Preventing Child Marriage act killed in the House

Save ChildhhodNon-governmental organizations, women’s rights advocates, and lawmakers from both parties spent years developing and lobbying for the “International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act of 2010,” which the House failed to pass in a vote Thursday. The bill failed even though 241 Congressmen voted for it and only 166 voted against, because House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) brought it up under “suspension of the rules.” This procedure has the advantage of not allowing any amendments or changes to the bill, but carries the disadvantage of requiring two-thirds of the votes for passage.

Even still, supporters in both parties fully expected the bill to garner the 290 votes needed right up until the bill failed. After all, it passed the Senate unanimously Dec. 1 with the co-sponsorship of several Republicans, including Appropriations Committee ranking Republican Thad Cochran (R-MS), Foreign Relations Committee member Roger Wicker (R-MS), and human rights advocate Sam Brownback (R-KS).

If passed, the bill would have authorized the president to provide assistance “to prevent the incidence of child marriage in developing countries through the promotion of educational, health, economic, social, and legal empowerment of girls and women.” It would have also mandated that the administration develop a multi-year strategy on the issue and that the State Department include the incidence of forced child marriage during its annual evaluation of countries’ human rights practices.

Incoming House Foreign Affairs chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) first argued that the bill was simply unaffordable. She objected to the cost of the bill, which would be $108 million over five years, and criticized it for not providing an accounting of how much the U.S. was already spending on this effort. The actual CBO estimate said the bill would authorize $108 million, but would only require $67 million in outlays from fiscal years 2011 to 2015.

Regardless, the supporters still thought the bill would pass because House Republican leadership had not come out against it. But about one hour before the vote, every Republican House office received a message on the bill from GOP leadership, saying that leadership would vote “no” on the bill and encouraging all Republicans do the same. The last line on the alert particularly shocked the bill’s supporters: “There are also concerns that funding will be directed to NGOs that promote and perform abortion and efforts to combat child marriage could be usurped as a way to overturn pro-life laws,” the alert read. The bill doesn’t contain any funding for abortion activities and federal funding for abortion activities is already prohibited by what’s known as the “Helms Amendment,” which has been boiler plate language in appropriations bills since 1973.

The main author of the bill was Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), who was incensed when the bill failed in the House. “The action on the House floor stopping the Child Marriage bill tonight will endanger the lives of millions of women and girls around the world,” Durbin said in a Thursday statement. “These young girls, enslaved in marriage, will be brutalized and many will die when their young bodies are torn apart while giving birth. Those who voted to continue this barbaric practice brought shame to Capitol Hill.”

United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) estimates that 60 million girls in developing countries now between the ages of 20 and 24 were married before they reached 18. The Population Council, a group focused on reproductive and child health, estimates that the number will increase by 100 million over the next decade if current trends continue.

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Shine Global Holiday Auction- NOW!

Shine Global’s Holiday Auction is happening now at  Make your gifts extra special this year by not only giving an amazing and unique experience but also helping out Shine Global.
Due to the generosity of some of our dear friends we have:                                                                 Holiday Auction

1. 2 VIP tickets to the Colbert Report

2. An Argentine Wine Country Experience

3. 2 Tickets to the BET Honors awards

4. A styling session with the stylist of Sex and the City 2 and Gossip Girl!

…and more!!!

War Dance Returns now available streaming at!

dsc_0082-2We are very please to announce that WAR DANCE RETURNS, the 2008 follow up to the Award-Winning WAR DANCE, is now available to watch online for free! Please visit to watch this and other shorts from Shine Global.

In the summer of 2008, director Sean Fine, executive producer Susan MacLaury, and the original “War Dance” film crew traveled back to Uganda for the first time since “War Dance” was filmed. Finally, the people of Uganda, were able to watch “War Dance,” the film dedicated to sharing their story with the world. Approximately 7-10 thousand of people came to see the film in the Patongo camp making a lasting impression on the entire crew as well as Rose, Nancy, and Dominic.

