DEAR ABBY: My son is a career soldier, Army Rangers Airborne, and yes, I am proud of him. During his 15 years of active duty he has been involved in every "action" around the world. The greatest gift I have been given started with an idea conceived by two high school students in Massachusetts. The program is called Cell Phones for Soldiers, and these are the basics:
Old cellphones are donated and then sold to a recycler, and with that money phone cards are purchased and donated to soldiers all over the world. Eighty percent of calls home by active-duty soldiers are made using these cards.
I have never heard of such a win-win program, and the biggest winner is the family member who answers the phone and hears, "Hi, Mom. I love you. I'm OK." -- DR. LISA MORGAN, A VERY THANKFUL MOM
DEAR DR. MORGAN: Until I read your letter, I hadn't heard of the program, either. It seems very worthwhile, and something anyone who wants to support members of our military might be interested in.
Founded in 2004, Cell Phones for Soldiers is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to provide free communication tools for military serving overseas. There are more than 15,000 collection sites across the United States. Nearly 12,000 calling cards are mailed each week, and since 2004, more than 150 million minutes of talk time have been provided. Anyone interested in learning more should visit cellphonesforsoldiers.com.
DEAR ABBY: I'm 21, almost 22, and I have just found out that it isn't the flu. I'm pregnant. The problem is, I don't know who the father is. I have an "idea" of who he might be -- but it could be three other guys. I'm not in a relationship with any of them. No. 1 and No. 2, I wouldn't want my child exposed to because of some of the things they do.
I have heard that if a mother is on state support and the parents aren't together, the father will have to pay child support. Is that true? I don't know what to do. -- LOST AND CONFUSED IN MISSOURI
DEAR LOST AND CONFUSED: You are going to need prenatal care to ensure you have a healthy baby. Your local Planned Parenthood health center may be able to provide prenatal care or refer you to other low-cost options.
Your next stop should be your county department of social services so that when your child arrives, you'll be able to feed it. I'm sure they will want the father to contribute financially. Determining which candidate is -- or is not -- the father is as simple as getting a paternity test.
P.S. And this is important, too: In the future, Planned Parenthood can provide you with reliable, low-cost contraceptive services, so the next time you become pregnant it will be by choice and with a committed partner.
DEAR ABBY: I am 7 years old and me and my parents can never agree on my bedtime. Do you think 7:30, 8, 8:30, 9, 9:30, 10, 11 or midnight? -- BAD BEDTIME IN BOSTON
DEAR BAD BEDTIME: It depends on what time you're expected to get up the next morning. According to the experts, children between the ages of 5 and 10 years old need between 10 and 11 hours of sleep each night. So count backward from the time your day is supposed to start and you'll know what time you're supposed to be in bed (8:30 p.m. seems about right to me).
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