

Trips For Kids WNC was founded on November 18, 2010.  The goal of Trips For Kids WNC is to provide mountain bike outings and environmental education for kids who would not otherwise be exposed to such activities. 828-777-1022   http://tripsforkidswnc.com

  

Mountain Area Child and Family Center is an early learning program of distinction where young children thrive, families flourish, and early childhood professionals excel.(828) 298-0808 http://www.macfc.org/

 

OpenDoors of Asheville Inc. is a new not-for-profit that breaks the cycle of poverty by connecting local children with an active individualized support network and providing them with opportunities for higher level education. (828) 777-1135    www.opendoorsasheville.org/

 

Our VOICE, Inc. is a non-profit crisis intervention and prevention agency which serves victims of sexual violence, age 13 through adult, in Buncombe County. The agency was founded in 1974 as an all-volunteer grassroots organization. The agency remained underground until 1982 when we received our non-profit status and the first employee was hired. Now, 35 years and considerable growth later, Our VOICE employs seven paid staff and over 50 volunteers, working both to support the healing of survivors of sexual violence and to prevent future acts of sexual violence. http://www.ourvoicenc.org/about/

United Way’s 2-1-1 of WNC is a community service information line that links people to health and human services in Buncombe, Henderson, Madison and Transylvania counties. 2-1-1 service is free, confidential and available 24/7 to speakers of all languages. Whether you want to find or give help, trained referral specialists are available to answer your call and identify the right resources for you.       www.211wnc.org

 

Women At Risk helps individuals break the cycle of abuse and wrong choices that lead to criminal activity. In particular, Women At Risk gives to women the opportunity, the motivation, and the tools to succeed. With almost 90% of our graduates successfully completing probation and staying out of jail, Women At Risk is a proven treatment alternative to incarceration. (828) 251-1962 http://www.wccj.org/womenatrisk.html

 

The Women for Women giving circle brings women together in an engaging and meaningful way. By combining financial resources and working with others, Women for Women makes high-impact grants to improve the lives of women and girls in our region. Since January 2005, Women for Women has given more than a $1.2 million dollars to programs helping women and girls in our region.  (828) 254-4960   Website

 

Womansong mission is to sing together for joy and the creation of community, provide a safe, nurturing environment for musical expression and creativity, support local women in need through our New Start Program, and to perform quality music that elicits joy and affirms social justice and unity. http://www.womansong.org/

 

Women’s Wellbeing and Developement Foundation creates dynamic partnerships with projects that enable women and girls to positively transform their lives and the communities they serve. The foundation supports programs that ensure economic self-sufficiency, social equality and sustainable development, by providing effective technical assistance, targeted funding and by creating model healthcare and educational programs. (828) 255-8777    Website 

 

YWCA is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. Phone: 828-254-7206 www.ywcaofasheville.org/

 


In Ordinary Times

In Ordinary Time

In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.  Robert Frost

 

Year after year I await forsythia, thrilled

to see the tiny fireworks.

I spy the peony’s purple velvet

fronds in quiet explosion.

 

But since I’ve been alive

there has been a backstory that competes

with each emergent spring.

It’s a black story that drains color from the sky.

Do you know the story

about the accidents, the nuclear accidents?

 

Soon I expect to see daylily, lilac,

viburnum’s miniature and burgeoning bouquets

waiting to flourish.

Life goes on…

 

The story begins

in New Mexico, nineteen forty-five

then Greenland

Britain

Mexico

the Soviet Union and Japan,

then Baneberry at Yucca Flat

Morocco

and Three Mile Island

Chernobyl

Canada

and Zaragosa, Spain

Costa Rica

India

and Tokaimura, Japan

Panama

Thailand

 

Fukushima

 

Ordinarily it’s true that crocus, jonquil and quince quietly

arrive   live   flourish

no accident life

goes on…ordinarily that’s true.

 

 

©Jean Cassidy   Asheville, NC   March 29, 2011

 

A poem of thanks to all those folks at www.NoNuclearWasteinWNC.com who are working to disseminate the word throughout our regional community about the proposed dumping of nuclear waste in WNC and what we can do about it.

 


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