Young reader calls for investment in community

Written by admin   // January 27, 2011   // 0 Comments

To The Editor:

I am not a financial guru, a Chartered Financial Analyst, nor a Portfolio Manager but, I know that when you invest into a project, company, or person, for that matter, you expect to gain more than you gave.  What you give does not have to be monetary. Time is just as valuable.  I write because I have an opinion and I wonder if others share my view.

• Why go to college if college can become a penalty?  Help should be temporary.  We all should be striving to be independent contributors.  Don’t penalize those who have followed all the rules.

The current state of many college graduates is unacceptable. We have many minority graduates in our community and we don’t give them enough credit or assistance throughout their college career/s and postgraduate years.

For example, to obtain a four-year degree from a public institution costs around $30,000, excluding books, supplies, meals, and housing. Where is the government assistance or help from our communities? It seems that some parts of our government would rather fund programs that keep our community and residents below the poverty level.

I am neither a Republican nor Democrat, I vote strictly on the issues not the party. Think about this scenario for a moment. You have a young black female (Subject #1) from a lower class family. She had problems in school early, but by the time she reached high school, there was a complete turnaround.  She joined the Softball team and is maintaining a 3.0 GPA at her public high school.

Now in her senior year of high school, she is looking forward to attending her local public university, in the fall! There is ONE problem, the Pell Grant and other small scholarships won’t cover the expenses of her tuition, books, and transportation needs in school, and God knows she can’t afford to stay on campus.

Subject #1’s mother is already working 2 jobs to keep food on the table, her little sister clothed and fed, and paying all other bills. Unfortunately, her mother is not eligible for food or housing assistance because she makes $.50 above the requirement for assistance.

Subject #1 is now depressed and can no longer face her friends to discuss the excitement of picking classes, and clubs she’s going to join. Yet, she has worked and met the requirements to begin college and get a degree.  Simply stated, she cannot afford it. Something is wrong.

Now you have a young lady (Subject#2), who lives two houses down from Subject #1. Subject #1 and Subject #2 used to be the best of friends. When Subject #1 decided to get her life back on track, Subject #2 refused to follow. She wanted to date and was more focused about what a “boy” could do for her.  Subject #1 tried many times to get her friend back on the right track by INVESTING time into helping her with homework.

When Subject #2 missed classes, her homework was brought to her. She was also given information on colleges and extracurricular activities but, she just wasn’t having it.  Now, this is the problem! Subject #1 and Subject #2 are both nineteen years old; however, Subject #2 has 2 kids, while Subject #1 has none.

Subject #1 is struggling to find money for college; she wants to escape the lifestyle around her, to gain knowledge, to INVEST back into the community.

Subject #2 has just moved into a brand new low-income housing complex, with 3 bedrooms and 1 ½ bath. The condo is valued at around $800 a month.  But since Subject #2 cannot find a job (due to barely graduating from high school), she is only paying $30 per month. Subject #2 also gets around $400 a month for food, and her electricity and gas is all paid.  She has a home phone to make calls on, in the case of emergency. Her youngest child ended up with an illness, so she gets disability for that child.  Subject #2 has been helped with FUNDING by the government, and the taxpayers.

Let’s fast forward to four years from now. Subject #1 obtained her BS in Education from the public university after getting $30,000 in student loans. Great!!   We have a young lady who comes from our community, with a degree.  She didn’t let funding get in the way of anything. She persevered and won!  So she thought.

Subject #2 is still living in the same complex but now she has 3 kids! She also found a job, a year and a half ago, working as a receptionist, making $12/hour. Wonderful! This is great for her. Our economy, at this time, is not in the best state so the government has cut jobs all across the board. Businesses are letting go of employees and no one is hiring.

Subject #1, now pumped to get started in her career as a teacher, cannot find a job in her field.  Schools are not hiring, as a matter of fact they are cutting budgets, so they’re letting go of a lot of teachers. Saddened that she cannot find a job, in her field, Subject #1 realizes things will pick up in the future, but she has to do what she has to do in order to get ahead in life.

She applies to many administrative jobs, secretary jobs, and other jobs more clerical that require only a high school education.  However, she was rejected by ALL jobs due to lack of work experience, or working with computers???

Ok, if you can write papers, due complex math, and budget time in college, you bet she can figure out how to do clerical work. It is now 6 months since she graduated, and the loans have started to kick in. Depressed.  How can she pay them back? Her mom has no federal assistance and Subject #1 is not working!  She owes all of this money.

Subject #1 is emotionally torn, because it seems like after all this hard work, nothing has paid off.

Subject #2 still has her job and still gets assistance from the government because $12/ hour is not cutting it with 3 kids. Nevertheless, the government has cut her FUNDING by 5%. Yes, that’s all 5%.

Subject #1 is just stuck! Where can she go? What does she do? She’s in debt but so is the government, which means they can’t AFFORD to create new jobs for her.

The government isn’t so poor that it will not FUND Subject #2…. So what is Subject #1 to do?  If she returns to work on post-graduate degrees, she increases her student loans.   If she does not find work, she is unemployed…..and inexperienced….but she played by the rules.

INVEST:  I think we have to invest in things and people that will give something back in return. I am not saying don’t help the next person but, at some point we have to take the training wheels off.

Say that Subject #1 was able to find a job; she would be able to help her mother.  She wouldn’t be so depressed that she isn’t able to mentor or help other youngsters in her community.   And she would be PAYING taxes (high taxes because she has no one to claim, except herself).  Lastly, she would be able to pay back her loans!

You get the picture! Don’t let others make you believe that a minimum lifestyle is something you want to grow old in. We can achieve as a whole in our community. Yes, some politicians are concerned about getting the assistance we need in the community but, it’s for too long and it’s been the wrong assistance. While it is okay to help Subject #2, at some time it has to stop. Think about it…

What government initiatives are designed to educate our young adults?  I mean past the high school level. I don’t see any bills passed for that.

Those bills would help Subject #1, in this depressed economy and Subject #2 who needs to move beyond the poverty level for the sake of her kids.  The community wins through increased taxes and productivity; and Subjects #1 and #2 will have healthy self-esteems from the standpoint of personal accomplishments.   We must be wise and innovative.  The rules have to benefit everyone….the taxes have to benefit everyone.  We all should want to be contributors rather than recipients.  Help should be temporary, not a permanent lifestyle!

For Subject #1 and Subject # 2, both should soon be citizens who are paying taxes and paying back student loans.  That’s a good investment!

Thanks, A young member of your community


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