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April 28, 2010     Feather River Bulletin
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, ' , IIlillll]lilillllllillllllllmlllmllilmtMBlliIilllllllIURllliIll .... . "-'. Bulletin, Progressive, Record, Reporter Wednesday, April 28, 2010 11B: COMMUNITY PERSPECTIVE Two perspectives on zfoster youth programs WHERE I STAND KERRI PELTIER FOSTER CARE YOUTH KELLY HOLLAND INDEPENDENT LIVING PROGRAM COORDINATOR We've come a long way from foundling homes and orphan- ages, as described by Oickens in "Oliver Twist." The days of 10-year-old children working 12-hour days in factory sweat- shops are a thing of the past... at least in first world coun- tries. These changes were made possible by a change in soci- etal attitudes about the gov- ernment's responsibility to protect the rights of children, as it protects the rights of adults. Tragic stories of child abuse and neglect are still more common than we'd like; yet, there are many successes. The following two stories one from a foster child, the other from an adult who works with foster youth illustrate the good replicated every day throughout our country. These two stories happened right here in Plumas County. The child's story My name is Kerri Peltier, and I am 17 years old, and I will be emancipating from fos- ter care in a month. I was put into foster care a year-and-a- half ago, and it was the best thing that ever happened to me. When I first arrived I had the understanding that all fos- ter parents treated their own kids better than the foster youth. In my case this was dif- ferent. My foster parents treated me as if I were their long lost daughter. I was treated equal among all of the kids and there were six of us. When I was 14, I was in an accident that paralyzed me from the waist down. I have always been treated as an equal at the foster home where I live; I am not treated any different than the other kids in the house, which I re- ally enjoy. Being in foster care you will have a lot of new people in your life. I believe when you count it out, I think there are now at least 12 to 14 new peo- ple in my business in good ways and bad. When you accomplish a goal in your life you definitely get the recognition that you de- serve, but it also works in the other direction as well. Since being in foster care I have joined the Independent Living Skills program run out of Plumas Crisis Intervention and Resource Center. This program has helped, me learn how to use my voice. We also work with the Stu- dents in Free Enterprise pro- gram at Feather River College as a mentor program, which has helped me grow into the college student that I am. Due to the SIFE program and ILP, I recognized that I was able to dual enroll in high school and college, therefore being able to get ahead on my college ca- reer. I will graduate from high school in June and I am sched- uled to start my second semes- ter of college in the fall. I am also looking for my first place of my own, which will be total independence for me. The adult's story My name is Kelly Holland and I have been the Indepen- dent Living Program coordi- nator for almost two-and-a- half years now. I enjoy my job and working with.the youth. Foster youth amaze me with their resilience and ability to bounce back. Their back- grounds vary a lot. No one has the exact same past and some will break your heart. In my role as the Indepen- dent Living Skills coordina- tor, I get to see these kids in a different way than others. I am not privy to their back- ground information, so I only get the information they feel comfortable telling me. I work with them to im- prove their independent liv- ing skills, so that when they are 18 they will be ready to live on their own. Yes, I did say 18. They will emancipate and some will be able to stay in the foster homes they have been in for years and others will be asked to leave whether they are ready or not. It can be a very scary time in their lives and that is where I come in and offer ad- ditional support. It's my job to show them that they're more than a statistic, and that their foster experience.does not brand them for failure. In our small community it is getting difficult with the housing and job market we are in. We do the best we can to link them with housing, food, clothing and the necessi- ties of life. Foster youth have so many people involved in their lives. They have a social worker, foster family social worker, foster parents, CASA worker, Individual Education Plan worker through the school, therapist and ILP coor- dinator, if they are old enough. Some of these kids go from no one really being involved in their day-to-day lives to having a team ofs to 10 peo- ple they have to meet with each month. They don't have a choice. For most it is probably nice seeing that so many people ac- tually care, but for some, how scary and unwanted that would be. Let's face it. Foster youth have so many adults telling . them what to do and what is best'for them that it gets old and they eventually tune us all out. But somehow the same ad- vice from someone just alittle older makes all the difference in the world. My program works with a group called the SIFE program from FRC, which is a peer-to-peer men- toting program. I have really enjoyed seeing : this program emerge and be- come what it is today. We ac- tually had two youths dual en-. roll last semester in high school and college, which I think was the result of feeling " comfortable on the campus and knowing people through our mentoring program. There are six foster youth who are graduatingthis year in Plumas County, and all of them have enrolled in college. Sometimes, success sure feels good. Feather River College o fdCe-rs '_field of dreams'dor all, WHERE I STAND LISA KAUFMAN KELLY, Ph.D. INTERIM DEAN OF STUDENT SERVICES FEATHER RIVER COLLEGE After spending nearly six months at Feather River Col- lege as the interim dean of student services and enroll- ment management, I have come to appreciate the state- ment that "I wish I knew then what I know now." Had I known then the com- prehensive array of opportu- nities that are available for student success as well as the open invitation