Ambassadors of HOPE

n884570720_5878876_3727Idea: Enroll celebrities of all different sorts and backgrounds, to go into communities most at risk, and those with which they are most compatible, to spend time just raising spirits and lending a hand in these troubled economic times.

Detail: Surviving this Great Recession will not just be about pumping money into distressed communities. Not everyone will be able to be given a job. Heck, in some cases, folks have three jobs already!

Getting through these troubled times will be just as much about reviving peoples’ spirits and empowering all to maintain their dignity.

Celebrities can do more than just open their wallets. They can take time out of their lives to go into communities on the front line of social disadvantage. Spend a day. Chat to kids. Entertain. Show off a race car. DJ a disco. Just let these friends and neighbors of ours know that we are all standing shoulder to shoulder with them.

Maybe the celebs could follow up by adopting the community? Staying in touch? Re-visiting? Helping to found a central community effort, that goes beyond job creation? Such as helping to finance and build a new community center?

The beauty of this idea is that it costs the public purse nothing. The celebs pay for the visit themselves. They have deep enough pockets. That makes it more personal and more meaningful for the community at the receiving end.

It also allows these celebrities, who are by no means incapable of exploiting the media, then to focus attention on the communities themselves, their plight – and most of all, how the folks there are weathering the storm.

You pick the celebrity for the location. Maybe a NASCAR driver for the hard-hit textile mill town in the Appalachians. Maybe Denzel or Halle, to associate with the hardest hit parts of New Orleans.

There should be no question of political reluctance. The election is over. We’re all Obama Corps members now!

Conclusion: This is what a lot of celebrities from this country do already in Africa, and in other locations around the world.

I applaud each and every one of those celebrities. All I say is, guys, it’s time to bring it home now. Your own folks need you.

This is matching reality with opportunity. The one thing celebrities have in abundance is their charisma and the ability to attract attention. And this is precisely what they will bring to those communities at risk – a revival of the American Spirit using the timeless hope of celebrity.

Most of us hold in awe those celebrities who are the living epitome of the American Dream. Many being the embodiment of the rags-to-riches story.

This is what we all need at a time like this: a reminder that, however, bad things look, there are folks, no different to us, who have proven you can pull through to the promising new future on the other side.

All it takes is celebrities who will allow a little of their magic to rub off on us, all the while opening our hearts and theirs.

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Published in: on February 21, 2009 at 11:57 am  Leave a Comment