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Tuesday, March 30, 2004  

Blogospherics: Blogger puts money where mouth is

I sometimes refer to the blogosphere as an echo chamber. It is where way too many copycats assemble an echo every word of Atrios and Glenn Reynolds, sometimes including the uhs and ahs. But, one rarely sees a blogger live up to the values he mouths day in and day out, especially in the liberal blogosphere.

So, I am pleased to bring your attention to a liberal blogger who is living what he writes. Blogger David Anderson has a project he would like the blogosphere to take notice of. He resides in Costa Rica, a poor but promising country. He is the president of Grupo Utopia, a software development and consulting company. David is the parent of two young Costa Ricans, who are also American citizens. Unfortunately, most of their peers will not have access to the English language at home. They need to learn it in school. That requires books. So, David developed Project Appollonia. He explains.

Project Background

English has always been an important part of the school curriculum in Costa Rica and is an important part of the learning process. Recent cuts in government spending has effected the governments ability to purchase and maintain English language libraries, and in an attempt to help fill the gap, Grupo Utopia is joining with children’s book author Nancy Gilliam, The Chamber of Costa Rican Software Producers, and various chapters and individuals of Mr. Anderson’s College Fraternity, Phi Beta Sigma, and Sister Sorority, Zeta Phi Beta, as well as Masonic Organizations and The Order of the Eastern Star, and a number of U.S. based philanthropic groups. We are pleased at the Support we have received so far from the Brothers and Sisters of the Zeta-Phi Beta Sigma Family, and from the affiliate organizations like Sigma Doves and Sweethearts.

Our initial Goal is to Donate 1,000 Children’s Books to Costa Rican Schools by June of this year (2004), and 10,000 by the end of the year. Momentum has been building for this effort primarily through the incredible generosity and spirit of Ms Gilliam, but also through the enthusiasm generated by members of the Blue Phi family who have offered to take on Appolonia as a Project.

We are also honored by the support of Federico Cartin Arteaga of Caprosoft (The Chamber of Costa Rican Software Developers). We have also approached the American Embassy here in Costa Rica in an effort to get them involved, as well as several multinationals who have offices in Costa Rica.

In the United States, Sharon Green a Manager with Los Angeles Law Enforecement is working to get commitments of support from the Law Enforcement an Firefighting Communities in Los Angeles.

The Plan

We have begun phase two of the plan. In this phase we will organize Project Apollonia as a non-profit corporation in Costa Rica, and work to organize a Board of Directors composed of the leadership of the Costa Rican and expatriate business and political community. We are awaiting news from the U.S. Embassy as to whether we will be able to use some of their resources to import the books.

What we need right now is for people to begin the process of collecting the books. We will be able to provide a U.S. address of freight forwarder in the case that we don’t have an Embassy P.O. box available. We ask that all interested parties begin their individual efforts immediately and begin the process of collecting books. We would like to formally present the first batch of books to the Ministry of Education by the first week of June. We also plan on a special visit to Limon Province, one of the poorest provinces in Costa Rica, in July for a special presentation. With God’s help and the continuing support of generous people, we can make this a very special year for Costa Rican School Children.

The project is named after David's infant daughter, the adorable Apollonia Anderson Calderon.

Costa Rica is home to about four million people. About thirty percent of the Costa Rican population is under the age of 14. Ninety-six percent of Costa Ricans are literate in Spanish. Learn the basics about peaceful, sultry Costa Rica. Interested in visiting? Learn more.

You can contact David at http://www.grupo-utopia.com. Visit his weblog, In Search ot Utopia, to keep up-to-date on Project Appollonia. And, collect those books. A good source of cheap books is thrift stores, such as Goodwill and the Salvation Army, if, like me, you don't have discarded children's books around the house. Also, watch for used book sales at bookstores. I'll be all over the next one at Powells, which is headquartered in Portland.

4:56 PM