Suppose Nobody Cared, November 16, 1924 (excerpts)



Spread of Organized Charity Traced to Philadelphia Origin in Forum Address

Child Delinquency Laid to "Gangs" and Early Labor; War Benefits Traced

Philadelphia was named as the foremost city in this country in the cause of organized welfare work by Jane Addams, for thirty-five years head of the Chicago Hull House, which she founded, in a talk before the Philadelphia Forum yesterday afternoon, in the Academy of Music.

Miss Addams chose for the title of her address the slogan of the Welfare Federation, "Suppose Nobody Cared," and reminded several thousand persons who comprised the audience, of the responsibilities connected with the fostering of any organized charitable movement.

"Philadelphia initiated the organized charity movement years ago," she said, "and other cities are watching the experiment, hoping it will be supported by the citizens of Philadelphia. The campaign for $3,000,000 that is now being waged by the Welfare Federation will be successful. Since the war, citizens no longer look upon the various drives for charitable purposes with bad faith. They take them as a necessary taxation, giving cheerfully to the worthy causes."

Gives War the Credit

"This has given rise to a question of community responsibility, which is yet comparatively in its infancy. The Liberty Loan drives and the War Chest during the war gave rise to the new idea of giving to charity. The war aided materially in awakening the community consciousness, and people realize they can make more of their opportunities in charitable fields if they pool their interests."

Miss Addams spoke on the Housing and Sanitation Commissions in all the larger cities of this country as being the greatest relief in aiding the thousands of immigrants. Many of the children in the juvenile courts are there because they were not given the proper training and opportunities, she said.

"If the social workers would attempt to approach the juvenile cases with tact, they would be able to go to the very root of the delinquency of the child," she said. "In many instances, boys, living in the slums of the cities, join their "gangs." As the boys grow older, they continue to keep their cliques, always requiring a certain amount of fidelity from one another. Soon, we hear of a robbery, in which a group of young men took part. The same gang of boys has grown into a clique of criminals.

Child Labor Assailed

"People are taking as active interest in the welfare and development of the poor children as they formerly took in the moral training of their own children. They know that if they train the slum youngsters, they are aiding in the great work of humanitarianism. Children should not be sent to work at the age of fourteen, when they are forming their life's habits. That is the ultimate cause of the downfall of many of our younger citizens."

Philadelphia has passed through its Renaissance in organized charities, according to Miss Addams, who predicted that this city will lead in the carrying on of social welfare work.

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