Rose, Nancy, and Dominic have blossomed into strong and determined young adults who have become leaders in their community. They are admired for their strength and courage, and their hope shines brighter than ever.

“War Dance Returns” aired on the Sundance Channel in May 2009 and has been screened at:

The Maui Film Festival 2009
The Indianapolis International Film Festival 2009
The Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival 2009
DocuFest Atlanta 2009
Hollywood Film Festival 2009

Eva’s Heroes

Eva's HeroesBy Michael Quintanilla – Express-News
Tuesday, September 28, 2010

“Desperate Housewives” actress Eva Longoria has won Screen Actors Guild, ALMA and People’s Choice awards, but the recognition she finds most humbling these days is for her activism and philanthropy.

On Oct. 6, she’ll be honored in Memphis, Tenn., with the prestigious Legacy Freedom Award presented by the National Civil Rights Museum for her philanthropy and humanitarian efforts. She’s one of three women who will be honored at the Memphis Cook Convention Center event.

But before Parker joins fellow honorees in Memphis – Nobel Peace Prize recipient Dr. Wangari Maathai of Kenya and Dr. Dorothy Cotton, who is known for her work in social change – the actress will put on her poker face for an Eva’s Heroes benefit: the third annual Tony and Eva Parker’s Celebrity Casino Night, Saturday at Pedrotti’s North Wind Ranch in Helotes.

Inspired by her sister, Lisa, Parker founded Eva’s Heroes, an organization that helps developmentally disabled children and young adults, four years ago. Parker also is a leader with Padres Contra El Cancer (Parents Against Cancer) and an advocate for migrant farm children, the subject for a documentary she’s working on called Harvest. And there’s her namesake’s foundation that raises money for personal charities and causes around the world, such as her campaign to house Haiti earthquake victims.

The celebrity-filled casino night will be attended by several Spurs players, local personalities and Parker’s Hollywood chums Roselyn Sanchez, Terry Crews, Robin Antin and Leeann Tweeden. Phil Hellmuth, 11-time world champion poker player, will be back as the Texas Hold ‘Em tournament emcee. For more on the event, go to or call 210-694-9090.

We caught up with Parker between scenes of a movie being shot in Los Angeles; just the day before she was filming in Mexico.

Q: I heard you were filming in Mexico. How did that go?

A: Crazy, busy. But, yes, I’ve actually filmed two movies this summer. One is called Without Men that was shot here in L.A. and in Santa Barbara. It’s an independent film based on an amazing novel, Tales from the Town of Widows. All the men go off to war and die, so the women have to figure out how to make a new society. In the other movie, Cristiada, I play Andy Garcia’s wife. We shot part of it in Durango. It’s a period piece in the 1920s in Mexico, when the government overthrew the Catholic Church. I love historical fiction and never imagined that I would do a period piece. And I always dreamed of working with Andy Garcia.

Q: How has the economy played into your fundraising for Eva’s Heroes? Do you find that people are still just as giving?

A: It’s interesting that you say that because we have found in hard economic times the people that suffer the most are charity groups because nobody has that extra income to spend on philanthropy. We have been really lucky that we have held steady throughout the economy’s dip. But it doesn’t mean that we’re not nervous that we’ll never reach our fundraising goal. It’s a daunting task to fundraise in any economic climate. But we have managed to have some really loyal supporters who are loyal to the cause, loyal to the message and are loyal to the kids.

Q: How can one who isn’t famous or rich help? You don’t have to be a celebrity.

A: I say that all the time. Most philanthropists are all around us. You can give of your time. You can donate clothes to the Salvation Army. You can spend time at a soup kitchen. There are so many things you can do to make a difference in people’s lives, especially if you are blessed as I am. And I am not talking about money or fame. I am talking about how I am blessed with my health. I am blessed with amazing parents. I am blessed with an amazing family. I am blessed with a great husband. So I count my blessings in that way. I have so much love and energy and spirit to give to others. I think that can be found in everyone.

