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The UnSTUCK Movement

June 20, 2015

A Bad Idea, After All

Craig Juntunen | The Huffington Post | June 19, 2015 In my lifetime, I have seen a lot of bad ideas. Most bad ideas quickly fade away. However sometimes bad ideas take root and linger. These bad ideas started as “good ideas” and it was only with the passage of time and new information that […]

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May 5, 2015

No Substitute for a Parent’s Love

by Dawn Stark Each month I fill a spot on my church’s nursery schedule. As the oldest of five siblings, and the mother of five, love for little ones is pretty much hardwired into my system. It’s not some great act of service for me to work in the nursery; it’s simply what I do […]

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January 13, 2015

2nd Anniversary of the Russian Adoption Ban

by Dawn Stark Some anniversaries are cause for celebration, while others are reminders of tragedy or painful loss. The Russian adoption ban is one such example of a negative anniversary. On December 28, 2012, Russian President Vladimir Putin slammed the door shut on international adoptions between the U.S. and Russia. Using parentless children as pawns […]

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December 2, 2014

A Shock to the System

Craig Juntunen | The Huffington Post | December 2, 2104 My life was transformed in 2006 when I walked into an orphanage for the first time. Walking through those doors had a profound impact on me. I was in shock. I was even more shocked to learn that the 50 or so kids in that […]

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August 14, 2014

Benjamin Dillow Should Not Have Died

Craig Juntunen | Huffington Post | August 13, 2014 In the course of a lifetime, there is nothing more horrific than a parent having to bury their child, especially if the child’s death could have been prevented. On August 4, 2014 Benjamin Chase Dillow died in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) under just […]

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July 25, 2014

Congressional Support During the DRC Adoption Crisis

by Chad Turner, Legal Intern In my short time as a member of the Both Ends Burning team I have met some truly amazing individuals and families. Perhaps this should not surprise me as these people truly believe, as I do, that every child deserves a family. During the present adoption crisis in the Democratic […]

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June 4, 2014

Paper Chains

Craig Juntunen | Huffington Post | June 4, 2014 On Tuesday the Both Ends Burning campaign released its investigative report, titled Paper Chains, documenting the U.S. Department of State’s misconduct and bias against adoptions in suspending international adoptions from Nepal. We are calling on Congress to enter a resolution calling for the reopening of Nepal […]

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April 29, 2014

A Response to CHIFF Detractors

by Kelly Ensslin For the first time in the six years I have hope that things are about to change for the world’s children living without families. U.S. foreign policy may soon prioritize permanent families thanks to landmark legislation that will alter the way our government approaches international child welfare. The bill is called Children […]

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April 4, 2014

Wrongfully Detained

Craig Juntunen | The Huffington Post | April 4, 2014 I have written numerous times in this publication about how failed leadership is damaging and destroying children. The social movement we started to defend the rights of every child to belong in a family is growing, because it represents the only sensible reaction to the […]

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March 27, 2014

Seventy-Five Thousand Children, and Counting…

by Kelly Ensslin “The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members.” – Ghandi Last Friday, the Department of State released its long-awaited annual international adoption statistics. As we had predicted, for the ninth straight year the number of children internationally adopted into permanent loving US families has […]

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March 11, 2014

Take a selfie for the cause #MillionVoicesStrong

by Dawn Stark Last week I had the opportunity to share Both Ends Burning’s mission with over 700 students attending their organization’s annual conference in Lafayette, LA. It was an impactful experience to watch the reactions of young people as they learned the truth about children STUCK in paper chains that lock them away from […]

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February 21, 2014

Department of State Plays Games and More Kids Lose

by Kelly Ensslin Bureaucratic Power Struggles, aka Adoption Processing Ping Pong Just last week, an American family found itself at the center of a monumental power struggle between USCIS and the Department of State (through its US Embassy in Port Au Prince). The family (we’ll call them the Smiths) had completed a lawful and final […]

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January 21, 2014

Reaction to 48 Hours Broadcast

by Peter Leppanen On Saturday, 48 Hours broadcast a report about an adoption agency with a history of suspicious adoption cases in both Guatemala and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Included in the report were charges of child trafficking. While Both Ends Burning has no direct knowledge of the cases or the individuals […]

