Are you amongst the children that attend the inner city right now? Is your name Jay Jordan? Thomas Cole? Evaughna Ammons? Jasmine Richetts? Perhaps it's Theresa Fletcher who had 3 failing grades in the first semester but has improved to have 2 C's and 1 A in her classes. Just dream with these children. Hope with them. Love them. You see they aren't any different than my own children. Than your children. Than your grandchildren. They have hopes. Dreams. Aspirations.
Is there a 'David' among these children? Where is the inner city's 'shepherd boy' that will lead others to follow their dreams? Is there one amongst these that will break the cycle? Go on to college and a career that is merely a far off dream for most of these?
Will one of these children come back and 'preach' to the others and say emphatically..."You CAN do it! You can dream and you can achieve those dreams! I know that the mountain in front of you is tall and rugged but I made it and so can you!" I believe there is, but this begs the question be asked...
Who will teach them? Who will lead them? Who will help them dream? Is this person already here? It is it Art Leslie? Lee Nipper? Diane Petty? Erin McAllister? Emily McRight? Doug Driskill? Jan Peakinson? Or the many others who devote just 4 hours a week? The answer...it is all of the above. You see, each one of these people have made the sacrifice to invest themselves in the lives of young children because they can see their own children's faces on each of the students faces. Because success isn't an issue of ABILITY it is an issue of AVAILABILITY!
Did you even realize that Huntsville has an Inner City? It does, and 10's of thousands of people drive past them everyday. Yes, it is not centrally located as it might be in Montgomery or Atlanta or L.A., but it is here none-the-less.
Did you know that Huntsville's graduation rate is less than that of the National Average? 59% compared to 68%. The reverse is true as well...The drop-out rate is higher than the national average 41% to 32%. The problem with realizing the need is in the way that I presented the first statistic.
We focus on the positive growth so much in Huntsville that we don't look at the inverse of the successes. It is not that we need to dim the light on the success of those that graduate but we never focus the light on the fact that 4 out of 10 children will not graduate. Are our lives so busy that we can't give up 4 hours a week to make a difference in the lives of one person? Perhaps they are when we have trouble fitting in 15 minutes a day to have some alone time with our own mentor and creator.
Friday, April 13, 2007
That I posted something. And it's about time that America took notice to the racist words that are used in everyday conversation. Some crusty old white guy blurts out a phrase commonly used by blacks and it's on like donkey kong. Here's what I don't understand. Imus has been crude and disrespectful for decades, why all of a sudden is this a big deal. It's a big deal because someone finally had the cohones to stand up and say "That's not right, you shouldn't say that about those girls". And they are right because when you get down to the basics they are made in the image of God just like you and me. The main problem that I have with this issue is that Al Sharpton, who somehow got elected to represent the entire black population, takes issue with these racist comments because, really, lets get honest here...a white guy said it. It is just like the 'n' word is okay for blacks to say to blacks but a white honkey like me says it and 'oh baby' look out. Don't misunderstand me here...NO one should use that word to describe any human being but Al, why have you never taken offense to blacks using offensive language in lyrics of songs and everyday language. And by the way, Al, haven't you been documented as refering to the Greeks as 'homos'.. uh, I believe so. And don't try to get the 'slogan' 'don't strip scholarship' Jackson, or should I say... Jesse "Himeytown" Jackson involved here. Where is the outcry against these racial slurs? And while we're looking at inconsistencies what about Hilary "I'm having trouble controlling the VOLUME OF MY VOICE" Clinton who has publicly expressed here disdain for the comments and yet has no problem taking $800,000.00 from a record producer who puts out his own albums in which one 3 minute song contains the 'n' word 24 times. Double standard or does money cover a multitude of sins....