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Tired of hearing people grouse about a tuned-out, apathetic younger generation? Well, here's a comeback: Today's young Americans are more serious about giving back than their parents were. In fact, those under age 30 now are more likely to say citizens have a "very important obligation" to volunteer, an Associated Press-GfK poll finds. The embrace of volunteering is striking because young people's commitment to other civic duties such as voting, serving on a jury and staying informed has dropped sharply from their parents' generation and is lower than that of Americans overall. Among six civic activities in the AP-GfK poll, volunteering is the only one that adults under 30 rated as highly as older people did. "I want to make my city where I live a better place," Morgan Gress, 24, of Washington said after sorting and hanging donated clothes with co-workers who chose to volunteer in lieu of an office holiday party. After you volunteer, she said, "You never walk away feeling you didn't have a great time, or help someone out, or learn something new." Today's young adults grew up amid nudges from a volunteering infrastructure that has grown exponentially since their parents' day, when the message typically came through churches or scouting. Gress doesn't find it unusual that her employer, a hub for tech startups called 1776, encouraged workers to sort clothes at Bread for the City during office hours. Most of her friends work at companies with some sort of volunteer program, she says. Community service was required at her private high school in Buffalo, New York, like many other schools across the country. Volunteer opportunities were plentiful as a student at American University. In the decades since President George H.W. Bush championed America's volunteer groups as "a thousand points of light" at his 1989 inaugural, the number of nonprofits has skyrocketed. The Martin Luther King Jr. holiday and Sept. 11 have become days of service. Individuals launch community projects through social media, instead of hanging posters and making phone calls. Twenty percent of adults under 30 volunteered in 2013, up from 14 percent in 1989, according to census data analyzed by the Corporation for National and Community Service. It seems likely that the Millennials' volunteering rate will climb higher, because past generations have peaked in their 30s and 40s, when many parents give their time to schools, youth groups or community improvements. "We're on the crux of something big, because these Millennials are going to take this spirit of giving and wanting to change communities and they're going to become parents soon," said Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. "I am very encouraged by what we're seeing." The vast majority of Americans believe citizenship comes with an array of responsibilities. But the strength of that conviction has weakened since the General Social Survey asked about obligations of citizenship in 1984. Page 2 of 3 - Seventy-seven percent say reporting a crime you witness is very important, down from 90 percent three decades ago in the survey conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago. Three-quarters call voting in elections very important, about the same as in the 1984 survey, though only about 36 percent of eligible voters cast ballots in November's midterms. The biggest decline among the six obligations tested? Keeping fully informed about news and public issues. A majority 56 percent of Americans considered that very important in 1984; now only 37 percent think so. Young adults are even less interested in keeping up. Despite unprecedented access to news and information, 28 percent feel no obligation to stay informed. A similar number say there's no obligation to volunteer, but the trends are moving in opposite directions. The share who call volunteering very important has climbed 10 percentage points, while staying informed dropped 13 points. The importance of voting, jury duty, reporting a crime and speaking English as obligations of citizenship also declined among young adults. Peter Levine, associate dean for research at Tufts University's college of citizenship, said while the nation was building up its institutional support for volunteering, many of the organizations that promote political and civic involvement, including labor unions, churches and newspapers, were shrinking. Could experience gained while volunteering lead more young people to other civic roles, such as banding together to solve local problems, following national issues or joining political parties? There are some positive signs. Kaleigh Gordon, a junior at the University of Southern Mississippi, has a history of volunteering but says she hasn't followed politics much because "there's so much negativity." Now, a trip to Washington to help care for homeless people has her thinking about how to solve some of their underlying problems, such as untreated mental illness. "This is different from anything I've done before. It's been very shocking," Gordon, 21, said before serving lunch at So Others Might Eat. "The government should do more we need more funds and people in the community need to be stepping up to do more, too." But Rutgers University Professor Cliff Zukin, who studies civic engagement, sees little prospect that volunteering will lead to a strong return to political participation and other civic virtues that