Posted by: Tony – Nov 10, 2011
In the wake of the Penn State scandal, it seems fitting to run this interview with Amalia Pizzardi, director of local non-profit Colors Of Life, and passionate advocate of stopping child abuse in every corner of the world. Colors Of Life has teamed up with international program Every Child Matters, and together they are doing their part to bring a spotlight to the epidemic through art and photography-centered initiatives. I had a chance to ask Pizzardi about the program and how everyday Richmonders could get involved.
Probal Rashid "Life In The Dump Yard" Bangladesh
How does Every Child Matters actually help children? Does the organization provide funds for programs that help these kids or do they create programs themselves?
Every Child matters does not deliver direct services to children; many other groups do that very well. Their aim is to make smart public investments in children a national political priority. These are some of their priority activities:
1. Battle of the Budget—ECM’s budget work on Capitol Hill and in the states is aimed at ensuring the needs of children are brought to the attention of the public, lawmakers and the administration. They issue many national reports, which can be found at www.everychildmatters.org.
2. Electoral Advocacy and Mobilization—ECM’s full-time and non-partisan operations in the key presidential campaign kick-off states of Iowa and New Hampshire are intended to spotlight kids’ issues and to mobilize the public on their behalf during elections. As they move into 2012, ECM will expand its educational efforts to important congressional races.
3. Stopping Child Abuse Fatalities—ECM has formed a national coalition to help bring an end to the deaths of children at the hands of family members and caretakers. [This happens to] some 2500 children a year, mostly very young. ECM testified before the Congress on the issue in July. Their work recently attracted wide attention when a BBC national story on child abuse in America was released.
4. Step Up for Kids Day—ECM coordinates a nationwide effort every fall to hold rallies at state capitols in support of investments in children. This year, it was on Saturday, October 15. More than 20 states participated.
5. International Photo Contest—ECM’s contest is meant to help spotlight the needs of children. We are currently planning a national exhibition tour of the 30 finalist photos during the 2012 election cycle. We first will be announcing the winners at a special reception on November 10, honoring Sen. Chris Dodd and Dr. T. Berry Brazelton for their work on behalf of children.
Istvan Kerekes "Friends" Romania
As the director of Colors Of Life, do you ever feel overwhelmed by the enormity of the problem?
Of course I do, because facts and statistics confirm the seriousness of the situation in the United States and around the world. You can imagine my frustration when there is a chance to do more for children and, for circumstances alien to us, our projects must slow down. Time is critical when we must act or converge the public opinion towards a certain problem. I think that this is what we all should want with no hesitation: children that are safe, well, and taken care of.
Timothy Bouldry "Children Of LaChureca Junk Yard" Nicaragua
So by supporting Colors of Life and its events, a percentage of money raised goes to Every Child Matters?
Every year Colors Of Life chooses a new beneficiary. We carefully review a number of projects aimed to provide better care for underprivileged children, either nationally or internationally. This year, Colors of Life's International Photo Contest is entirely dedicated to Every Child Matters, as we believe that their campaigns are socially worthy and important, and that images have a social function that can be helpful in the attempt to modify the viewers' perception of a certain situation. We try to contain the cost of the Photo Contest organization, involving sponsors and receiving donations which allow us to put together the photo competition and prepare marketing material. Sometimes we raise awareness, like in this case, as the photographs will accompany the 2012 political campaign and we would like them to work as a whole. Sometimes we raise funds through their sale. The profit is totally destined to the organization we support.
David-Lazar "Fading-Innocence", Bangladesh
How do local artists and photographers get involved with the organization? Is there a deadline coming up?
There is never a deadline to receive donations or to participate to our programs, which are all listed online (www.colorsoflife.org and www.everychildmatters.org). There is a deadline, though, to participate in the photo contest, which requires a long time to be organized, and is published online on our webpage, on other social media like Facebook or Twitter, and finally on specialized photo magazines and blogs. This year's photo contest closed in June. We are in the process of selecting our new beneficiary for 2012, and we hope that you will help by promoting and diffusing it in the wonderful Richmond artists' community!!
Thank you Amalia for taking the time to talk with us. More information can be found at www.colorsoflife.org. Get involved!
Check out this video from the BBC on Every Child Matters
Michael Petit: America can fix problem of child abuse fatalities