invisible homeless kids

Hard to imagine that in this country way over 1,700,000 kids are without homes. H-O-M-E-L-E-S-S Kids. I don't get it. Are we willing to discard these kids? Not me. So this blog will relentlessly focus on this issue, hoping to light a spark to fuel a compassion epidemic. Chime in, argue, but do something....

Monday, May 16, 2011

Homeless Kids of All Ages Thrown Under the Budget-Busting Bus

The longer I stayed to film at First Place Kids Center in Eugene, OR, the more furious I got. Nothing about this center's pending closing makes any sense. But what does nowadays?

If you think budget cut talk is a bunch of hype, think again. I hear and see worthy efforts being stymied or slashed to death, as is this kids' center, everywhere I turn. The carnage hits all age brackets and all on the poverty spectrum. My bias--it's the little kids that have the most to lose. That's certainly the case for Eugene's "littlest nomads" without this first-class daycare program.

The kids lose. They're in the most crucial development stage of their life. Stimuli, learning opportunities, socialization, nutrition, structure, stability...all of this and more are what they need lots of, in a safe, clean environment. Sorry, despite best effort of parents and shelters, those environments usually lack what these kids need.

Parents lose. Ever try to look for a job or housing with a 3-year-old? Do you feel guilty when you can't provide a decent meal, clean diapers, or just some quality time with your little one? Have you ever spent a rainy, chilly day in a beater-car with your little one(s)? I'll stop here. You get the idea.

We lose. When kids show up to school, they should be school-ready. But kids don't become school-ready magically. It takes loving effort--lots of it--like what I saw at the Kids Center (1-min. video I shot). When kids aren't school ready, their chances of success--at school and life--diminish. You can figure what happens then.

I'd like to be an optimist, but these are not the days for Pollyanna. These are days for Diane the Fire-breathing Dragon. The daily litany of drastic cuts on local, state and federal levels targeting these kids, and the rest makes me agree with my friend Pat LaMarche who penned a powerful HuffPo piece about politicians' contempt for the poor. I can't figure another way to take this. You can tell me if Pat/I are wrong.

Seems to me that we should have been paying closer attention to the riots in Egypt. The injustice they were fighting against, the have-lots' contempt for the poor, is the same thing we're seeing here. The difference--we elected these contemptible hypocrites. You can figure out what needs to be done....

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