Friday, October 30, 2009

Shakira's impacting her community...we can, too!

The following post is from Matthew Bernton, intern. Matthew is currently studying International Studies, Spanish and Latin American Studies at Seattle University and scheduled to graduate in December.

I would like to spotlight a well known artist today who is not only creating worldwide hits, but is making an impact on the world. That artist is Shakira. She won this year’s social work award at the MTV Latino awards, which took place in her home country of Colombia earlier this month.

Shakira has a passion for working with children who lack basic resources and manages the Barefoot Foundation, which offers underprivileged children free education. According to La Raza del Noroeste, her work currently reaches more than 5,000 children in Colombia.

I have always respected people who give back to their communities, and I find it inspiring that someone who has achieved superstardom can still be humble enough to remember where she came from and the issues that affect her community. Maybe it shouldn’t take a superstar to inspire someone to do good in the world, but it certainly helps bring attention to social causes when a star is backing them.

This award seems rather timely, as Shakira is on the front page of November’s Rolling Stone. I think the fact that she is on the cover this coming month, rather than being solely featured somewhere in the body of the magazine, says a great deal about her personal achievements. She graces the cover of a major media magazine because she is Shakira and the world knows that she is a very creative, unique woman in entertainment. She is not on the cover based on her ethnic background. Congratulations, Shakira!

I think it is important to remember that we can all learn something from artists who are able to mix their professional career with social work. I am not saying that we all need to open our own nonprofit organization to validate our impact on the world, but we should constantly be engaged about the issues going on in the world around us, as there may be a particular cause that we feel especially passionate about.

By engaging in service, we can learn more about members of the community, while simultaneously learning what our passion is.

Check out the Barefoot Foundation website for more information about Shakira’s organization.

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