When I first started writing Musings From The Bench on March 10, 2014, I would either stay up late or get up early so Musings would be published on the same day it was due. Now I know how to schedule a publishing time and date so I can get my beauty sleep….and trust me, every minute counts. So while you are reading this today, I wrote it on 9/4 and the police may have found the people who did this by now. I certainly hope so but if not, then I hope they find them soon.
As you are probably aware, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has taken the country by storm. Fill a bucket with ice water and dump it on yourself while being filmed and post that film to youtube, facebook, wherever and challenge others by name. They then have 24 hours to take the challenge themselves posting their video and challenging their friends, and on and on and on. Failure to accept the challenge will result in a donation to the ALS Foundation. Well, some teens in Bay Village, Ohio thought it would be the height of hilarity to issue a challenge to a 14-year old autistic boy, help him with the bucket, film him and post the cell phone captured video to youtube, facebook, wherever.
Had the bucket been filled with ice water the police would not now be looking for them. No, those boys and/or girls decided it would be much more fun to fill the bucket with feces, urine, cigarette butts and spit.
Bay Village Schools released a statement today (9/4) which reads in part:
“Dear Bay Village students, parents, staff and community members,
Many of our students and staff members have been participating in fundraising for ALS through the Ice Bucket Challenge. It hurts us deeply to see such a wonderful effort twisted to deliberately cause someone pain.
“We are supporting our Bay Village Police Department as they vigilantly work to complete their investigation in this case.”
In the meantime, Bay Village community members have planned “a peaceful vigil against bullying to show that hate is not tolerated in Bay Village.”
For some reason this event will be held off school grounds but in front of the high school. I suppose it could be because it’s not a school sanctioned event and there may be legal issues involved.
Anyway, kids this age can’t really keep a secret….maybe from adults but not from each other. Someone has already bragged about this to someone else, the problem is getting that someone else to spill the beans, and when they do I certainly hope these bullies are taken to the town square, put in stocks where they spend 24 hours and villagers pelt them with rotten tomatoes. Time to give bullies the old school treatment. Really old school.
I wrote last week about the Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon for MDA and touched upon some of the changes that have been made, the main one being Jerry is no longer involved. Knowing myself as well as I do, I had to investigate. Here are my findings.
In August of 2011, MDA announced that Jerry Lewis was stepping down as host of his Labor Day Telethon….I say his telethon because that’s how I’ve always referred to it….that’s the way it’s always been for the 45 years I know about. The show was cut from 21.5 hours to 6 hours with Jerry being replaced by 4 hosts, and he would make an appearance at the end of the show to say goodbye and sing “You’ll Never Walk Alone” one last time. But then a few weeks before the show MDA issued an announcement that Jerry wouldn’t be making an appearance at all and that he was resigning from his position as national chairman. Wait a minute. Here’s a man who has spent almost as many years as I’ve been alive raising money for research in finding cures for all types of muscle diseases, and he’s leaving without the opportunity to say goodbye and for those he helped to say thank you? What the hell?
Turns out Jerry wanted his final goodbye to be done live at the end of the 2011 telethon and the Association wanted it taped and after offering several pre-taped options which Jerry found insulting, he walked out. I’m not saying Jerry was the easiest guy to work with (no, not from personal experience) but the joke goes “you know why they love Jerry Lewis in France? In France, they don’t get the telethon.” But still, this man raised $2,000,000,000 for MDA and they gave him the bum’s rush.
MDA officials are still saying Jerry simply retired after nearly 6 decades of being the #1 volunteer (never took a penny unlike MDA vice-president Jann Carl who makes $100,000 a year in MDA salary), “We honor Jerry Lewis, we admire the work he’s done for us and we respect his decision to retire”–Valerie Cwik MDA interim president. She also insists that the ‘changes in the telethon are part of a necessary evolution in fundraising strategy, to put less emphasis on the once-a-year event.’ She states, “It has to change because the American audience has changed. A 21.5 hour show doesn’t fit into a 140-character world.” I guess they aren’t concerned with the raising of money anymore.
In 2011, the MDA Show of Strength as it is now called was a pre-taped 6 hour show, in 2012 it was reduced to 3 hours, and in 2013 2 hours. This past Labor Day it was back up to 4 hours.
Without Jerry Lewis hosting the telethon MDA lost $14million, the only thing growing? Former MDA President Weinberg’s salary of $400,000 in 2012. (He retired shortly after Jerry left.)
MDA had the balls to say they raised more money without Jerry as host in 2011 than they did with Jerry as host in 2010, yet their tax returns which were posted on their website showed a loss of $18million.
I do agree with one thing though, charities have to fight harder to get the public to donate to their cause, but MDA spent 77 cents of every dollar collected on research, services and education in 2010. According to an AIP (American Institute of Philanthropy) report from fiscal year 1995, MDA spent 69-74% on ‘charitable purpose” which is ‘the portion of total expenses that is spent on charitable programs.” In AIP’s view, “60 % or greater is reasonable for most charities.”
According to the AIP ‘it cost MDA $22-28 to raise every $100—$35 or less to raise $100 is reasonable for most charities and they give MDA a grade of B-Good. Remember, that information is from 1995, I have no idea what the numbers are now.
Maybe Valerie Cwik is right and the American audience can’t sit still for 21.5 hours of entertainment, information, schmaltzy speeches and kids in wheelchairs, but I for one will miss the Jerry Lewis Telethon for Muscular Dystrophy and everything that entails. Besides, where will the acts go that didn’t make it on America’s Got Talent?“Dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die today”–Jerry Lewis
Thanks for reading Musings From The Bench. Until next time.
Tiny URL for this post: