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Getting Close Up on Giving Tuesday

What is Giving Tuesday?

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We have a day for giving thanks. We have two for getting deals. Now, we have #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back. On Tuesday, December 2, 2014, charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world will come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give.  I encourage you to join me in participating in this global celebration of a new tradition of generosity.

closeup1Why Close Up?

Close Up’s High School Programs are designed to give students and educators an inside look at their democracy in action. Using the nation’s capital as a living classroom, participants get a “close up” view of government – interacting with the people, processes, and places that make this federal city so unique. We also offer exciting add-on options that include additional days in Washington, and opportunities to visit Williamsburg, Gettysburg, Mt. Vernon, Philadelphia, or New York City!

I am a Close Up alum, having attended in March 1980.  It was a fascinating time to be in Washington, coming a week after the New Hampshire Primary in which an embattled President Carter stunned Ted Kennedy and Ronald Reagan pulled off a come from behind win over Iowa caucus winner George Bush.  I was one of four from my high school joining a larger Rhode Island contingent that descended on the city for a week of meeting with our members of Congress, the White House and the Pentagon, while appearing on a CSPAN broadcast with a correspondent from Time.  I still remember the opening keynote by former Congressman Brooks Hays who lost his seat by opposing segregation and jogging around the Pentagon with my classmates that first morning (three of us were on the track team).

On one day we broke into smaller groups and visited embassies.  My group visited the Iranian Embassy in the midst of the hostage crisis only a few weeks before Iran’s diplomats were expelled from the U.S and had an open debate out the crisis with the embassy’s charge d’affairs.

It was a life changing experience for me and led me want to attend school in Washington the next year and ultimately living in Washington for 13 years.  One person in our group of four still lives in Washington and, in fact,  Pat Toomey works with another Close Up alum – fellow Senator Mary Landrieu.

Close Up teaches students about government by allowing them to see it up close, rather than in a text book.

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