Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Making a difference in Utah

There are lots of good people.  Sometimes they seem to get plowed under by the bad ones but we get reminders every once in a while - good Samaritans sometimes unnoticed, rarely in the headlines.  Pamela Atkinson is one woman who advocates for children, the poor and the homeless in Utah.  A native of England, she grew up impoverished, but recognized education as her way out and overcame barriers and self-esteem issues to rise above to make a difference.  I am often exposed to members of my own faith who are generous humanitarians and good examples, but of course they are in all walks of life and Pam, a member of the First Presbyterian Church, works WITH the LDS church to help people.  She is a wonderful example of Christian service.  I'll put some links to articles below, realizing that newspaper articles don't last forever.  If you see this, check them out while they're there.
Last Friday I heard a few words by Pamela at the Global Health Conference at BYU.  In attendance were also leaders and experts from outside Utah (John Hopkins University) who seemed relieved that they could actually talk about Jesus Christ as an example in a public setting such as this.  These days it's uncommon - they don't dare!  I was moved by Pam's words, "Care about people; not just for them - there is a difference!"  She also admonished us to not let issues get in the way of relationships.  She is an excellent example of that.  She has served on both the state Board of Regents and the School Board and in many leadership positions in business and community - currently on the Deseret News Editorial Advisory Board. See introduction of members here.

Some of her comments on issues:
"I believe in teamwork, and I must be part of a dozen teams. I love how much I learn from other people. I try to keep my mind open all the time, and I love to be able to say, 'I never thought of it that way.' "
[She agreed to work on the anti-porn issue because] "I've known so many people whose lives were being ruined by what I call a scourge."
"To overcome divisiveness, I look for commonalities. I find many similarities between LDS values and my values. If one concentrates on commonalities, difficulties take care of themselves.""Sometimes, barriers in life are meant to be tackled and taken down."
Give $5 by text/phone to the Pamela Atkinson Homeless Trust Fund
Last Sunday, Blake Moore (a member of my ward and Stake Young Men Leader) said in his Sacrament Meeting talk, "I am a tool and I want to be a well-used tool."  He is.  So is Pamela.  I am impressed!   Of course that is not the goal of these or any of God's humble servants. Sometimes awesome really is the right word.

DesNews - Award for Pamela
DesNews - Pamela - kings and paupers
UT Historical Society - Unity in Utah

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