John McCaslin

We did some checking yesterday, and by the time the 2006 midterm elections rolled around, the CVP's campaign contributions totaled a mere $3,100, which went to the coffers of four Republican congressional candidates.

Worth repeating

That was Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao wrapping up a three-day Job Corps summit in Washington late yesterday, endorsing the program that gives promising youth the skills and education needed to succeed in the 21st-century economy.

But it was an inspirational message from one former Job Corps student — David Bol of Seattle, once known as one of "the Lost Boys of Sudan" — that spoke volumes about the federal program.

"Come with me, for a moment, to a faraway place, one so very unimaginable, but one that has had a significant impact on my life. Imagine being 8 years old," Mr. Bol said, "running barefoot day after day under the hot sun to escape your own government as well as militants who used bullets and bombs to kill your family and destroy your village."

He, too, had been shot, but unlike his family he would live, undergoing extensive surgery and skin graphs at a Kenyan refugee camp. He remained there for years, until one day he was given the opportunity to apply for admission to the United States.

"After a four-year process my moment finally came, and the day when I looked up and saw that my name was amongst those being sent to America, it became one of the most joyful days of my life. We jumped around for joy, hugging each other and even crying. It was a dream come true," he told the audience.

Days later he arrived in Seattle, enrolling in a Job Corps program where he "quickly made new friends, tasted new foods and became accustomed to a new lifestyle." Studying long hours, he successfully completed pharmaceutical studies, and today he said he is pleased to be "giving back" to Job Corps, teaching new pharmacy students everything he has learned.

But his proudest moment, he concluded, came last month. On Sept. 7, 2007, "in a magnificent courtroom in Spokane, I participated in one of the most thrilling moments of my life. I was sworn in as a citizen of the United States of America."

John McCaslin

John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .

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