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May 30, 1997     The Message
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May 30, 1997

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4 The Message m for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana Taking the time to make a difference -- Almost every family must have some embarrassing stories. I have heard quite a few from other families. Some stories are so common, you recognize them by the titles: The par- ent who forgot to pick up one of the children. The child who did something awkward on stage. One of the embarrassing stories I remember, one that had me in the center of it, started with a radio com- mercial for a toy -- a toy train. Just to hear the description of it was enough to send a young boy into a fit of unrea- sonable hopes and desires. I heard the toy train commercial over and over, and with each repetition I would launch into repeated requests to my parents. My memory is a little hazy about some of the details, but I think that commercial was responsible for my learn- ing how to spell the word, train. Each and every time the train was advertised, the radio listener was encouraged to write immediately to train, T-R-A-I-N. I don't remember how old I was at the time. If I had reached the age of reason, I lost any ability I had to reason -- or be reasonable -- when I heard that commercial. My parents finally wore down; and against their better judgment, they sent in the money for the won- derful toy. When it arrived in the mail, I was puzzled: How and call before midnight could such a tremendous toy train fit into such a small envelope? How could something with wheels and axles be so thin, so flat? Easy enough. It was made of cardboard. It had no wheels -- except the ones printed on it. And it made no sound. Didn't I remember the blast of a steam whistle on the commercial? Or did I only imagine it? It was By PAUL nothing like what I had imagined. It It. LEINGANG was small and fiat and very quiet -- EDITOR and I felt the same. Recently, I had the good fortune to watch a televised panel discussion about media lit- eracy, presented by the National Council of Churches. It was entitled, "Family, Community and Media Val- ues," and it dealt with the media influences today -- which are much stronger than they were when I first bought into the notion that I had to have something. The media experts say that a person today is bombarded with 16,000 impressions a day -- from radio, television, billboards, magazines, newspapers, music sources and other conveyors of commercial messages. The panel discussion I witnessed was only one part of the media literacy campaign for the year. Other efforts include policy statements on violence, the churches' role in media education, and global jus- tice. The National Council of Churches introductory materials on media literacy resources for congregations and much more. , * $ Remember the first time you discovered ference between what you expected from tisement and what you received in children in your home, tell them for theirs. Make a list of the sources sions you notice on a given day. family or friends the impact messages. Take the time to learn more child to learn responsible use of media. Examine your family television and listening to music. Find out what materials are National Council of Churches, for school. Contact Mary Byrne Hoffman, nications Commission, 475 Riverside Drive, ! New York, NY 10115. Phone (212) Take the time to make a difference. Comments about this colu or the Christian Family P.O. Box 272, Ames, Iowa 50010. Washington L4 Charities and businesses re-evaluate their role in By PATRICIA ZAPOR Catholic News Service WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Without planning it that way, the business and charitable sectors met simultaneously in Washington May 20 to demon- strate their respective respons- es to the nation's new approach to welfare. At one event, business execu- tives announced plans to hire, train and provide mentors for people coming offwelfare. At the other, social workers shared The MESSAGE 4200 N. Kentucky Ave. Evansville, IN 47711 Weekly newspaper of the Diocese of Evansville ,q 4 strategies for helping people get training, apply for and hold jobs to replace the welfare on which they have been dependent. The hosts of the two events were even old friends from law school, whose careers over the last five years have sometimes been tied together over issues such as welfare. At an event in the East Room of the White House, President Clinton welcomed representa- tives of 105 companies who launched the Welfare to Work Partnership. Participants included gover- nors and owners and executives of companies as small as a 30- person San Francisco mailing business and as large as the 190,000-employee Marriott Corp., who were announcing their plans to hire and train welfare recipi- ents