Tag Archives: Rachel Kelley

Summer Service Opportunities

Looking for a meaningful way to spend your summer? Stanford activists share their most memorable experiences.

826 National
Annie Shields, ’13 [anneshi@stanford.edu]

I worked as an intern within an educational non-profit focussed on providing one-on-one tutoring to underserved youth in various cities across the US. I learned a lot about the maintenance of non-profits and got to meet cool writers, educators and teachers. 826 National is located in SF, which allowed me to meet tons of amazing people connected to the organization.

Aarti Home (via Project Dosti)
Janhavi Vartak, ’15 [jvartak@stanford.edu]

My job was twofold. I was teaching in a school for abandoned children(mostly girls) started by the organization, and also helping the organization on the administrative side by writing grant proposals etc to fund future projects. One example of the latter is a proposal for a mobile computer lab that would teach children the basics of computers. I thoroughly enjoyed interacting with the children from the home, teaching them, playing with the younger ones and chatting with the older girls.

CALPIRG
Zach Chase, student

I went door-to-door canvassing for a farm bill to be passed or rejected in congress. I loved getting updates on the radio from our own lobbyist about what was happening nationally while we were working.

Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education
Keryn Breiterman-Loader, undergraduate [kerynbl@stanford.edu]

I composed literature reviews for academic papers about compassion, wrote lay press articles on compassion and social connection, did publicity, and brainstormed initiatives. It is a great place that combines research with education and social change initiatives. Continue reading

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Busyness Ethics

by Rachel Kelley, ’12


When you can’t fit one more thing into your schedule, somehow you find yourself reading articles your friends posted on Facebook – articles like this one, “The Busy Trap.” Several friends commented, “That’s so Stanford!”

Yes, we’re all busy. We love to complain and philosophize and gchat about it.

It’s summer, so I’ve had more space in my brain and time in my schedule to think about how I choose to spend my time. For the last several weeks, I’ve been living with activists who live in what some of them call a “non-intentional intentional community.” The man who started the community – Karl – used to drive around the country giving talks about nonviolence and the peace movement. After many years of this, he realized that consuming oil while remaining detached from responsibility to any particular community was not a peaceful, sustainable, nor ethical lifestyle. He decided to stop traveling, buy a small house in Nashville, and start growing his own food in the backyard. At 75 years old, Karl rides his bike, shuns AC, and reuses and repurposes with meticulous attention to detail. He does all he can to avoid supporting war, factory farms, consumerism, pollution, and waste. Needless to say, Karl’s lifestyle is not convenient. Continue reading

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Why You Should Care About Obamacare (Part II of a Series)

by Rachel Kelley, ’12


“Obamacare” is a term that’s used with both affection and derision. It’s actually a nickname for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. More important than how you call the policy, however, is what’s in it. Here’s a rundown of some of the consumer protections that are being added between now and 2014.

Now: Insurance companies do not have to cover “pre-existing conditions.” That means if you apply for an insurance plan – but you’re a diabetic, or have cancer, or even acne – your insurance company can tell you that it will cover all your health costs except those having to do with your diabetes/cancer/acne, etc. The result is that many Americans are paying into an insurance plan that refuses to pay for the health care they need.

2014: Insurance companies will have to cover any paying customer, regardless of pre-existing health conditions. Many health insurance plans will also be required to offer a “standard benefits package” that covers a basic set of health care (annual physicals, diabetes care, hospital visits, etc.) to all customers. Continue reading

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Why You Should Care About Obamacare (Part I of a series)

by Rachel Kelley, ’12

President Obama spent much of the first year of his presidency working to pass health care reform. Remember 2009 – before all the bank bailouts and ending wars and budget battles? Remember the confusing, drawn-out process that was passing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act?

You don’t?

That’s OK. Most of the United States probably doesn’t either.

