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    Celebrate Carroll’s 60th birthday; donate to A Better Seattle

    A Better Seattle, set to officially launch on Sept. 15 and sponsored by the YMCA of Greater Seattle, aims to create hope in inner-city communities around the Puget Sound by working to instill a new culture of peace on formerly gang-ridden streets. A Better Seattle will be following the lead of sister foundation A Better LA, founded in 2003. A Better LA relies on a revolutionary concept of empowering the leaders in their communities to enact change — and A Better Seattle is on its way to doing the same thing. Instead of throwing money at the issues and not getting involved, the organizations hire community outreach workers who do the hands-on work from the inside. 

    It’s a remarkable idea that has had great impact over the past eight years in Los Angeles. Lives are literally being saved on a daily basis. In the West Athens community of Los Angeles, one of the hotspots for crime in southern California, annual homicides have dropped 75 percent in the last three years and aggravated assaults decreased 43 percent from 2008 to 2009. Because of this drop in violence, kids are playing in parks again and walking safely to school. The community is regaining its confidence to live, work and play without fear of constant violence. It’s no longer a haven of fear but instead is turning into a sanctuary of peace. 

    Now it’s time to entrench this revolutionary model in Seattle, where gang problems have infested certain pockets of the region. A Better Seattle has already teamed up with inner-city workers all the way from Tacoma up through Rainier Valley, and the groundwork is being laid for significant, life-altering change to occur in the communities and lives of young people all around the Northwest’s most-populated region. 

    So the time has come to advance A Better Seattle’s mission in tangible ways. That’s why I’ve donated my birthday on September 15 to this cause — because we need to join together and help push this new foundation forward. And what better group to help than the legendary 12th MAN? Let’s shine the Spirit of 12 and make a difference together in these communities. Please give whatever you can; every little or big bit helps. Feel free to give more or less than $12. But whatever you do, please give! 

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