Sounding off on RESPECT, homeless | Letter to the Editor
February 22, 2013 · 12:13 PM
I felt compelled to comment on articles in your Feb. 15 paper.
The RESPECT program to me seemed more like a probe/reality show wannabe. Where is the respect for privacy and for efficient use of educational time and resources. More videos with less precious educational time? We pay our teachers to teach, not be forced to follow the latest whatever fad. The article on building resilience may have been more of an ad, but it was where the RESPECT program should have been.
More disturbing was the article on homelessness, not because of homelessness, but the definition thereof.
I have known people who lived in hotels/motels/boarding homes because that was the family business. Very good homes. Shared homes only means shared expenses; nothing wrong with that. Substandard homes doesn’t mean the family structure is bad. Besides, what is substandard?
What really upset me was the reference to trailer parks/campgrounds as homeless, somehow evoking the term “trailer trash”; no respect there. In the last three years of travel RVing, I have seen many different camp/RV/trailer areas. I have watched 20-30 children get off school buses into the welcoming arms of their parents. I have seen three generations making do with what they could afford, but by no means homeless or unhappy. Yes, I have seen an occasional “trailer trash” family, but even they had support from neighbors.
What struck me the most in the last years were the couples who had to sell their homes, traveling about to look for work, some homeschooling, others perhaps leaving children with relatives, but the best was a family of three girls, husband and wife, who we got to know ever so briefly. The husband worked bringing gas to construction machinery. He had a SOLID job, but with the recession, it took him further than he could travel home each night. So for two years, the family would be living near his work. Yes, the girls missed their old friends (now in a new school) and the mom missed her more permanent neighbors, but they had DAD every night! The five of them, when homework and dishes were done, were out playing in any of the open RV spots. They would be very upset to be called HOMELESS, but would prefer the RESPECT of their resiliency!
I firmly support and applaud groups like Friends of Youth, but I really applaud families who make tough choices to remain together and off government/charity programs. That is my true respect.
Barbara Dickson, Redmond