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Soldiers To Scholars

Boost for ranks of role models

The Orlando Sentinel (Monday, August 21st)
Location in Publication: Page A - 10


What’s missing from the lives of many children growing up in urban neighborhoods is a strong, responsible male role model. That lack of male guidance contributes to misbehavior In schools and crime in the street.

An intriguing project has been introduced in Orlando, though, to address that problem. The idea. a brainchild of Florida Rep. Alzo Reddick, in cooperation with the University of Central Florida, is to recruit as inner-city teachers men who are leaving the military because of defense cuts. Under the plan they would get their teacher training at UCF and, while being trained, would be hired to work as teacher aides in the schools. That worthy experiment deserves attention.

The program also would provide participants with a rent subsidy to live in a newly renovated apartment complex in an urban neighborhood. The money for the rent subsidy would be provided by the Housing Finance Corporation. The Florida Department of Labor would provide money to market the program to people preparing to leave the military.

The program emphasizes recruiting black males because 83 percent of the black families in America are headed by a single parent, usually the mother.

The project provides potent! al solutions to a number of problems because it:

  • Offers a challenging new career path to people leaving the military.
  • Has the potential to put more male role models into public schools.
  • Has the potential to put more positive male role models into neighborhoods where their presence can be a stabilizing factor.

The project will allow the former military men to pass on to young people the lessons they have learned of leadership. self-confidence and teamwork Obviously the Project alone, will not be able to solve all the problems of inner-city neighborhoods, but it can be a significant part of the solution

(This article is out of date, several statements are wrong, i.e. no tuition assistance and the amount of rental subsidy)

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