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December 19, 2013

BEB Requests Secretary Kerry to Intervene

By Peter Leppanen BEB co-signed a letter with other CHIFF Working Group members calling on Secretary of State John Kerry to remove roadblocks to international adoption. The group characterized the actions of the Office of Children’s Issues as “arbitrary and inconsistent” and requested the Secretary to review and revise State Department policies. A copy of […]

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November 25, 2013

Our Student Advisory Council

by Kelly Ensslin Our Student Advisory Council is taking shape. We have received over a dozen nominations, and welcome more! Many have also inquired about what precisely is required of student members, in order to determine their willingness or ability to join. Please know that we welcome all interested high school students, and that the […]

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November 15, 2013

I’m Angry

by Kelly Ensslin I’m tired of all the bad press surrounding international adoption. I am. With the recent re-homing series by Reuters, and the impending 48 Hours expose on adoption fraud, it seems that everywhere we turn there is another sensational example of international adoption failing the children it is intended to serve. It seems […]

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November 8, 2013

Child Permanency and the CHIFF Legislation

by Pete Leppanen I was talking to a friend concerning the Children in Families First (CHIFF) Act that has been introduced in Congress. When I started to discuss the USAID portion of the bill, she asked what I meant by the phrase “child permanency”. CHIFF defines this concept by calling for a comprehensive approach to […]

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November 1, 2013

Fighting for Every Child’s Right to a Family

by Craig Juntunen This week ABC News Nightline aired an adoption story. Cynthia McFadden did an incredible job taking us on a three-year journey, perhaps more appropriately termed a saga, that Ruth, an adoptive mom from Seattle, and two children from Haiti had to endure before they could finally become a family. If you have […]

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October 25, 2013

The Role of Government in International Adoption

by Peter Leppanen, Strategic Advisor to Both Ends Burning Last week I was invited to a lecture discussing international adoption at a prominent law school. During the Q&A session after the lecture, one of the students prefaced her question by saying “I don’t think I support international adoption…” As an observer, it wasn’t my place […]

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October 18, 2013

Revealing A Dichotomy

by Craig Juntunen I was at a gathering the other night and as we were talking in a small group the subject of adoption came up. A new acquaintance told the story of how her young niece had recently chosen adoption for her newborn daughter. The young woman’s decision was based on her difficult personal […]

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September 19, 2013

Support CHIFF — Save lives!

The STUCK tour culminated 4 months ago with the Step Forward for Orphans March in Washington, DC, on May 18. The tour became a social phenomenon, and the possibilities to distribute our message—KIDS DESERVE A FAMILY—continue to grow. For those who were part of it, you understand the tour was much more than a roll […]

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September 16, 2013

International adoption: Saving orphans or child trafficking?

Kevin Voigt | CNN | September 16, 2013 Editor’s note: In this series, CNN investigates international adoption, hearing from families, children and key experts on its decline, and whether the trend could — or should — be reversed.   (CNN) — Srey Powers’ earliest memories in Cambodia are “waking up each morning, climbing trees to […]

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August 26, 2013

Our Family Day

by Craig Juntunen This weekend, various television and written media pieces have showcased a remarkable social event that took place 50 years ago.  Throughout the early 1960’s, talks began amongst civil rights leaders for a large protest that would fight against discrimination. They hoped such a demonstration would bring the need for civil rights for […]

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August 16, 2013

‘Stuck’ no more: Daughter brought home from Guatemala

Abby Eden | | August 15, 2013 LONE JACK, Mo. — A more than four-year struggle to reunite a metro family is over. That family, the Embreys, were on FOX 4 in April. They shared their challenges surrounding an issue that many families in the U.S. are facing — having an adoptive child in […]

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June 12, 2013

UNSTUCK: Ruth Kerr

by Craig Juntunen The tour ignited a national conversation about the significance of family to a child, and the Step Forward for Orphans March represents the initiating event of the UNSTUCK social movement. At the heart of the tour and the march was a core message that kids belong in families, not in orphanages. Social […]

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May 21, 2013

Our Next Steps Forward

by Craig Juntunen It has been quite a journey In 78 days, we visited 60 cities during an 18,000 mile bus ride. The journey ended with a mile and a half walk making a statement that adoption is an important and viable solution for kids without parents. The tour succeeded in identifying and forming the […]

