And a Happy Friday to you all; I’m headed down to the Jersey Shore for only, like, the second time in my life this weekend. If I run into any of those morons like “The Situation” or Snooki, you’ll hear about it in Monday’s blog post…
We start today with a LeBron James story, who once again has proved that he’s genuinely concerned about kids, and is genuinely a good dude.
LeBron announced this week that he will fully sponsor more than 1,000 scholarships for kids currently in his “I Promise” program, based in Akron.
He and the University of Akron are offering the chance of a college education to kids in the LeBron James Family Foundation, which helps kids from the 3rd to the 7th grade. He said if the students meet academic requirements, tuition is on him.
“As a kid growing up in the inner city and as an African American kid, you don’t really think past high school because it’s not possible or your family can’t support you,” LeBron said. “For us to be able to do something like this … it means so much.”
This is exactly what it means to give back. He’s basically giving away the equivalent of $40 million worth of tuition.
Bravo, LeBron. He truly “gets it.”
**Next up, I love this program and think it’s a great model for America. In Gloucester, Mass., the police dept. tried a different approach to drug users. They decided two months ago to stop arresting drug users who approached officers seeking help.
Instead, the town announced it would refer the addicts to treatment, and the city would front the costs.
According to this article on Upworthy.com, the police chief, Leonard Campanello, faced strong resistance.
“I had a lot of skepticism,” Chief Campanello said. “I didn’t know if we were going to get one person or a thousand people.
“But we had to try something different.”
After two months, the program has placed 116 people placed in treatment, with no arresets.
“We’ve had 116 people placed in treatment,” Campanello explained. “No criminal charges. All placed on the same day.”
The city bargained the cost of life-saving detox drugs from local pharmacies, and so far Campanello estimates the program has cost less than $5,000 so far.
“We’ve built partnerships with treatment centers, health plans, health providers, other law enforcement, and certain the public, which has overwhelmingly supported this approach,” he told Upworthy.
Brilliant. Imagine: Getting drug offenders treatment, and allowing them to be a part of society again once they get better, instead of just throwing them in jail.
There’s absolutely no reason this can’t work elsewhere; good on Gloucester for finally looking for altnerative solutions to the moronic War on Drugs so many are still fighting.
**Finally today, a beautiful story from Alan Schwarz in last Saturday’s New York Times really moved me. It’s about a man named Rudolph Norris, who after 22 years in prison on a drug offense, was granted clemency by President Obama in the spring.
Released in late July, the story talks about Norris’ transformation in prison, his incredible gratitude at being released, and most importantly, his overwhelming desire to give back to his community that he damaged with his drug dealing many decades ago.
I love this quote: “I’m trying to get gainfully employed in a hurry, so I can be able to provide and get my own place. I have the freedom to do what I want to do as long as I do it right.”
And this one: “I’ll take the lowest honest job out there — I just want to get started. “Society doesn’t owe me anything. I owe society for dealing drugs.”
There are SO many Rudolph Norris’ out there, wasting away in prison thanks to idiotic sentencing laws. I hope Obama uses his last 18 months in office to issue clemenc to thousands more. It would be about the best parting gift he could leave the country.