Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC in VOA Special English.
I'm Doug Johnson.
we play music from a CD that brings together more than one hundred musicians
from around the world.
But first, we report about some special young people who
have taken on some big causes.
Kids With Causes
While many American children are climbing trees and
playing at the pool this summer, a few others are helping people in need. Mario Ritter has our report about kids with
Asperger's syndrome is a kind of autism, a brain
disorder found in children. People with
Asperger's have limited communication skills. They may have trouble relating to others on an emotional level.
Amanda LaMunyon lives in Oklahoma. She is fourteen
years old. She was identified with
Asperger's syndrome at the age of eight. She had been having trouble at
school. Her teachers said the little
girl knew all the rules but could not seem to follow them.
Amanda says, art changed her life. When
she started painting she discovered she could express herself with color and
canvas. Her art teacher discovered that Amanda had great skill.
decided to use her art to help children with learning problems. She wants children to know that "their
challenges may also become a gift."
Amanda created a Web site to sell her
art. She donates the earnings to
organizations that help sick children. She also speaks at events to increase information about Asperger's and other
autism disorders. Amanda says she does not want children to ever give up
because they do not know what they can do until they try.
Bonner knows just how far trying can get you. Earlier this month the eleven
year old completed his biggest charity project to date. He walked almost two thousand kilometers from
his home in Florida to Washington, D.C., to raise money for homeless children
He called his project "From My House to the White
House." He carried a message to
President Obama and lawmakers. He asked
for help for the more than one million homeless children in the United
States. The walk raised tens of
thousands of dollars for Zach's cause.
His mother says Zach has always enjoyed community
service work. She says it began when
Hurricane Charley hit Florida in two thousand four. Zach decided to help
victims by walking around his area with his little red wagon collecting and
giving out bottles of water. He got the
nickname "Little Red Wagon Boy."
"Little Red Wagon" is the name of Zach's foundation. It has raised money for
playgrounds and shelters for homeless children. Zach also gives out thousands of backpacks. He fills each "Zachpac" with
a toy, personal cleaning supplies, socks, sewing supplies, a first aid kit and
Zach has won many awards, met several presidents and
been on television. But that is not why
he wants to help people. Zach Bonner
says if you have a good heart you have to use it. And, he says, charity work is a lot of fun.
year old Christina Johnson and her older sister Geneva started their project,
"Bring It On," in the Bronx area of New York City in two thousand four. They wanted to improve the place where they
lived. The area was so dangerous their
parents would not let them play outside.
girls started a program to empower children in their community. "Bring It On"
organizes environmental "jams" to clean up waste in the area. The group also holds classes and talks on
health, leadership, how to set up small businesses and other issues. "Bring It
On" receives money and other support from local businesses and other sponsors.
young people are not alone in their efforts. The Corporation for National and
Community Service released a report this week. It said young people are leading
the way in volunteering in the United States. The study said community service by young adults increased by four
hundred thousand volunteers last year, more than any other age group.
Playing for Change
Who knew a single idea could result in a musical world
union. Mark Johnson's idea, "Playing for
Change," is now a CD, a DVD, a documentary film, a nonprofit organization and
a company. Faith Lapidus has more.
Mark Johnson is a Grammy Award-winning
musical producer and engineer. Over the
past four years he traveled around the world with recording equipment and video
cameras in an effort to unite people through music. He used modern editing
technology to combine voices and instruments into a global music experience.
His idea started when he heard two
religious workers playing music for free in New York City's underground
transportation system. He was surprised
by the large number of busy people in the subway who stopped to listen.
Johnson decided to record musicians around the world to unite people with
different instruments and cultures. He
believes music has the power to break boundaries.
Here is part of the American song "Stand by Me." It includes over thirty-five musicians from
countries including the United States, South Africa, Brazil and Russia. The video of "Stand by Me" has received more
than eleven million views on YouTube.
CD "Playing for Change" has ten songs performed by a total of more than one
hundred musicians from five continents. Mark Johnson made the songs by
recording one part of the song at a time. Then he added more musicians and
instruments from other countries.
Bob Marley's song
"War/No More Trouble" includes musicians who have lived during wars and
conflicts. The musicians are from
Israel, India, Zimbabwe and other countries. The famous Irish singer Bono from
the group U2 also performs on this song.
Many of the songs on
"Playing for Change" are versions of famous older songs. But this song, "Don't
Worry," was written for the album by Pierre Minetti of Spain. It includes over
twenty musicians from four continents who are connected through the message in
for Change is not just about sharing music with the world. Mark Johnson wanted
to help the musicians and their communities. So he created a non-profit group, the Playing for Change Foundation two
years ago. Last year, he established
Timeless Media, a for-profit company that pays for and extends the work of
Playing for Change.
Mark Johnson writes on the CD: "As a human
race we come together for birth, we come together for death. What brings us together in between is up to
us. Stop and listen to the universal language of music and bring that positive
energy with you everywhere you go."
We leave you now with Bob Marley's "One Love" from
"Playing for Change."
Doug Johnson. I hope you enjoyed our program. It
was written by Kim Varzi and Caty Weaver, who was also the producer. Join us again next week
for AMERICAN MOSAIC, VOA's radio magazine in Special English.