were in decline well before today's young adults came of age. "They're starting at a very, very low point," he said. "And each generation seems to have peaked at less than the previous generation." The AP-GfK Poll of 1,044 adults was conducted online July 24-28, 2014, using a sample drawn from GfK's probability-based KnowledgePanel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 3.4 percentage points. Page 3 of 3 - Respondents were first selected randomly using phone or mail survey methods and later interviewed online. People selected for KnowledgePanel who didn't otherwise have access to the Internet were provided access at no cost to them. <a href=>oakley glasses</a> Commissioners Heyward Strong and Tom Browning and Mayor Bruce Arnold were opposed to Ordinance No. 658 3-2, while Commissioners Kay Hamilton and Joe Morgan voted in favor of allowing it to move forward for a second reading at the next commission meeting. w <a href=></a>
2 Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually oriented language. <a href=></a> Tony Hicks writes celebrity commentary for the Bay Area News Group. Contact him at or
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p Brian Chilson PLENTIFUL PLATE: The ginger and onion lobster at Mr. Chen's is a handful for waitress Nico Weng. <a href=>cheap oakleys</a> There�s a terrific scene near the end of Mike Leigh�s resplendent biopic �Mr. Turner.� In it, Leigh�s subject, celebrated British landscape painter J.M.W. Turner, sits for one of those newfangled daguerreotype photos.It�s the 1840s, and Turner, in the midst of a popularity slide, glares at the crude predecessor to the camera with what could be seen as disdain. But what we�re really seeing on his bulbous face is fear � fear that photography will make his gorgeous landscape paintings obsolete.In a way, he was right. But what I couldn�t help thinking was, �If Turner is freaked by a camera, imagine what he would make of seeing his life unfold in colorful motion pictures.� Therein lies the beauty and the irony of a man whose world revolved around capturing natural beauty in still portraits that moved, whether it be a steaming locomotive, a roiling storm cloud or a ship asail.He�d no doubt react by saying, �Why must it take 150 minutes to depict what I can do in one simple painting?� But he�d be wrong. A man this talented, this complex is too much for one �simple painting.�Leigh grandly proves it with a movie that delights more in Turner�s imperfections than his genius. That is both the film�s strength and its biggest liability, because Turner, as played by the masterful Timothy Spall, is not remotely likeable.In fact, I thought of him more as a bear than a man, given all his flailing and grunting. You really need to work to find his redeeming qualities. But somehow Spall finds them in a performance that is rooted in subtle brilliance.Spall shuns all semblance of ego to present an artist who was both irascible and slovenly, had little respect for women and even less for his peers. Yet, the Brits loved Turner, perhaps because he was so devoid of pretension.Given his blue-collar upbringing (his father was a barber, his mother a nutcase), Turner was indeed no fancypants painter. He was salt of the earth, or given his love of waterscapes, salt of the sea. You see it in his art, but you see it more in his demeanor.When he�s in his London studio fussed over by his mousy but adoring housekeeper, Hannah Danby (Dorothy Atkinson), he�s grumpy and dissatisfied. But on his long retreats to Margate to be beside the sea and his chirpy mistress, Sophia Booth (Marion Bailey), he�s almost what you�d call content.Leigh cleverly contrasts the two sides of Turner through his relationships with the most prominent women in his life. Hannah, the niece to the mother (Ruth Sheen) of Turner�s two illegitimate daughters, is plain of face and miserable in mood, largely due to her unrequited love for Turner.Page 2 of 2 - Sophia, on the other hand, is always sprightly and able to put a smile on Turner�s sour face. He compares her to Aphrodite, and in so doing, proves emphatically that love is blind. The contrasting relationships are the heart of the movie, but it�s Turner�s weird, unconventional lifestyle that consistently fascinates. As a man, he�s as ugly as his paintings are beautiful, and Leigh has fun with that dichotomy.But Leigh�s grandest achievement is in how he and Oscar-contending cinematographer Bill Pope make the entire picture look like one of Turner�s paintings come alive. It�s breathtaking, as are all of the performances. Leigh, per usual, asks each actor to improvise to lend a naturalness to the dialogue. And it works to perfection, yielding laughs and tears in equal measure.Yet Leigh never loses sight of the importance Turner holds in the art world. It�s also commendable of him to concentrate on the last two decades of Turner�s life, when the artist began to lose critics and fans as he drifted toward impressionism, almost 50 years before the likes of Monet and Degas.He was ridiculed in print and on stage. Even the esteemed Queen Victoria dissed him. But like everything else, including the death of one of his daughters, Turner just shrugged it off and continued to do what he loved most: paint.Rated R for some sexual content. Cast: Timothy Spall, Dorothy Atkinson and Mary Bailey. Written and directed by Mike Leigh. Grade: A-. <a href=>oakleys</a>
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