and to work at persuading other companies to join them. Meanwhile, welfare changes also were on the agenda five blocks away in a studio at George Washington University. Clinton's friend from their Yale Law School days, Jesuit Father Fred Kammer, hosted a multicity teleconference about how the church's social service agencies are adapting their focus hand that of their clients -- to the changing world of welfare. Father Kammer became presi- dent of Catholic Charities USA, based just outside Washington in Alexandria, Va., at about the same time Clinton was elected president in 1992. For the teleconi'erence, admin- istrators of Catholic Charities affiliates around the country were linked by satellite to com- pare notes about trying to help welfare recipients change their way of life. In a combination of pretaped interviews and phoned-in ques- tions to Father Kammer and his deputy for social policy, Sharon Daly, the videoconference par- ticipants discussed everything from how to lobby effectively as legislatures adapt state welfare programs under the new federal law, to teaching clients job-inter- view and resume-writing skills. The two events symbolized the re-ordered thinking about wel- fare that was envisioned by many of the people involved in the two-year process to create the bill that became law last August. At the White House as well as at the university meet- ing room, participants said the new rules of welfare are causing even those who've never needed public assistance to go about their work in different ways. At the White House, the pres- ident was joined by Vice Presi- dent Al Gore; two Cabinet mem- bers; the governors of Delaware and Wisconsin; several members of Congress; executives from companies including Burger King, United Air Lines and Unit- ed Parcel Service; and a handful of former welfare recipients who have been hired by members of the Welfare to Work Partner- ship. "Some of you are Republi- cans, some of you are Democ- rats, and some of you probably wish you had never met a politi- cian," Clinton said. "But you all recognize that this is not a par- tisan issue, that it is a moral obligation for our country. It is America's business, and, there- fore, it must be the work of American business." Goes. Tommy Thompson, R- Wis., and Tom Carper, D-Del., described programs in their states to move people off welfare. Carper said Delaware helps businesses provide medical insurance and child care to peo- ple who are re-entering the work force, as well as assistance in setting up escrow accounts so those families can eventually buy a home. "The key to making welfare reform work is to make sure peo. pie are as good as or better off than they are on welfare," Carp- er said. The number of people on welfare in Delaware has dropped by 20 percent since those forms of assistance were paired with a two-year time limit and other restrictions on welfare recipi- ents, he said: A few blocks to the west, callers were asking Father Kammer and Daly for advice about making sure their own state legislatures remember to treat the poor as human beings when they change welfare rules. Daly said one productive expe- rience of lobbying on the welfare legislation has bedn "teaming up with our usual opponents." She explained that on" some issues, such as the "family cap," which limits the amount of wel- fare a household can receive at the birth of an additional child, "pro-choice groups agreed with us" that such regulations are bad policy. Daly encouraged the local Catholic Charities affiliates to look for such unusual alliances with organizations with which church- based groups might typ- ically have little in common. U When repreS groups on both tion issue walk office together ment on a the effect is often Taped in ties affiliate in: There, help as basic  strations thing many never If such agencies Welfare to succeeds companies it the two ment each other scheduling. :: :; The key, ton, "i end the culture! means yotZ who don't it, who have resume zs, show up Council of Priests meeting, Center, Friday, May 30, 1:30 p.m. Graduation, Rivet High School, 30, 7 p.m., St. John Church Confirmation, Sacred Heart C day, June 1, 9:30 a.m. Groundbreaking, Washington Washington, Wednesday, June 4, 1 p.m. 10th anniversary, Damien Center, Wednesday, June 4, 6:30 p.m. Mass and dedication of parish Church, Dale, Saturday, June 7, 5:30 Mass and Deacons' breakfast, Huntingburg, Sunday, June 8, 9:30 a.m. Published weekly except last week in December by the Caffm#c Press of Evansville .............  Gald A, Get' Ec#tx ...................................... Paul R. I.r Ptoa,rn Tecbr ............... Joss@ Address all communications to P.O. Box 416g, Evansville, IN 47724-0169 Subscription rate: $17.50 per year Single Copy Price: $.50 Etml m Imodk   It ixt offce in Etn$h, IN 47I. Pulcon rlucrlber 843800, Pogroms: Ium PO0 lotms 3579  Olrce ot Cq'ight 1996 CaZt'z Preu of Ev'ansvi