For some reason I seem to be running on "slo-mo" this summer. I am getting things done, but it is taking me longer, as I take two steps forward and slip one step back. I have decided that it isn't a bad thing to spend a few sweltering months contemplating my next moves, but I have even slowed down my reading. There might be a few weeks with only one review, but I promise a fall season filled with top author reviews. I have gotten advance review copies of some of my favorites, but it is too early to publish the reviews for them.
Meanwhile, Arthur and I decided to do a little community give back this coming year, and after a bit of research we found a terrific place to begin. Take Stock in Children is a nationwide organization that is investing in our nation's youth. I spent years teaching in an inner-city school and worked with too many bright young men and ladies who could not imagine themselves ever affording college. It was difficult convincing a ninth grader to follow a strict academic curriculum geared towards a four year college program, when he/she came from a single family home where dinner was not guaranteed.
When a child is recommended to the staff of Take Stock in Children, the staff makes sure that he/she fits a myriad of qualifications. They must be eligible for the free lunch program and be willing to maintain a minimum solid C average throughout their four years of high school. They must attend at least two workshops that are provided by the organization each year, and they must meet with a mentor on an average of two or three times a month. The meetings take place during their lunch period and must be taken seriously. If the student fulfills all of their requirements, they receive a college scholarship...guaranteed!
We went to a mentor orientation last night and we're both duly impressed. These people care, and it shows in their results. They have a 97% rate of high school graduation as opposed to an 83% national rate as of 2014-2015. Their college graduation rate is in the mid sixties, as opposed to a national rate in the high fifties. That wasn't good enough for them, so they are adding to the program. Now students are being given mentors during their college years to help them complete their degree.
High school is sometimes an impossible maze to students who don't have people advocating for them constantly, and sometimes it is all that these families can do to keep food on the table and a roof over their head. Taking a day off of work to come straighten out a child's schedule is often not an option. When these children know that there is someone who has their back, and that their will be a college scholarship to help them out, college becomes an attainable dream.
Art and I realize how lucky we have been in our lives. We both have a college education that allowed us to work in careers we loved. These careers afforded us the ability to advocate for our two wonderful children and to help them attain their career goals. Our two are grown now, but there are many out there who need our help, and so we are off on this new adventure. If anyone wants any more info on this wonderful organization, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I did find time to read Death Witness by Paul Batista this week. It is a well written murder mystery that features a recently widowed young mother trying to solve her husband's murder. While the plot isn't the most original, Batista does a good job making his characters and plot come to life. Definitely worth reading!
As always a complete review follows this blog.