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May 16, 2013

Washington, D.C. | May 16, 2013

by Craig Juntunen We are back in our nation’s capital. Tonight STUCK was seen by a full theater and a fantastic audience for the 60th and last time on our nationwide tour. It was a fitting conclusion as Senator Mary Landrieu and Congressman Trent Franks led the Q&A and Senator Landrieu announced a legislative package […]

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May 15, 2013

Baltimore, MD | May 14, 2013

by Craig Juntunen Baltimore is the second to last stop in our sixty-city tour. Our hosts for the day were Erica and Brian Parker. Brian and Erica are currently waiting to bring home a brother and sister who are “STUCK” in the Democratic Republic of Congo. They adopted another child from India several years ago, […]

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Wilmington, DE | May 13, 2013

by Craig Juntunen Tonight in Wilmington was the 58th screening of STUCK. If I were going to use a word to describe the Q&A tonight, it would be ‘sophisticated’. We had a very informed and thoughtful audience in attendance and the Q&A was led by real on-the-ground experts, which produced a very powerful town hall […]

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May 14, 2013

Philadelphia/Cherry Hill, NJ | May 12, 2013

by Harry Oellrich If it’s Mother’s Day, this must be Philadelphia, or Cherry Hill, NJ to be exact…and with Mother’s Day came some unique opportunities (and challenges) for the STUCK tour and especially for the committed group of volunteers led by city host Mary Ann Lorimer who had worked so hard to make last evening’s […]

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May 12, 2013

Princeton, NJ | May 11, 2013

by Craig Juntunen Tonight was the 56th STUCK event. Like all of the STUCK screenings, tonight was created by a dedicated group of volunteers and well-attended by interesting members of the community. During an interview, I was asked if tonight feels different now that we are near the end of the tour. The answer is no. […]

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May 10, 2013

New York City | May 9, 2013

by Craig Juntunen New York City has a reputation for being different. And it is. Tonight was a unique stop on the tour. I want to thank city host Tina Traser for her leadership and the entire volunteer team for filling the house. Tonight something unusual happened. Of all of the challenges we have dealt […]

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May 8, 2013

Boston, MA | May 7, 2013

by Craig Juntunen The Boston experience was a home run on many fronts. We had a very full theater, and it was filled with many people who have positively influenced Both Ends Burning and the STUCK experience. I would like to recognize the entire volunteer team who put it all together. I am grateful for […]

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May 6, 2013

Rochester, NY | May 5, 2013

by Thaddaeus Scheel As the director of STUCK, I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to ride the bus and see the film in a number of settings….tonight I was asked to write the blog. After leaving the STUCK tour in Los Angeles, my current home, I’ve rejoined the team in Rochester, New York: just a few miles […]

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May 5, 2013

Pittsburgh, PA | May 3, 2013

by Craig Juntunen I woke up this morning right next to the University of Pittsburgh. Ron’s hotel was downtown and the only place he could find to park the bus—even at 3 in the morning, which was our arrival time—was a lot in the campus. After a couple of cups of coffee, I decided Ron […]

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Cleveland, OH | May 2, 2013

by Craig Juntunen I rejoined the tour after a few days off to get the kids home and back in school. I would like to thank Kelly Ensslin for her willingness to extend her stay on the bus to help host the evenings while I was away. Kelly is a determined advocate for kids stuck […]

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May 2, 2013

The Bac Lieu Boys

by Kelly Ensslin I am honored that Craig asked me to come aboard the STUCK tour bus and help spread the word about this important social movement. I was thrilled to climb aboard in Indianapolis, the hometown of my dear friends and former clients, Nick and Lori LeRoy. Indianapolis is also home to two more […]

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April 29, 2013

Indianapolis and Cincinnati | April 27-28, 2013

by Craig Juntunen STUCK had the best weekend of the tour, as over 500 people in Indianapolis and Cincinnati came out to pack the theaters and engage in meaningful conversations. Both events had a remarkable energy, led by passionate volunteer teams, special guests and very accommodating theater managers. After the last 48 hours, it is […]

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April 28, 2013

Chicago, IL | April 26, 2013

by Craig Juntunen The Music Box Theater in Chicago distinguished itself as the most beautiful theater we have had the privilege to screen STUCK in. The Music Box is an old-style theater, with majestic ceilings and beautifully appointed walls. A red velvet curtain with its countless folds draped down to hide the theater screen. When […]

