FOR THE WEEK OF OCT. 26, 2009
TV shows set an example of volunteer service in new crusade
Look for coverage of volunteers, a nonprofit group or a money-raising event in your area.
See if you also can find a story or photo about a good deed or community improvement that shows how neighbors or local resources make a difference.
Discuss or list ways the newspaper can support community service campaigns. Give any examples you recall of campaigns the paper leads or joins, such as during the upcoming holiday season.
You may notice an echo about volunteer community service as you click the TV remote control these days. The value of giving back is being promoted through story lines or actors' public service announcements on more than 100 programs across cable and traditional networks. The unparalleled iParticipate campaign, which started last week and continues through October, was organized by a major Hollywood charity called the Entertainment Industry Foundation .
On "Hannah Montana," Miley Stewart (Miley Cyrus) tries to win her school's charitable fund-raising campaign. Contestants on "Biggest Loser" volunteer at a Los Angeles food bank. Doctors on "Private Practice" give homeless teens free checkups. On "30 Rock," page Kenneth Parcell tried to adopt all the dogs at an animal shelter. And in a 30-second ad, Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman compares volunteers to superheroes. "Everyone needs a hero. Who will you look out for?" he asks.
The project matches President Obama's call for national service, a fact that led critics to say iParticipate was an abuse of the public airwaves and an effort to prop up liberal causes. In response, backers note that an online list of volunteer opportunities at inparticipate.org includes anti-abortion organizations, veterans organizations and the conservative group Tea Party Nation. "All of our political leaders have made national service a priority," says foundation chief executive Lisa Paulsen. "This is a nonpartisan initiative." Her group now is asking film and music executives to incorporating iParticipate into their work.
Organizer says: ""We thought we'd have 20 or 30 programs involved. It's just caught on like wildfire." -- Lisa Paulsen, chief executive of the Entertainment Industry Foundation
Columnist says: "You were not able to change the TV channel all week without getting lectured about the need to get off the couch and Do Something -- after your favorite shows are over, of course. Creeped out? You should be." -- Michelle Malkin, The Washington (D.C.) Times
Editorial says: "In further proof that no good deed goes unpunished, right-wing critics are coming unglued over this. They have bashed the initiative because of an internal memo that shows the foundation planned the initiative to respond to President Barack Obama's call for renewed civic engagement.. . . . The anti-Obama zealots ignore the good of this campaign." -- Las Vegas Sun
Front Page Talking Points Archive