Did You Know?
Can Mentoring Work Wonders? Yes it can!
Empower Issue 5

       President Barack Obama said in honor of the 2010 National Mentoring Month:

  • The great poet and author Maya Angelou didn't discover poetry until her mentor took her to the tiny library at her school and challenged her to read every book in the room.
  • Co-founder and CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs, was an incorrigible troublemaker until his 4th grade teacher took him under her wing and convinced him to focus on math instead of mischief. That turned out pretty well.
  • Ray Charles first discovered his gift for music when, at the age of three, his next-door neighbor taught him how to play the piano.
  • And it was the enthusiasm of her mentor, Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn, that drew Dr. Carol Greider to the groundbreaking work in genetics that would win both of them the Nobel Prize for Medicine.
Did You Know?
Pessimists Versus Optimists
Empower Issue 3

  • How one explains events to oneself determines if one is a pessimist or an optimist. A pessimist believes  that a bad event will last forever (is permanent), it will undermine every aspect of life (is pervasive), and it is ones own fault (is personal). An optimist, on the contrary, believes that a bad event is going to go away quickly (is temporary), it just happened in that one instance (is specific), and it was not ones fault but rather was bad luck (is external).
  • The consequence of a preoccupation with ones own self and the lack of commitment to others is increased unhappiness, poor health, and a life without meaning. If one engages in an activity in the service of others long enough, it will gain meaning for one. The emptiness and meaninglessness that rampant individualism nurtures will begin to fill. The choice is ours.

         From:   “Learned Optimism,” Martin Seligman, Vintage Books, 2006.

Did You Know?
How Peace Corps and AmeriCorps Differ
Empower Issue 2

Peace Corps and AmeriCorps, both community service programs, differ in the following ways:

  • Peace Corps assignments are all overseas while AmeriCorps volunteers serve only in the US.
  • The goals of the Peace Corps are to:

     -  help the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women;
     -  help promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served; and
     -  help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.

  • The goal of AmeriCorps is to engage Americans in part-time or full-time intensive service to meet the nation’s critical needs in education, public safety, health and the environment.
  • Peace Corps Volunteers serve for two years while a typical AmeriCorps term lasts one year.
  • For Peace Corps you must be at least 18 years old and a U.S. citizen while for AmeriCorps you must be at least 17 years of age and a U.S. citizen.

Start thinking today!

  • http://www.peacecorps.gov/index.cfm?shell=learn.howvol (Peace Corps)
  • http://www.americorps.org/about/ac/index.asp (AmeriCorps)

Did You Know?
Empower Issue 1

-$3 can buy a large wool blanket to protect a child from the cold during an

-$17 can immunize a child against the 6 major childhood diseases.

-$54 can buy 150 sachets of PlumpyNut, a ready-to-eat therapeutic spread to
nourish children with acute malnutrition.

-$100 can buy a kit with enough materials to test 100 children for the Hepatitis-B virus.

-$500 can buy a year's supply of antiretroviral medicine for an HIV-positive child under three-years-old.

Support UNICEF's lifesaving work.

From: http://www.unicef.org/

Did You Know?
What is Ashoka Youth Venture Program
Empower Issue 4
Are Rats Altruistic?

“Yes!,” says recent research reported in the Washington Post. The research was conducted by neurobiologists Peggy Mason and her team at the University of Chicago. The researchers put pairs of rats in experimental conditions for an hour a day for 12 days. (They had previously spent two weeks together in a cage and knew each other). The rat opened the door to the trapped rat’s cage by chance the first time. In an average of seven days, however, it had learned to open the door intentionally. In 13 percent of the sessions, the trapped animal gave an alarm call, but vocalized distress was clearly not necessary to put the free rat to work. After liberation, the rats nuzzled and explored the experimental arena. But when the setup was changed so that the captive rat exited into a different area, the free rat still opened the door for the captive one. When a cage with five chocolate chips was added to the arena, the free rat also opened it. That animal consumed all the treats if the other cage was empty. But if it contained a captive rat, the free rat shared the chocolate about half the time, letting its compatriot have 1.5 pieces on average.

Peggy Mason believes that empathy and altruism evolved with females caring for helpless off-spring. Natural selection favored those maternal traits, which then became generalized to both sexes. Empathetic behavior has been observed in apes and monkeys, and described by many pet owners (especially dog owners). Recently, scientists demonstrated “emotional contagion” in mice, a situation in which one animal’s stress worsens another’s. But empathy that leads to helping activity – what psychologists call “pro-social behavior”– had not been formally shown in non-primates until the research conducted by Peggy Mason and her team.

From: The Washington Post, December 9, 2011.

Did You Know?