I recently had lunch at an event at Fox Valley Technical College celebrating their Fab Lab, a collection of prototyping equipment coupled with an international network of fabricating expertise in collaboration with MIT. While I could ramble at length about the technical and entrepreneurial potential of this world-class Appleton facility, one of the really impressive moments came before the tour during lunch. A man at my table shared with me his experiences in helping a family in Bolivia gain access to education. For many years, they have been providing money through a Catholic agency (the Christian Foundation for Children and Aging) to provide education to those in emerging nations, and had become directly involved in helping one particular family. He shared with me the excitement in knowing that the oldest daughter, rather than being condemned to poverty, has advanced far enough to now be in college, with bright prospects. They even went down to Bolivia to meet the family in their poor circumstances, and were blessed and uplifted by the encounter.
Success in so much of the world is directly tied to one’s education. I was really delighted to learn of his family’s experience and their kindness, and told him that he had done one of the best things anybody could do for someone else.
For Latter-day Saints, the Church’s Perpetual Education Fund is a truly inspired way of helping young people in developing nations break the cycle of poverty through education. It’s a program we should probably support a little more.
Christmas time is approaching. Rather than scrambling to find the best electronic gadgets that we can give away to people who don’t need them (the stories I’ve heard of “Black Friday” shopping are so pathetic – hundreds of people camping out overnight in the cold just for chance to grab hot items on sale at 5 a.m.), what if we held back part of our intended Christmas budget to give the gift of education? Whether through the Perpetual Education Fund or some other reliable agency, I think it would be a nice improvement for our Christmas gift giving. I know some of you were thinking about getting me Accordion Hero for Xbox, but I’m willing to postpone that gratification if you’ll donate what you would have spent and then some to help one of our brothers or sisters have a chance to improve their education.