Despite that unfortunate gap in (many – not all) Americans’ civic attentiveness, everyone seems to have an opinion about “Obamacare” anyway. You’ve likely heard a whole spectrum of politicized responses to the following: Is Obamacare socialized medicine? What IS socialized medicine? Is it going to break the budget or is it going to save money? Is it going to make sure everyone has health insurance? Should Americans have a right TO health insurance or a right to NOT have health insurance? Continue reading

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Remind Yourself to Dream

by Rachel Kelley, ’12

This past week I had the chance work with the student group FAITH (Faiths Act in Togetherness and Hope) and staff of the Stanford Office for Religious Life to put together a multi-faith service in honor of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Did you know that Dr. King preached a sermon in Memorial Church? Did you know that we have the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute on the Stanford campus?

As part of the service, three students and I read part of the “I Have a Dream” speech. This opportunity was a tremendously humbling and meaningful experience. In introducing the speech, I hoped to convey the idea that the difficult struggle for justice is far from over. The speech itself reminds us that through our stories and our dreams we have cause to hope.

When Dr. King stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, he was looking out at thousands of people –  thousands of people who each, in some way, had joined a vast struggle against oppression and violence. Dr. King looked out on the crowd, and he said, “I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations…Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution.”

Whether those storms look different today or whether they look the same, storms of persecution are as real now as they were in 1963. Continue reading

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Home Sweet Home

by Rachel Kelley, ’12

“Home” – like community, like identity, like so many of those important words- is an emotional idea with a lot of meanings. A home could be a house as easily as a city or a continent. It could be an M.O. that’s routine as much as a group of people who have infinite (and perhaps not always impressive) impressions of us.

I was home every day of winter break. It hasn’t changed much in the time I’ve been away at college: sunsets over snow-covered Rockies still distract rush-hour commuters, the stuffed dog I’ve had since I was three still inhabits my bed, and my brothers still eat strange combinations of food at strange hours of day. Perhaps it is because home hasn’t changed much, that makes me so aware that I have.

I don’t always feel “at home” when I’m at home anymore. OK, big deal, right? I’ve been back and forth between my Stanford and suburban Denver homes for 3+ years now. Feeling slightly out-of-place and cooped-up when home is normal, even expected. As a friend of mine wisely pointed out, the vexations of breaks can be welcome reminders that Stanford student life – where my schedule revolves around me, myself, my friends, my education, my priorities, my whatever – is not real life. The individualistic independence of my student lifestyle is mostly an illusion. Living with my family means living with an awareness that my agenda is not the agenda – there are four other people’s needs to consider.

During this winter break, I experienced the usual annoyances of brotherly messes and parental guilt-trips, and I think I handled them rather gracefully. Fortunately or unfortunately, I was not so adept at dealing with a more abstract and troubling set of irritations. Each time I get on a plane going back to Denver, I bring memories of the ideas, places and people I’ve encountered home with me. All have somehow expanded my understanding of the world, but I tend to focus on the encounters that teach me about problems and solutions – in other words, what’s wrong in the world and what to do about it.

As a result, I see problems that used to be invisible to me. Continue reading

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In God We Trust

by Rachel Kelley, ’12

What’s the secret to this country?
We’ve got God on our money.
And we worship God alone
Are you forgetting here is the home
Of the brave and the free and
To live well all you need
Are as many
In God We Trust funds
As you can put your hands on.

Good lord, we trust our SUVs, court fees, golf tees,
house keys, corn seeds, poison weeds…
In the land of milk and honey,
We’ve got God on our money,
All for me, all for one,
Shooting guns, just for fun,
It’s manifest destiny never done. Continue reading

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Alternative Spring Break

by Rachel Kelley, ’12

It’s week 6 already? What? If your weeks have been anything like mine, they have slipped by a bit too quickly, aided by an overstuffed Google calendar. October is over, midterms are in full swing, the temperature is falling, stress levels are rising… It’s a great time to think about Spring Break.

This Thursday is the deadline to apply for Stanford’s Alternative Spring Break program. I’m writing this with the altogether undisguised hope that you apply. To that end I could write a few pages full of words like “life-changing,” “unforgettable,” and “extraordinary” – but rather than generalities and clichés, let me leave you with a few anecdotes – my own and my friends’ – of what is truly alternative about Alternative Spring Break. Continue reading

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