for engage- mentmnd leadership, I would have availed myself of the many services and programs the California community col- lege provides to its students. Feather River College is a lit- eral field of dreams. Student services refers to the broad range of support that community colleges pro- vide to help students navigate college successfully, including academic advising, financial aid, admissions and records, disabled student services, stu- dent employment, and career and transfer services, just to name a few. Feather River College also provides programs and ser- vices through federal grant programs (TRIO) targeting students from grade six through graduation. Extended Opportunity Pro- gram and Services and Coop- erative Agencies Resources for Education are state-funded programs geared for low-in- come, first-generation college students. The CalWORKs Program's mission is to provide support services for students on pub- lic assistance pursuing any academic goal. WorkAbility III is a joint program of the Feather River College DSPS and the state Department of Rehabilitation, designed to in- crease employment opportu- nities for adults with disabili- ties. All these programs are designed to support student success and staffed by caring, conscientious and knowledge- able individuals. The college's Child Develop- ment Center is nationally ac- credited through the National Association for the Education of the Young Child. Student- parents carrying six or more units may enroll their chil- dren free of charge or for a minimal fee, depending on in- come. Associated Students of Feather River College is a self- governing body recqgnized by the coliege presiden{fil board of trustees as an impor- tant component of the col- lege's shared governance structure. Associated student body officers serve on campus committees that are involved in campus policy and deci- sion-making and are guided by an enthusiastic and com- mitted leader. The'Students in Free Enter- prise Club engages students in civic responsibility, as well as global activities with a fo- cus on service, volunteerism and entrepreneurship. Community Colleges stand at the center of change and in- novation. By offering mean- iflgful programs of study and a variety of intercollegiate sports, FRC provides multiple "fields of dreams." Fields in- clude baseball and softball di- amonds, soccer and football fields, volleyball and basket- ball courts, round pens and rodeo arenas. Dreams are realized in classrooms, labs and in the field on the river and moun- taintop. For many student athletes, the community col- lege represents a second chance to receive a superior education. Talented students who can- not afford escalating costs of education or don't have the academic record necessary to get into a university see FRC as their chance to achieve aca- demic success and be recruit- ed to schools that offer full- ride scholarships. The world-class coaching staffs at FRC pay close atten- tion to their student athletes with mandated tutoring and basic skills instruction while adhering to rigorous training schedules. Student athletes maintain their facilities by mowing fields, waxing floors and building fences; they raise funds to support travel and equipment,,Furthermore, coaches and players engage in public service, which is inte- gral in building community relations and enhancing their personal and team success. Students who attend FRC to achieve their dreams come from all walks of life: high school graduates, the unem- ployed or displaced, single parents and grandparents. According to results of an influential national survey, "The times, they are a- changin' and describing the average student these days is tougher than one might sus- pect." Majors at FRC repre- sent our diverse audience and leverage our unique moun- tain setting such as environ- mental science, outdoor recre- ation leadership, equine sci- ences and agriculture as well as university transfer pro- grams that focus on the liber- al arts such as history and English. Allied health and business programs meet the needs of the local and regional job markets. Had I only known then what I know now, I might have fin- ished college a whole lot faster and saved my parents a lot of money! I might have focused a little more and become a little more engaged. The good news is that the road led me here and I can share with our students the amazing array of opportunities right here at Feather River College. LETTERS EDITOR Guidel.ines for Letters All letters must contain an address and a phone number. We publish only one letter per week, Der person and only one letter per person, per month regarding the same subject. We do not publish third-party, anonymous, or open letters. Letters must be limited to a maximum of 300 words. The ed- itor will cut any letter in excess of 300 words.The deadline is Friday at 3 p.m. (Deadlines may change due to holidays.) Letters may be taken to any of Feather Publishing's offices, sent via fax to 283-3952, or e-mailed at mail@plumasnews.com Reunion? My mother, Betty Dunston Kenny Barkubein, was a grad- uate in the class of 1945 from Portola High School. We are wondering if there is going to be any celebration for that class this year, the 65th! If not, if there is going tO be a multiple class reunion picnic this year. Any information on this would be appreciated. If any of her classmates read this, she can be contacted by e-mail at bttymy- mam@aol.com or in care of Katie Calderon, P.O. Box 483, 5634 Solitude Trail, Pine, AZ 85544; (928) 476-4380. Thank you so much Katie Calderon Pine, Ariz. The truth? The Tax Limitation Initia- tive petition was signed by over 1,000 voters of the Plumas Hospital District. There were 908 signatures cer- tified as valid by the county recorder. Many more signa- tures could have been ob- tained; however, sufficient signatures were collected to qualify the initiative to be on the ballot. The truth is the presenta- tion of the ballot to the voters at election time is important. Petition signers agreed to the wording as presented to them on the petition they signed, not as the hospital board of di- rectors have changed it to read. The truth is the original