Breaking destructive cycles
First let me say that I can’t honestly relate to the plight of the inner-city people so I might be way off base. I just think what I would be like today if I had grown up there, probably no different than those that are forced to.
I’ve had an idea that’s been floating around in my head for about 10 years that I’d like to share. The plan has 2 segments; Education and housing.
It looks as if the inner city schools are declining and falling further behind every year. Part of this is the decaying infrastructure and the other is the decaying social structure. You can’t just throw money at it and expect to fix the problem. The most important thing that needs restoration is the self respect, integrity, and personal responsibility of the student. Each student need to be aware of their infinite self worth and allowed to feel that they have a moral responsibility, and right, to become the best member of society they can be, regardless of race or creed.
It sound kind of funny but my school model is based on my high school shop class. We had an awesome Metals shop teacher who thought outside the box and encouraged his student to do the same.
Part of our class was producing tool boxes for the Parker hydraulics company, we did all the fabrication, welding, painting, and screen printing on the boxes that were then purchased by Parker Hydraulics. The revenue from the tool boxes paid for all the shop supplies for the class so it was completely free to students, and the school.
I propose you take this concept in much larger and diverse way to allow the kids to learn valuable skills with hands on training. Part of the day would be classroom, while the other would be vocational. Some would produce the products, some would administer the business. Each child would take turns doing specific tasks so that they could find the field that they like best. The child would receive a small payment for their work and the rest would go to fund the school.
This is a very simple overview of the program. I envision it over a broad spectrum of vocations with volunteers and industry partnerships to supply the best equipment and knowledge available.
This is just as important as the school. We supply the families of each student with housing. This housing would be in the form of condominium style apartments. Most would be entitled to HUD subsidies but instead of it being simply rent it would include a partial ownership of the apartment. Upon graduation the property could be appraised and the potential cash value of the ownership used to purchase a home. The next family would move in and it would begin again. People take more pride in something they own as opposed to something they rent.
When a parent or parents apply for their child to be in the school, they would be committing to self improvement as well. This would involve parenting classes as well as a variety of other programs offered. High school drop outs could attend classes to get their GED, people with addiction issues could get counseling and group meetings. We could even offer marriage counseling.
In the beginning this would probably resemble a gated community to keep residents safe but as it grew I’m hopeful that the life skills learned would permeate the inner city culture and begin to change things from the inside out.
These are simplified explanations of the ideas in my head; I could ramble on and on!
The program could begin as small or grand as imaginable. It could simply be a couple old rehabbed buildings that grow and expand outward into the inner city until the destruction of unique and beautiful cultures stop! I am not an educated worldly person and I don’t pretend to understand the plight of the black man growing up in the inner city. All I can do is try to imagine what I may be like if I had grown up there. I know I would not be the same person I am today simply because I’ve had opportunities for self improvement. I’ve chosen to seize those opportunities whenever possible, I think this program could place a multitude of opportunities in front of its participants….Imagine the results!!!
Can a person of any race excel without HOPE?
Just felt like I needed to get this out, thanks for reading it all the way through!
Feel free to delete if this isn't a appropriate place for stuff like this.
Thanks Mr. Fuller for sharing the vision of what public housing should be like. I am 65 yrs. old and was a resident of Public Housing (Lafitte-New Orleans, LA) and I am still attached to it through Section 8 Housing. It is not that I could not escape these pockets of poverty that are created through Local, State and National entities, but doing my tenure as Director of the Sojourner Truth Community Center which I fought for, I saw and knew first hand of the disparities of being born into these labs know as projects. The rich got richer and the poor couldn't get poorer, just useless!
I was adamant about easing the and mending the social tears that society had plagued our communities with to the best of my ability, for the elderly, disable, single-parent households and youth, anyone that was in the household with job training/retention, employment, food, rental assistance, program implementation so wide-spread, the only way you failed was because of your own choices to want to remain just a statistic, tenant, death, drugs or other criminal activities. Success stories many, but there are still many yet to be told. Although I am considered a senior now, that does not stop me from being an advocate for the residents of public housing and beyond. Whenever needed, I will answer the call as long as my health, mentality and expertise can be expedited. It is the responsibility of us all to not just say, but move expeditiously to make change, if not we will have gravely and negligently failed our purpose for being here. Thanks again Mr. Fuller and much success for your endeavors.