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April 27, 2013

Minneapolis, MN | April 24, 2013

by Craig Juntunen Minneapolis proved to be a real highlight of our journey. The vision and leadership of Jennifer Arndt-Johns and a volunteer team that was as organized as any we have seen was the reason our experience was so meaningful. Jennifer influenced a strategic decision to have STUCK play in the Minneapolis St. Paul International […]

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April 23, 2013

Des Moines, IA | April 22, 2013

by Craig Juntunen I learned a few things in Des Moines tonight: first of all, the people in the heartland mean what they say. The actions of the volunteer team led by Shayla Hood, were consistent with their promise to create a STUCK experience to be remembered. Integrity is defined as a consistency between your […]

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From Craig With Gratitude

by Craig Juntunen A quiet day in Omaha yesterday gave me some downtime to reflect on where we have been and where we are going. The tour has visited 39 cities and going forward from Des Moines we will have the opportunity to visit an additional 22 cities and continue to establish relationships with people […]

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April 22, 2013

Kansas City, MO | April 20, 2013

by Craig Juntunen Tonight in Kansas City, two more families came up to join me during the Q&A. We have been including local families and their STUCK stories as part of the Town Hall/Q&A since the very early part of the tour. Tonight, like every other night, the stories were very emotional, and the absurd […]

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April 20, 2013

St. Louis, MO | April 19, 2013

I have asked Brie Beaupre, who is currently our guest rider to write the St. Louis blog. Our guest riders bring their own fresh perspective and add a different light to this daily recap. Not to preempt Brie’s blog, but…I am compelled to offer my impressions because it was such a remarkable day. The numbers […]

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April 19, 2013

Opelika, AL | April 17, 2013

by Craig Juntunen April 17th was originally a scheduled day off. That changed when Allison Wilmarth Kovak introduced herself to me at the Austin screening, looked me in the eye and boldly said, “This tour has to come to Opelika!” I told her I would consider it, I had no idea where Opelika was located. Over […]

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April 17, 2013

Atlanta, GA | April 16, 2013

by Craig Juntunen In a recent blog I wrote about the core message of STUCK: Love grows kids. Tonight, those of us in the screening saw it up close and personal. Joining us in Atlanta were Stacey Chapman and her beautiful daughter Tihun. If you were at the Midtown Cinema in Atlanta tonight, you had […]

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April 16, 2013

Tupelo, MS | April 14, 2013

by Craig Juntunen Visiting Tupelo offered me an experience in Southern hospitality and human decency I won’t forget. The tour was originally designed with cities simply determined by market size. With a population of 45,000, Tupelo was never considered by our city selection criteria. In other words, Tupelo was too small. After yesterday, I was […]

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April 14, 2013

Memphis, TN | April 13, 2013

by Craig Juntunen All movies need an identity. Potential audiences and distributors require an informational snapshot of a film to make a viewing decision. In a world guided by snap judgments, any filmmaker or producer must be able to communicate ‘what the film is about’ very quickly. STUCK is more than a documentary, it is […]

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April 13, 2013

Memphis, TN | April 12, 2013

by Craig Juntunen We finally arrived in Memphis deep into night as the STUCK bus rolled over a long stretch of highway from Denver. Ron has to be exhausted as the trip was by far the furthest distance between two shows. I am up early staring at my breakfast options: a strawberry Pop-Tart or the […]

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April 12, 2013

Denver, CO | April 11, 2013

by Craig Juntunen Tonight was another event with interesting people producing a remarkable energy. I want to thank city host Phillip Garrott and the entire volunteer team for their of pride of ownership. Once they raised their hand offering to make a difference, this team carried a sense of responsibly to make Denver a hit…and […]

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April 11, 2013

Denver, CO | April 10, 2013

by Craig Juntunen We woke up to a single digit temperature, fresh snow on the ground and a welcome day of rest in Denver. Ron will have a chance to get caught up on some much needed sleep, Samar might do some shopping and, in addition to giving a talk tonight at the University of […]

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April 10, 2013

Salt Lake City, UT | April 8, 2013

by Craig Juntunen As I walked back to the bus with the volunteers to celebrate in the joyful ritual of our version of an after party, I had a real spring in my step. Tonight produced its own “wow factor” and, in the words of Samar, “We smashed it tonight.” The film again was shown […]

