Mrs. Wayne N. Dale
(Via E.C. Mills, Bluffton Road),
I would like to thank you for the newspaper clipping about my restaurant in THE WAYNEDALE NEWS. It was a little uplift that I needed at this time. Thanks again.
Corine Johnson, owner George's Dog House, 337 N. Jefferson St., Huntington, Indiana, 46750
Dear E. C.,
Thank you for forwarding this letter honey; it made my day. I'm so glad that I've pleased at least one person.
Mrs. Wayne Dale
Dear Editor and readers,
In a most kind and thoughtful act of generosity, at a time when help was very much needed, Mrs. Jane Surbeck of the Allen County Christmas Bureau has brought in a most generous contribution to Wayne Lodge #14, F.O.P. (Fraternal Order of Police) for its annual 'Shop With A Cop' program for local children. "This year is, beyond a doubt, the roughest that we have ever had. We have a very long list of children in dire need of help and due to the near depression level of the economy, contributions are at an all time low. Turning away a child in need is the hardest thing we can possibly do," said Lodge President Phil Geller.
We feel quite strongly that the situation could not have been summed up more successively than by Mrs. Surbeck, ". . . you guys are here all year trying to help unfortunate children and since we have been lucky enough to keep all of our families this year, We are more than happy to be able to help Wayne Lodge #14 F.O.P. with its 'Shop With A Cop' program! Perhaps this will motivate others to help you as well. We know how hard you try and we wish you the very best success in your efforts to help others."
To contribute, please mail your check to: WAYNE LODGE #14 F.O.P., 111 Three Rivers East, Fort Wayne, IN 46802 or call 424-6600 for more information.
Howard Jessup, Community Benefits
To the Editor,
A recent central-Indiana's newspaper's front-page headlines reflected the contrasts of our life values in Indiana. The top headline focused on the Colts and the possibility that the team might leave Indianapolis. The mid-page headline announced the closing of the Dayspring Center, a homeless shelter for families. Pictures of Colts owner Jim Irsay and a five year-old child accompanied the respective articles. Though all people have challenges and issues of life to address, my guess is that the Colts owner slept comfortably that night after a nourishing meal and at least adequate surroundings. Not necessarily so for the five year-old. How about their respective tomorrows?
I have no idea what a professional football owner does in a day. I am sure it is productive and the community will again benefit from the presence of the Colts in Indianapolis. Just recently Colts team members again demonstrated their human connection to the residents of central Indiana. Peyton Manning's commitment to urban young men is real. The same can be said for team members who collected contributions on behalf of the storm victims. We all benefit from the Colts presence in Indianapolis. I do have an idea what the five year-olds day might be like. And the day of so many children in Indiana who have no home and who have too little to eat and who have no safe place to really sleep and rest. A place to call home. Most of us remember how fitfully we slept the night of September 11, 2001. Some children and their parent(s) live in real danger every night. September 11,2001 was likely no big change for them.
I'll not forget reading a letter from an inner city principal last spring. The principal described her day. Much of the day was spent working with the children of a family who had lost a family member in a shooting the night before. Fear. Hunger. Lack of rest. Learning to read better wasn't even on the radar screen for the children involved. In some communities, police sirens and shootings and drug dealings are just part of the every-night and every-weekend experience of children and families.
The headlines referenced above came in the midst of ISTEP+ testing. It doesn't matter if the children involved attend a private or a public school, a charter or some other school. They were taking ISTEP+, Indiana's high-stakes test for students and schools. And, their hunger and lack of stability and fear have likely extended well beyond recent memory. Their schools will be held accountable, however, for the test results of every child attending there. Do we really think that the children of similar circumstance to the front-page child have and equal chance to score well with the children who might live in Mr. Irsay's neighborhood? Yet, their test scores will be compared. Some, maybe many, will be found to be failing. Any Surprise?
There isn't enough money from all of us to keep a shelter open. But, most of us are betting that we find the additional money necessary to keep the Colts or, if they leave, to lure another NFL team to our area. Indianapolis is a better place because the Colts are here. I hope they stay. The children represented by the front-page picture will not leave nor will it take money to lure them here. They are part of us. For most, the child's front-page picture will fade. For schoolteachers and principals and superintendents, the pictures never fade. Only the potential of the students involved fades. Higher standards and higher expectations do little to help when a child is hungry, fearful, and has no place to call home. As some have challenged, we need to look in the mirror when children are hungry and homeless. How can we let that happen and not be bothered? We need to look in the mirror. Better yet, we need to look at hungry kids and homeless kids every day. Only then will we know the real challenges we face. Keeping the Colts in Indianapolis is a high priority. Giving children and equal opportunity to be well fed and live in a safe environment and come to school ready to learn must someday, become an even higher priority.
Roger Thornton, Executive Director
Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents