Editorials

Some of my best friends are politicians

In spirit of full transparency, I am the niece of Sheila Smith, Chair of Barat Education Foundation. I am also the granddaughter of the late Anna May Smith who was a professor at Barat College and Sangamon State University (University of Illinois Springfield).  So, unlike many of my peers, I grew up going door to door for candidates running for local, state, and federal political offices. The mantra in our family was “some of our best friends are politicians!”. Getting involved, using our voices and standing up for equal rights was part of the foundation in which we were raised. Civic engagement and its importance were engrained in the fibers of my being.

I had my two daughters 15 months apart from each other and continued to work part-time at the Barat Education Foundation.  When my youngest was a year and a half, I made the hard but amazing decision that I had to focus 100% on being a mom. To this point, it is single handedly the hardest job I love to do. I have not worked at the Foundation since then, but I continue to follow and support its programs. Now, more than ever, it is so important for us to continue to stand up for our rights as citizens of this country. We have the responsibility to stay engaged, informed and to use our voices.

Before the Citizen U poll on issues terminates, I asked Sheila if I could share what I have read that may be of interest to readers. The three articles: Senator Ben Sasse’s “Words of Wisdom”, “Backing into World War Three” and “How to Make America Greater – More Immigration” reflect my concerns as a wife of a small business owner, a mother of two very active girls, and an American who agrees with this quote by President Lincoln whose birthday we celebrate this month:

“We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”

About the author

Danielle Scharf

Danielle Scharf

Danielle Scharf, wife, mother, civically engaged woman. A graduate of Emory University who after college worked in the entertainment industry for over 12 years as a talent manager, talent agent and a casting director. While working with children she noticed an opportunity to help kids with self-esteem and critical thinking through acting. As a result, she created an on-camera acting class for children ages 4 to 17. She brought her talents to the Barat Education Foundation and worked on both the Our American Voice ® and Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources programs. She is the wife of Howard Scharf (owner of Travel 100 Group) and mother of Ella and Callie (ages 7 and 5). She currently is a mom, a wife, member of the PTA, a room parent for her daughter’s classroom, serves on the District 34 school board caucus as well as consults on various non-profit boards.

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