OCTOBER 12, 1939
WASHINGTON, Wednesday—I worked late again last night and have come to the conclusion that there is something in the air in Washington which obliges one to burn the midnight oil.
I had a small luncheon today for Madame Peter, whose husband has retired as the Swiss Minister. She has so many friends here that it is a happiness to know that her children, living in this country, will always keep her here for part of the year.
I had an opportunity to talk to Dr. Reeves this morning, who is carrying on the work of the Youth Commission so ably begun by Dr. Rainey. They have done a most wonderful piece of research work and I am most anxious to know what conclusions they will come to as a result of their findings. Their suggestions for the use of their facts which they have discovered will be valuable to every community.
I feel that one of the most important things to work on today is the problem of jobs for youth. This is the basis of all the other problems which they face. The problems of work for older people and of old age pensions for those who are beyond their working years, are important problems but they do not press in on us in quite the same way, because youth brings to our labor market every year a new crop which will become either usefully productive, or remain an idle burden. Every community should make this problem a community problem, for habits are important when you are young and one can so easily become a worker or a loafer according to the circumstances of environment and opportunity.
I hope that before long there will be formed some central group which will coordinate all the kindly feelings which are at present scattered throughout this country and which are taking shape in a variety of organizations that do a variety of things here for the rest of the world. This multiplicity of small organizations means tremendous overhead and, frequently, an overlapping of work. Until some central organization is established where all this work can be coordinated, these groups must continue to flourish by themselves.
To my desk come daily reports of new ideas. They vary from relief of Chinese and Spanish civilians, to mothers anti-war clubs. Finally, a day or so ago, there came a letter about a children's club called "The Goodwill Club," which features a Christmas shoe box to be sent to soldiers in all armies and to contain a great variety of articles— more than I ever dreamt one shoe box could hold! This particular activity is being started by a young lady in Massachusetts. Though one may wonder what will be done with all these shoe boxes, one can only applaud the spirit which prompts young people to want to do something for others not as fortunate as themselves.