Day 235- Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D, New Hampshire)

For the next 36 days (from March 28 to May 2),  I will be contacting and writing about 36 extraordinary members of the House of Representatives. They are all extraordinary in that they form the bipartisan Congressional Spina Bifida Caucus, and so they strive to address the unique needs of the spina bifida community in the U.S. My “mission” is to write to them, and urge them to make quality of life, and not solely prevention, a priority on their agenda in Congress. It has come to my attention that education about spina bifida is critical during all the stages of development– from planning to prevent spina bifida through the consumption of folic acid, to comprehensive education about spina bifida once it is diagnosed. We need to educate, starting with the physicians and other healthcare providers, so that they will be made aware of the potential that each child with spina bifida possesses.

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A former social worker, Shea-Porter has made the most urgent problems facing communities her priority.

Once again, this is one of those cases in which I wish I had more information to share with all of you. While the Project Vote Smart Web site lists some committees that Rep. Carol Shea Porter of New Hampshire is a member of, I again failed to find out whether or not she remains an active member of the Congressional Spina Bifida Caucus. I seriously cannot believe that (1) spina bifida gets so little attention in the public eye and in the media that even a group of Congresspeople which is charged with the task of educating people about spina bifida manages to stay under the radar, and (2) Congress members are allowed to maintain an appallingly high number of memberships on different caucuses. Where are the priorities?

I’ll leave that question open-ended. Instead of answering it, let me tell you what I learned about Rep. Shea-Porter. She’s a member of the House Armed Services Committee. The Congresswoman graduated with a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of New Hampshire, and she was employed as a social worker before running for office.

Rep. Shea-Porter volunteered as a relief worker in New Orleans following the devastating Hurricane Katrina, and has directed senior centers there and in Maryland as a social worker.

She is also a member of the Subcommittee on Healthy Families and Communities, and was a community college instructor.

I want to welcome all the new “fans” on the “Holdin’ Out for a Hero” fan page! You really make my day when you decide to “like” my page. Thanks to all of you for standing in solidarity for awareness of spina bifida.

Please keep sharing the page! And, since, inevitably, it’s past 1 a.m., Happy Earth Day to you! Please do something to give back to our planet– either plant a tree, recycle, turn off your lights, and be sure to patronize businesses that sell used products or that sell products made from recycled materials.

Many thrift stores, such as Goodwill, or the Salvation Army stores, direct their funds toward community programs, such as Boys & Girls Clubs of America, and other charitable causes. Goodwill provides job opportunities to people with physical or developmental challenges. And, they do this by employing them at businesses like the thrift stores, that sell gently used items (hence, “recycling”) to continue to fund their programs. (Heck, where do you think my vintage yellow beret came from?) It’s a cycle of giving!

Most of all, on this Earth Day, remember that “Holdin’ Out for a Hero” exists to provide hope. We are nothing without hope, and I see it as my responsibility as a citizen of the world to share my own personal story so that others may learn from and benefit from it. So, really, what we are doing is striving to connect to others around the world who can identify with this cause.

It is this hope that will lead each of us to expand our connections, and make “Holdin’ Out ” a global initiative that all can participate in. In that respect, we will leave our mark on the world.

Just not our carbon footprint.

God Bless the Earth,

Laurita ♥

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