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April 8, 2013

Boise, ID | April 6, 2013

by Craig Juntunen “I don’t know if we each have a destiny, or if we’re all just floating around accidental-like on a breeze, but I, I think maybe it’s both. Maybe both is happening at the same time.”– Forrest Gump Boise was just a great experience, a near full house that offered a rich and […]

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April 6, 2013

Spokane, WA | April 5, 2013

by Craig Juntunen Spokane was one of two cities we added to the original tour itinerary, and after the experience of tonight we are all very glad we did. This ‘add on’ circumstance meant we had less lead time to promote the event, yet we still had a remarkable turnout. It has been very rewarding […]

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April 5, 2013

Seattle, WA | April 4, 2013

by Craig Juntunen “You may choose to look the other way, but you can never say again that you did not know.” William Wilberforce The energy in Seattle was amazing, and I do have to say that our volunteer team produced a remarkable evening. I am very grateful for this team’s effort and support, and […]

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April 4, 2013

Portland, OR | April 3, 2013

By Craig Juntunen A UNIQUE ENERGY Tonight we had the privilege to play to a relatively full house with the added honor of having Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici join us for the entire evening. Her presence and energy was meaningful in a couple of ways;  it made a statement regarding the significance of the issue and […]

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April 3, 2013

Perspectives from the Road

by Craig Juntunen Portland, OR | April 2, 2013 Today is a day off…well, kind of:  I did a few radio interviews and had the local Fox affiliate drive on the bus for a piece that aired on the 10pm news, BUT the highlight of my day is the following email that I received from […]

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Sacramento, CA | April 1, 2013

by Craig Jutnunen APRIL FOOL’S DAY At the after party tonight, I had an interesting discussion that started with a few of us but soon expanded to a small circle of new-found friends. The topic of conversation was the abundance of research that points to a child’s basic need for a permanent loving family. All […]

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April 1, 2013

San Francisco, CA | March 31, 2013

by Craig Juntunen Despite the fact that I made the rookie mistake of scheduling the screening in San Francisco on Easter Sunday, we still had a wonderful turnout to share in the STUCK experience. The surprisingly strong turnout demonstrates that the movement is gaining traction and momentum. One of our guest riders, Ross Merrin, shared […]

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Cupertino, CA | March 30, 2013

by Craig Juntunen The STUCK bus travels in the middle of the night, driving off to the next city after we pack up and say our goodbyes to the many wonderful people who created yet another unique experience. I usually sit up front in the seat next to Ron for a little bit as we […]

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March 30, 2013

Good Friday from Fresno – USA

by Ross Merrin The Santa Monica screening of STUCK and Q&A that followed was a privilege to attend. Craig has spoken about what a great country this is, populated by good people all across the U.S. Before Easter weekend, the auditorium had an energy better than most people would expect in Los Angeles, and by […]

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March 29, 2013

Los Angeles, CA | March 28, 2013

by Craig Juntunen We arrived in LA, the 21st of the 62 cities we will visit. Tonight was Cheryl and Jake’s last night as our original bus riders. We will miss them for they brought a very positive energy and can-do attitude to the team. Cheryl wrote the blog entry about our experience in Orange […]

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March 28, 2013

A New Perspective

by Cheryl Bochner I am the Director of Merchandising for the Both Ends Burning Campaign and I normally work at our home office in Scottsdale, AZ. I am currently riding the bus in California for a few days with my son, Jake, and the the rest of the BEB road team. Craig asked me to contribute […]

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March 27, 2013

San Diego, CA | March 27, 2013

by Craig Juntunen Intuitively, we all expected the unexpected would arrive many times over during the course of the tour. What was hoped for is actually happening. Individuals in each community have embraced our request to help us form a movement. Today, the first of what will be many of the unexpected elements of the […]

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March 26, 2013

Monday Night, March 25

by Craig Juntunen After a weekend at home, and the positive vibe of the standing room only crowd in Scottsdale, we get back on the bus and head to San Diego. The core energy of the tour is family, and while we all press on tonight to defend the right of a child to belong […]

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March 24, 2013

STUCK in Phoenix (Well, actually Scottsdale)

by Craig Juntunen Our tour sent us to Scottsdale, night 17 of 62. It was a homecoming of sorts, at least for me: I live in Scottsdale. The core message of the tour is that family matters and every child deserves a family. Last night was a standing room only crowd and the energy was […]

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