Paul Simon: We Can Be Healthy

Singer Paul Simon, co-founder of the Children's Health Fund, talks to CBS News' Jeff Glor April 25, 2009, at the site of a mobile health clinic in Detroit. CBS

The CBS Evening News spent April 25 in Detroit, profiling the Children's Health Fund, which brought medical teams to deliver health care to the children in need in the city.

Saturday anchor Jeff Glor sat down with one of the co-founders of the project's parent group, The Children's Health Fund - singer Paul Simon:

Simon began as a folk musician in the 1960s with his partner Art Garfunkel. He expanded to many different musical styles and is still a creative musical force. But 20 years ago he turned the power of his celebrity toward helping the country's most vulnerable citizens - its children.

"I didn't think fame was worth very much except when it's used in the service of others," Simon told Glor.

The Children's Health Fund's mobile clinics have spread around the country. Until now, the most devastated area it visited was New Orleans, after Hurricane Katrina. Simon says the parallels between that time and today in Detroit are striking.

"Detroit is really, kind of shares this shameful distinction of being the other city that is really devastated by poverty," Simon said. "You lose a child for their life because of an easily treatable medical issue."

Simon's goal is to fix that, in part with mobile clinics capable of delivering high-quality medical and dental treatment and preventative care to kids.

Despite the worst financial crisis in a generation, Simon says he is optimistic.

"The overall point is we have the capacity to have a healthy population. We can do that," he said. "The species has the ability to make life on this planet like a paradise."

And - even here in Motown, the folk singer from the 60s, the rocker from the 70s, the creative spirit behind so many hits still has the power to inspire....

"Your music lives forever," one woman told Simon at the Children's Health Fund Site, taking Simon's hand

Simon says he's trying to enlist other musicians - from Detroit especially - to help, and so far he's received a good response.
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