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Learning Center Experience
By Darlene A. Levy,
LISW CP, ACSW, MPA ; Human Services Adjunct Faculty at Kaplan University
cultural phenomenon takes place annually in the United States that is often
overlooked when discussing some of the commonalities of American culture, such
as baseball, apple pie, freedom, and the rights of the individual. In early
November the awareness of the poor and needy moves from the back of most
American minds to a central focus during what is commonly referred to as the
Season of Giving. The recognition of poverty among the midst of plenty calls
attention to the responsibility of the community to assist those who are
without or have fallen on hard times.
might ask where this all comes from—how is it that we are moved to give and
share during this time? What compels us to reach out to the poor in a country
with an underlying philosophy of “work hard and the rewards will follow”?
reflecting on this quandary, it comes to mind that religion and religious
philosophy foster this notice of others who are in need. The spirit of giving,
whether of time, money, or resources, becomes a focal point of activity during
the holiday season.
a brief look at some of the major religions practiced in the United States, we
see a common thread of recognition for those in need and how to morally and
effectively address the issues of poverty, isolation, loneliness, and
oppression. One way to effectively do so is through monetary giving. According
to a 2010 report by the Center of Philanthropy at Indiana University,
charitable giving in the United States in 2009 was $303.75 billion, down from
the previous year of $315.08 billion. Despite the downturn, these sums
continue to be substantial.
What do some religions say about charity?
could conclude that the strong impulse to give in the United States may be
based in part on strong pluralistic religious teachings that either command or
encourage the act of giving with an understanding that giving may occur in
these lean economic times, where the average person has had to scale back their
standard of living, where does that leave charitable giving? As noted earlier,
while the overall dollar amount of giving has dropped, there are other forms of
giving that we might consider during this time.
Giving without dollars:
we bemoan our lack of time and the numerous daily pressures of our busy
schedules, this is the holiday season. Challenge yourself to do something
different and make a difference.
Darlene Ann Levy
over 25 years of practice in human services, Darlene Ann Levy, LISW CP, ACSW,
MPA is thrilled to be a part of the Human Services Department at Kaplan
University. At Kaplan University she teaches HN 205: Applied Skills for Human Services. She obtained her Masters in Social Work at
Fordham University in New York and her Master of Public Administration at
Florida Atlantic University. Currently working on her PhD in Comparative
Studies Public Intellectuals at Florida Atlantic University, Ms. Levy enjoys
bringing a broad spectrum of knowledge to her work, whether in private
practice, the classroom, or in her volunteer work as a gGuardian ad lLitem for
Pickens County, South Carolina.
living in Florida for many years, last year Darlene and her family moved to
rural upstate South Carolina. A quieter lifestyle has allowed her
to pursue two new passions, vegetable gardening and heritage cooking.
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