Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC, in VOA Special English.
I'm Doug Johnson. On our show this week:
We answer a question about popular American states…
Play some music recorded to help women in Darfur, Sudan…
And report about a little girl's efforts to find a cure for cancer.
Alex's Lemonade Stand
Six years ago, four-year-old Alexandra Scott started selling a lemon drink in front of her house near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She wanted to earn money to give to childhood cancer research. Alexandra suffered from a kind of cancer called neuroblastoma. She died in two thousand four. But the effort she started is still raising money for cancer research. Barbara Klein has more.
Alexandra Scott held a lemonade sale outside her house every year until her death. She also influenced others to give money to fight cancers that affect children.
The program that young Alexandra started is called Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. Its Web site says that more than four thousand lemonade stands have been held throughout the United States to raise money for cancer research. Children, families, retired people, and college students organize these events.
Alex wanted to raise one million dollars to help find a cure for children’s cancers. When she died in two thousand four, she knew that her goal was near. Her charity had raised more than nine hundred thousand dollars. Earlier this month, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation announced that it had given more than ten million dollars to help children with cancer.
The foundation supports cancer research in thirty hospitals throughout the United States. It provides money to develop improved cancer treatments for children. Money goes to experienced researchers working on cancer cures as well as new researchers with promising ideas.
Much of the money collected by Alex’s lemonade stands is in small amounts and comes from children. Alex’s mother and father lead the Foundation today. They told reporters one reason for its success is because children feel good when they can help other children. And they say that no amount is too small to help the more than twelve thousand children in the United States who are found to have cancer every year.
Popular American States
Our listener question this week comes from of Moscow, Russia. Kirill Lelin wants to know which American states are the most popular to live in. In general, the states that have warm weather are the fastest growing in population. Many people who retire from their jobs want to live in an area that has nice weather.
The United States Census Bureau takes an official count of the nation's population every ten years. But it also takes estimates of population growth within states each year.
The Census Bureau released its most recent estimates in December of last year. The estimates show that the western state of California still has the largest population. It has more than thirty-six million people. The western state of Texas has more than twenty-three million people. About nineteen million people live in the eastern state of New York. And about eighteen million people live in the southern state of Florida.
The Census Bureau's recent estimates show that the western part of the country has been growing the fastest. The South was next.
Texas gained more people than any other state between July of two thousand five and July of two thousand six. Texas gained almost five hundred eighty thousand people. Florida had the second highest increase. And California had the third. Both Florida and California gained more than three hundred thousand people.
Two states in the Southwest also gained in population. Arizona was the country's fastest-growing state, followed by Nevada. The populations of the two states grew by about three and one-half percent.
Some of the nation's population movement was caused by Hurricane Katrina. That storm in August, two thousand five, hit the Gulf Coast states of Louisiana and Mississippi. It caused many deaths and major destruction. Louisiana lost more than two hundred thousand people during the one-year period. That number represents a loss of almost five percent of the state's total population before the hurricane.
Music To Help Women in Sudan
In recent years there have been many aid efforts to help the people of the Darfur area of Sudan. Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts offers its help through a new album. Faith Lapidus tells us more.
During the nineteen eighties, humanitarian worker Linda Mason operated an aid program in Sudan. Last year, she returned to Sudan with a group called Mercy Corps to investigate war crimes in Darfur. They spoke to women who were victims of war. And they gave the Sudanese women music written by students at the Berklee College of Music. Miz Mason's husband, Roger Brown, is president of the college.
Berklee College of Music wanted to do more to help. The college held a songwriting competition. The winners of the competition recorded songs for an album called “We Are All Connected: Berklee College of Music Reaches Out to the Women of Darfur.”
It is a collection of jazz, country, gospel and spoken word. Money from the sale of the CD will help women and children in Darfur. Here Abria Smith performs her song “Love Myself Instead.”
During Linda Mason’s trip to Sudan, she recorded Darfurian women singing their traditional songs. Michael Conrad heard their emotional singing and used some of it in his song. The words in “Side by Side” mean “Sing with me, stand with me, so that we can create world peace.”
We leave you with another song from “We Are All Connected: Berklee College of Music Reaches Out to the Women of Darfur.” Here is “Women of Darfur,” written by Dave Weigert.
I'm Doug Johnson. I hope you enjoyed our program today.
It was written by Brianna Blake, Lawan Davis and Nancy Steinbach. Caty Weaver was our producer. To read the text of this program and download audio, go to our Web site, voaspecialenglish.com.
And join us again next week for AMERICAN MOSAIC, VOA’s radio magazine in Special English.