Posted 12/12/2010 - 09:43:40pm by David Bank
New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof has gotten the message from his readers: changing the world is not just for young people.
“Seniors, dig out your anti-malaria mosquito netting now,” Kristof wrote in his Sunday column, in which he announced that for his fifth annual “Win-a-Trip Contest” he’ll for the first time take someone over 60 along with a college student.
They’re not exactly tourist destinations, but if you’ve got a hankering to go overland to Timbuktu, cross Sudan or Malawi, or get deep into the heart of Pakistan, India and Nepal, you couldn’t find a better traveling companion than Kristof, perhaps the nation’s leading advocate for citizen engagement in global challenges and a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner.
To join Nick Kristof in exploring education, health and nutrition, blog for NYTimes.com and record video diaries, apply at nytimes.com/ontheground.
“One point of these trips is that there are solutions,” Kristof wrote. “Helping people is hard, and plenty of interventions fail. But we’re getting smarter at figuring out what makes a difference.”
Kristof acknowledged that his readers helped educate him about the difference that older people can make. Betty Michelozzi, for example, wrote him that she got her first passport at age 63 to go to Guatemala with Habitat for Humanity and spent the next 15 years leading other such teams.
“It used to be that it was mostly young people who wanted to change the world,” Kristof wrote. “But increasingly older generations are joining in and doing extraordinary work.”
Kristof went on to single out the winners of Civic Ventures’ annual Purpose Prize as “extraordinarily inspiring,” touted encore careers and called Encore.org “an excellent resource.”
Kristof deserves thanks for recognizing -- and encouraging -- the efforts of older adults as well as young people. But don’t just thank him -- join him, in shining a light on solutions in some of the world’s toughest places. Apply at nytimes.com/ontheground.
If you have an idea for improving life in your own community, submit it to LaunchPad. You could win $5,000 to help you get started. Details at http://launchpad.encore.org/