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The Publisher | A Letter from Jimmy Dean
My dad was not a well-educated man. He did not go to college and his high school graduation status was always a point of contention. However, he was full of wisdom. Southern wisdom, plainspoken and concise, however sometimes the meaning might be hidden under the simplicity. His grasp of the world in common-sense terms far outweighed his lack of a formal education.
Were he to be around today he would surely say something like, “This country has more problems than Carter has got little liver pills.” I did not know who Carter was nor did I have an inkling of his affinity for little liver pills, whatever they were. I later learned, however. Feel free to Google it.
Another pearl among his life’s lessons he taught me is this – “Son, you can judge a tribe of people by how they treat their very young and their very old.”
Here in the Charlotte Harbor region, we have a multitude of resources for the betterment of life for the older demographic. However, studies have uncovered an ugly fact. We are not doing so well in providing our young people the basic needs. “Grade Level Reading” has been a real problem. Studies confirm that if a child is not reading at grade level by the 3rd grade, chances are far greater that child may eventually end up being a ward of the state in our penal system. Fortunately, we have organizations like the Charlotte Community Foundation that recognize these needs and deploy systems-based solutions to help solve the problem. Their “Grade-level Reading Initiative,” led by community activists like Kelly Liscum of Smugglers Enterprises, has buy-in from all the major stakeholders and has the capital to make it happen. The result? A much higher score on Grade-level reading by Charlotte County Schools.
Another real problem in our community is our homeless youth. “Couch-surfers.” School-aged children, including those in elementary school, who, for myriad reasons, find themselves without a permanent roof over their heads. In this issue, we introduce you to another jewel in our community who is seeking to provide a solution to that problem. Nancy Cwynar is a relative newcomer to Charlotte Harbor but her executive background has prepared her with the skill set necessary to match such a big, relentless problem. The very best part of Cwynar’s Homeless Student Gap Fund of Charlotte County is how she and her colleagues have designed a “mentoring” element into the solution. This is where you come into the story. You can become a big part of the solution of homeless kids. Read about her program here, and then get involved. Just do it. Your world will be a little bit better because of it.
“Eat the elephant one bite at a time.” My dad’s advice.
Enjoy our YOUTH Issue!