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The Power of Half – Redefining the American Dream

Happy Holidays!

The Power of Half - Redefining the American Dream

The Power of Half: One Family’s Decision to Stop Taking and Start Giving Back

by Kevin Salwen

Words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality."

"An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity."

Family Sells Their House and Gives Half the Proceeds to Charity

This story about the Salwen family's decision is nicely summarized in a New York Times article by Nicholas Kristoff - What Could You Live Without? and another one in USA Today by Wendy Koch - How much could you live without? The power of half.
We don't expect anyone else to copy what we did and sell their home. We had more than enough house, and it was something we could cut in half to help those in need. But most people can find some commodity in their lives they could give up, whether it's time (halving the hours of TV you watch each week and volunteering instead?) or stuff (donating half the clothes in your closet?). Like us, your family could set out to make a small difference in the world—and transform yourselves in the process.

The Power of Half

Through The Power of Half, the Salwen family set out to make a small difference in the world and ended up transforming themselves. They found that creating a "half" project was an amazing powerful tool to building deeper connections and trust. The Power Of Half is designed to help you learn more about giving and hopefully to better bond your family, community or any group through a unified sense of purpose.

Community Action as a Unifying Force

During the holiday season, CAAs experience a frenzy of interest and support from people wanting to reach out and help others in their community. Strategies such as The Power of Half are needed to extend this commitment to a higher level throughout the year to help with basic needs and also to get involved with addressing the underlying causes of poverty.

Here are some questions from The Power of Half Reader's Guide, which you can use to create a dialogue in your agency or community:
  • How did The Power of Half transform your understanding of fairness in the world? Before you learned about this or read the book, what did you believe about wealth and poverty?
  • What do you think can be done to address the root causes of economic disparity in America? Where do you see this disparity in your own life?
  • How would you respond to those who believe that redistributing economic resources is somehow un-American?

LET US KNOW what you think!

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