This morning I read about a life not so comfortable … a land where the per capita income is $4000 per year, where life expectancy for men is 48 and for women 52, where infant mortality is 300% higher than the US average, where unemployment is 85%, where only 30% of students graduate from high school and the teen suicide rate is 150 times greater than the US average.
And which third-world country is this?
The heart-breaking fact is that it's a neglected corner of our own country and probably not the only place where poverty, disease and hopelessness run rampant in this golden land of opportunity. In this time when we are spending six BILLION dollars trying to decide who will lead arguably the world's most powerful country, we seem powerless to help our least fortunate.
Every year, energy, ideas and venture capital flow like a river toward new products and services, new video games, new technologies … and what a beautiful, productive river it is as it irrigates the fields of commerce that provide us with the stuff we need (and want), jobs and ever new opportunities.
The question is … how might we use this powerful cycle of commerce to bring new life, new energy, new hope to the places within our own borders that have become life destroying deserts of poverty?
I know that we are a generous, caring people. If there were a hungry child sitting on our front porch, almost any of us would take that child in and comfort and feed it. The problem is that we don't actually see the hungry children, and when we hear about them, in spite of our best intentions, we don't know what to do. The problems seem too overwhelming to be solved.
Maybe this is where creativity comes in, and maybe the question should be: "What am I willing to do?"