Thursday, August 19, 2010

People With Good "Intentions" Should Not Let Facts Get In Their Way

Community meetings after community meetings and now a new law titled "Illinois Youth Development" making Illinois the first state in the nation to make after-school programming official.

Sounds again like lot's of taxpayer dollars with lots of new administrative jobs, new offices and secretaries and very little leadership.

That is what has been proven in Peoria. The JS announced on May 23, 2008, in an article titled, "Community school will debut". "Kids programs such as book clubs, sports instruction, cooking classes, will be available, along with adult programs like basketball, fitness classes, a walking club and weight lifting. The resource center will be run by the the Workforce Development Board.

Problem is, none of this "resource center" ever existed unless you call the 19 computers free to anyone including business people a "community resource center". I've dropped in at this location at least 5 times and have yet to see more than one kid and no parents with kids after school hours.

Then there is the Boys and Girls Club who still FALSELY advertise a phone # and address on Grinnell when that location has been closed for 3 years, 3 1/2 months. The B & G Club also sometimes puts on programs at Trewyn which I have visited several times. Kids come and go when they please, talk whenever they please which is often among themselves, chaos to the point of having an ex-police officer on hand occasionally to blow a whistle and tell the kids to settle down.

Of course, there is a larger attendance when the food is served, the gym is open with the "instructor" shooting hoops with a couple of the boys, girls aren't present, and the rest of the kid horsing around.

Some say this is better than having them on the street. Good, but face the facts, the people in charge have no idea where these kids are either outside of the building or in the building. I have never seen a roll call.

There was supposed to be an after school program at Manual. Fact, no never was one according to the Ass't Principal and the janitors. Janitors are always the best source of knowing what is going on inside a school.

And now today's JS reports on another "what is available for our kids after 5:30"? meeting at Friendship House. What about the period from 3 til 5:30? Sports, in the high schools with maybe 3-4 kids out for tennis, again coming and going, 12 maybe out for baseball and the same in track, a few for volleyball and a select few for basketball and football. I've recommended intramural or inter city intramural competiton or just play with supervison.

Or work like gardens, etc. (see my nex blog on community gardens)

In the grade schools, not much of anything after hours that I've see. Maybe some one will enlighten me.

It is interesting to note that Community Builders who started out with $75,000 taxpayer dollars, added another $10,000 for programs at Trewyn, Garfield and Manual??, has a phone number for a Bradley University person who now refers calls to Jim Bateman who doesn't return calls. Mr. Bateman is no dummy, he knows I will ask the hard questions and go and observe these "community programs".. If you recall Joyce Banks was originally paid to run Community Builders out of an office on Sheridan Road, who told me when I called on her, "I needed to make an appointment".

She is long gone but I suspect she still has a government or taxpayer funded position,

I quit throwing money at these programs and many other people would do the same IF they looked in once in while. Wouldn't hurt to visit a few classrooms "unannounced", that way you could see what goes on and why we our public schools threatened to be taken over by the City.

The cities who have there own problems by the bundles?

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