wording, not any modification of.the wording. The truth is that we were told that the property tax rate would be within an estimated range. The truth is that the es- timate was worthless. The truth is that our property tax rate for Measure A, as the law stands now, is unlimited and the truth is that the "unlimit- ed" provision of Measure A was not included in the ballot wording of Measure A. The truth is that the sup- porters of the Tax Limitation Initiative do not wish to close the hospital. The truth is that the sup- porters of the Tax Limitation Initiative wish to limit the Measure A property tax rate to $50 per $100,000 of assessed value and that the communi- ty generally agrees that this is a fair and affordable tax. The truth is the hospital board could spend the $50/100,000 they collect each year and improve our exist- ing facility over time without incurring interest expense associated with the sale of bonds. The truth is that everyone must live within a reason- able budget and spend the money they have responsi- bly. The hospital leadership should realize the limitations of the people's ability to pay, otherwise ve up their lead- ership to others who will re- spect the people's ability to pay. Skip Alexander Meadow Valley How much? So as I watch all the news about a huge cover-up on pay- ing Sarah Palin to speak at U.C.-Stanislaus, I can't help but wonder just how much it's costing us (working Ameri- cans) for that guy in the White House to fly out and speak at Barbara Boxer's fundraiser? Mike Curran Quincy Sorry to disappoint I am happy Mr, Nahhas had a good laugh at my expense. He is apparently easy to entertain. He has failed to understand my "fair enough" as in "I will not push snow onto the high school parking lot anymore." I fully understand private contractors remove the snow from the parking lot at consid- erable cost. That was not my point.l believe any adminis- trator charged with mainte- nance responsibilities would not need a crystal ball to can- cel snow removal during East- er vacation as Mother Nature has taken care of that nicely every spring for the 33 years I have lived in this area. Mr. Nahhas, I will not be moving to the valley any time soon and certainly not at your suggestion. Sorry to disap- point you. Don Townsend Chester Easy choice There were interesting re- sponses from candidates for county assessor in the April 14 edition. The challenger's experience is primarily that of a Realtor - and developer, two jobs that promote the highest levels of property value. I noted, too, that he is not a licensed ap- praiser, whereas the incum- bent is a licensed appraiser with bank appraisal experi- ence. As for issues facing the of- fice. the challenger suggests that part of the job currently being ignored is interaction with constituents. He says that many are overpaying property taxes and would see his role as their partner in changing this, while the re- cumbent states that this has been happening. Both candidates identify the recent economic downturn as a challenge, but only the in- cumbent reflects on the need for the entire county govern- ment apparatus to adjust with reduced staff or service. Meeting the challenges they identified further amplified their differences. The chal- lenger again emphasized in- teraction with the public as being primary, citing past business experience, and voiced opposition to the bur- dens of government taxation. He claimed that one answer to all challenges is hard work. He complained about elective office being seen as an entitle- ment, yet he is running for one. The incumbent's answers, on the other hand, were spe- cific, thorough and demon- strated adaptation to current challenges through technolog- ical means to accomplish the work with fewer staff. There was a clear explanation of how "Decline in Value" is handled, both on an automatic and specific request basis. Two items that pleased me most were that the incumbent seemed alert to interactions with the rest of county gov- ernment as being the person whose forecasts partly deter- mine its financial course, and that his office cross-trains its staff. Incumbents often have ad- vantages over challengers. It's true in this case. His qualifi- cations, experience and un- derstanding of the job make my choice of re-electing Chuck Leonhardt an easy one. Bill Martin Quincy Portola boycott On Friday, April 16, I was in downtown Portola shop- ping. I parked on Commercial Street (old town) to do some shopping. I parked with about two feet of my, front bumper extending into a red zone. I noticed it when I got out of the car, but if 1 had backed up fur- ther it would have crowded the car behind me and made it difficult for them to get out of their parking spot. I looked and there was no fire hydrant See Letters, page 12B GOLDMAN, from page lOB This is about as insane a reality as can possibly be found. The difference between the tax code and the world of Goldman Sachs is: You can pay two different people to do your taxes and they will, you hope, come to the same result. It's actually possible for a professional to take your fi- nancial information and tell you how tax rules apply to you. The world of investment and the U.S. economy couldn't be any farther from that. It's laughable and frankly insulting that so early after the downturn you can already turn on a television and watch some actor tell you that he represents a financial firm that knows exactly how to protect your money. Are we really that stupid and gullible? Do we forget so quickly? I can tell you this, your children won't forget if a bunch of greedy financial school dropouts destroy our economy again because you were too busy being pissed off at politicians about taxes, the price of toothbrushes or the fact that some states are paying more for health- care than others, to focus on what's really important. Making the right decisions in the home and in shap- ing our country centers around focusing on priorities, and there are no decisions relating to taxes, regulations or your money in general that a politician will make in your lifetime that will impact you more than the cur- rentvacuum of rules or sanity that exists in the finan- cial sector.