DEAR ABBY: I am a 13-year-old girl, soon to graduate from elementary school. Please don't judge me by my age because I have an important question.
Recently, I picked up the newspaper, glanced at the front page and an article caught my eye. It was about a disabled man who had been kidnapped and taken to an apartment where he was beaten. It was one of the most disgusting things I have ever read.
Not long after that, I saw another article. This time it was about a mentally challenged man who was lured from his bus stop to a deserted street, then beaten and robbed. Knowing these things happen makes me sad, angry and turns my stomach.
I want to do something to help stop these acts of violence, but I don't know what. Joining a group or donating doesn't seem to be enough. I would like to help the disabled directly. Do you have any ideas? -- CARES DEEPLY IN ONTARIO, CANADA
DEAR CARES DEEPLY: You are a sensitive, right-minded young lady, and for that I commend you. I do have some ideas you might find interesting. You could:
1. Collect gently used children's clothing and donate the garments to a homeless shelter.
2. Volunteer some time each month to befriend a developmentally disabled child. The special education department at your school might be able to help you with this.
3. Collect signatures for a petition to increase the penalties for those who commit crimes against mentally ill and homeless people. Talk about your feelings at school and at your place of worship and see if friends would be interested in joining you in your efforts. Remember, one small spark can start a prairie fire.