HOMELESS CHILDREN GET HELPING HANDS
While many of us are buying text books, finding new classrooms, and deciding what subjects to drop, we may forget that there are over 6,000 homeless children in our state who are struggling to get a basic education.
In our nation alone, it is estimated that there are 500,000 to 750,000 homeless children. Approximately 40% of these children are not going to school. Those that do attend school lack money for school supplies, experience problems with transportation, and have trouble keeping up in the class room due to their transient lifestyles. Overcrowded shelters do not allow much quiet study time and many children lack any form of consistency in their lives.
Ann Irby, Government and Relations Specialist at Associated Catholic Charities, reports that going to school serves as a major form of consistency in the childs life. "School provides the first link with people that the child can see everyday--five days per week. Having the same teacher helps in the development of relationships."
Since the enactment of the McKinney Act in 1987, many states are working to provide better education programs for homeless children. Peggy Jackson-Jobe, coordinator of educational programs for homeless children at the Department of Education, explains that "the McKiney Act alleviates barriers that keep kids out of school. The children are entitled to services that any other child would get, for example, free lunches or special programs".
In Baltimore and Maryland, many programs are being developed to assist in the education of homeless kids. Already in progress is the Statewide School Days Drive to be held from October 2-6. The Maryland Department of Education and local schools are collaborating to assist homeless children by providing them with novels, books and educational games. The drives objective is to get parents, teachers, and students involved in helping homeless kids. Churches and businesses have also volunteered to donate school supplies.
The Helping Hands Project, to be piloted in November, will provide a program staff person at the main Enoch Pratt Library to assist children with their classwork. The program will provide homeless children from nearby shelters with quiet study time.
Other plans to help children includes a tutorial program in which retired teachers and lawyers would come to the shelters or nearby churches to assist children with math and language skills.
Already a success is the Lady Maryland boatride for homeless children. The sailing classroom in planned to set out to sea again this fall.
Have you ever had a question you were too afraid to ask? Has something been bothering you, but you didnt know how to express your feelings? The Lets Talk Program, which provides comment boxes throughout campus, can help. Students and employees simply write their questions or problems on the Lets Talk brochure, and an appropriate staff person will answer their comment CONFIDENTIALLY.
For example, recently, a new student expressed anxiety about starting school and making friends. The student writes:
I have a question concerning the best way to get involved with school-related social activities. This will be my first year attending CCC, and I dont know where to start. I was wondering what someone elses opinion might be as to getting on the right track. I am referring to social activities during school as well as dating.
Upon receiving the letter from the Lets Talk coordinator, a staff psychologist from the Counseling Center wrote this reply to the student:
To be shy and alone, even in a crowd, is one of the most painful experiences. As a matter of fact, many students, both returning and new, feel just as you do and dont know quite what to do. Perhaps I should list a few suggestions.
Anonymity is assured, because all questions are retyped and assigned a code. The Lets Talk Coordinator is the only person who has your name and address in order to mail your reply.
Judy Snyder, Affirmative Action Officer, states that the Lets Talk Boxes arent just for complaints or concerns. Sometimes students just want to thank a specific person, but dont know how.
The wooden Lets Talk boxes can be found in the Ad Fac building near the cashiers office, in the J building near the library entrance, and in the lounge in the R building.
|LOCALS REVIEW CLINTONS HEALTH
As millions of Americans watched President Clinton deliver his health care reform plan this past Wednesday evening, it was evident Clinton wanted health care coverage for all, even for those 37 million presently without any insurance. Clinton proudly held up a model of the health care security card, which every American would possess. Fifty minutes later, he had outlined several major issues of his plan: responsibility, security, and portability.
Under the new plan, all Americans would be responsible for contributing to their health care costs, and all Americans would have health care insurance. Portability would require that a person have constant health coverage, even during periods of unemployment or job changes. Exclusions for pre-existing conditions would be disbanded, and one, unified claim form would reduce the endless amount of paperwork. Health care alliances would be set up in each state to govern existing insurance companies and offer an optional health care package for those who chose it.
Businesses would be responsible for paying 80% of the health care premiums of full-timers. Part-timers would be responsible for the rest of the premium. Contractors would be required to pay their full premiums, but could deduct that amount from their taxes. Clinton proposed that money for the plan would come from reductions in Medicare and from taxes on tobacco and alcohol.
Several local Baltimorians were pleased with Clintons plan. Child Advocate, Josh Hickey, said, "the plan benefits people that have problems with the current system, mainly pre-existing conditions, which keeps people from the ability to have medical coverage." Hickey stated that under the new plan, medical coverage would be a right not a privilege.
Anjeu Royce, a property manager, was also pleased with what she heard. "I was glad that the president addressed preventive things such as Mammograms and pap smears, issues for women. In this way, women wont wait until the last minute."
Others, however, were doubtful about the plans success. Joyce Lyons Terhes, Chairman of the Maryland Republican Party, agreed that although coverage was needed for uninsured persons, the concept of socialized medicine would cause greater problems. "To say to every American citizen that you can have the health care that you are entitled to will end up costing a tremendous amount of money, and the quality of health care will not be as good as it is now." Terhes feels that the plan will be a "horrible burden on the small business owner, because they say you have to provide it to part-time employees. Businesses will have to make decisionsdo I fire people?"
One small business owner also agreed saying that he might have to pay lower wages to new hires and give smaller raises to present employees. Because he hires many part-time employees, he wonders how his business will survive.
The idea of socialized medicine didnt appeal to Dr. Blar, a general surgeon at St. Agnes Hospital. "There will be a lot of people waiting in the clinics, because there would be no incentive to work. This is evident in some municipally funded hospitals." Dr. Blar stated further, "our present level of care is so high, because as doctors work harder and longer, their efforts are rewarded by higher salaries. Hospitals with better reputations will attract more patients and in turn, earn higher profits."
According to the US News and World Reports September 27, 1993 issue, there are some Americans who stand to lose. Using Clintons estimated premium costs of $1,800 per individual and $3,400 per family, US News cited the following example.
A person earning $35,000 per year currently pays no premium for a company-paid plan worth $5,500. Under Clintons plan, the company would pay 80% of the estimated $4,200 plan or $3,300. The employee then is responsible for 20% of the $4,200 or $840; she is now paying more for a lower valued plan. Considering that many companies allow workers to pay part of the health premiums with pre-tax earnings, those Americans stand to lose even more. On the positive side, it is important to note that this employees pre-existing condition would be covered under the new plan, and the company would be saving $2,200.