Q: Where were you when you received word about the Legacy Freedom Award?

A: I think I was working in L.A. and going, “Huh?” I feel like I am still so young in my activism life. I’m not saying I am a young person, but I am so young in seeing what I want to be able to accomplish in civil rights for Latinos, civil rights for women, civil rights for children’s health care.

Q: Where does your drive come from?

A: My philanthropic drive definitely comes from my mother. My Latino pride – my Mexican-American pride – comes from my father, who always taught me to never forget where you came from, and I never do. There are a lot of privileges that I have and so many people fought before me so that I could have it. So I want to continue their fight to make a better life for those who want it and earn it and need it.

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Molina Foundation: Health and Literacy for Those in Need

Molina Foundation kidThe Molina Foundation is a 501(c)(3) foundation with the mission to reduce disparities in access to education and healthcare by underserved populations. They seek to enhance learning and educational performance through the promotion of family literacy, math competency, and teacher effectiveness by providing replicable and sustainable models that enhance access to education and reinforcement of activities shown to improve student achievement is one of the overarching goals of The Molina Foundation.

Dr. Martha Bernadett, the founder of the Molina Foundation, is the eldest daughter of the late Dr. C. David Molina, the founder of Molina Healthcare, Inc. Both Dr. David Molina and his wife Mary were elementary school teachers prior to Dr. David Molina’s return to medical school. Thus, Dr. Bernadett, or “Dr. Martha” as she is known, and her siblings were raised with a deep value for education.

As a Family Physician, Dr. Martha understood the importance of literacy and education in overcoming health disparities. In addition, as the Principal Investigator of a demonstration project funded by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Hablamos Juntos (We Speak Together) Program, she understood the barriers to health access faced by those with limited English proficiency.

In 2003, Dr. Martha started a program to provide books to children without access to books in an effort to improve literacy of children to help them overcome barriers to healthcare access and impact their long-term overall health status. This program was called Book Buddies. Through support and partnership of similar 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations, Book Buddies grew and grew, establishing itself as a cornerstone of literacy efforts throughout California.

To address these important issues in an ongoing and sustainable manner, Dr. Martha Bernadett formed The Molina Foundation in August, 2004.

The Molina Foundation’s 4 programs are:

Molina Foundation Programs

I. Book Buddies

Book Buddies™ Literacy Program: This program has distributed about 1,000,000 new or gently used books since 2003 and was the one of the reasons driving the formation of The Molina Foundation. Through this program, they have identified and distributed hundreds of thousands of books through schools, libraries, community based organizations, hospitals and health care facilities. These books are distributed where cohorts of children and adults have been identified at high risk for low literacy, primarily due to poverty or prevalence of English as a second language.

II. Step Up to Math

The Step-Up-to-Math program targets 6th graders who are at the Basic level on the California Standards Tests (CST) in math and may include English Language Learners. The program has three objectives:

1. To motivate and encourage students to increase math skills
2. To attain proficiency in math for the rigors of 6th grade pre-algebra
3. To encourage parents to give positive messages while tracking their student’s school work.

Step-Up-to-Math is a model that can be applied wherever qualified and interested high school students and middle school students are already gathered in a supervised setting.

II. Experience Counts

Experience Counts is part of the Molina Foundation. The goal of Experience Counts is to support current school educators and administrators by sharing the expertise of experienced retired administrators and educators.

Experience Counts helps through:

* Support advice online.
* Support by phone.
* In person mentoring.
* Free seminars.

IV. Everybody Writes

Everybody Writes a program of The Molina Foundation that produces writing conferences to encourage children to write.

Everybody Writes is a program designed to inspire children to write outside the classroom by offering exciting and engaging activities through which the children do not realize they are learning while writing.

The conferences and program is conducted by authors, literacy specialists and engaging teachers.

To find out more about the Molina Foundation Please visit their website:
Molina Foundation