Maywood, It’s Time for a Call to Action

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Thursday, October 6, 2016 || By Rev. Dr. Regi Ratliff || OPINION || || @maywoodnews || @village_free

After one of the most active summers of recent memory in the Village of Maywood, our youth have returned to their respective schools in Districts 89 and 209.

The school year is already off to a great start, as individuals and groups have welcomed our students on the first day of school. This is a great start to a promising school year, as this step is the beginning to improve the performance of two underachieving school districts.

In order for our schools to be successful, it’s going to take more than adults showing up for the first day of class. It’s going to take residents from the Village of Eternal Light to make a commitment to our youth and work as volunteers for the entire school year by attending PTA meetings, school ceremonies, school plays, concerts and graduations — not just sporting events.

It is time to commit ourselves to becoming a community that is proactive and cohesive. It’s going to take a call to action from adults to show our students that we care about their future.

There is an African Proverb that states, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Imagine the growth of a student if we work together as a community to raise a child in the classroom.

Imagine the joy of a student when we take time to volunteer in the classroom to ensure they are prepared for life.

Imagine the confidence of child when they have the confidence to reject the poisons which has hurt our Village like drugs and gangs.

Malcolm X once said, “Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.”

As a former Garfield Elementary and Proviso East High School graduate, as well as the founder of Eternal Light Community Services, I am blessed to be part of an organization to have invested twenty years of year-round quality programs to our Maywood youth in the areas of public speaking, financial management, entrepreneurship, healthy living and sports (wrestling, modern dance, soccer and basketball).

Most of our volunteers and staff either reside or lived in the Village of Maywood as a child.

We want our youth in the Village of Maywood to have a passport to a bright tomorrow. We want that passport to take them on a path where they will succeed anywhere they desire to settle down as adults.

We are currently witnessing this with recent Proviso Math and Science Academy graduate and current Cornell University football player Marquan Jones. With the support of his parents, mentors and the community at large, Mr. Jones enjoys a bright future.

There are many students who are blessed with a great deal of potential like Marquan Jones. They attend our schools in the Village of Maywood and we see them every day in the Village.

With a new attitude from leadership in District 89, as well as major leadership changes which has taken place in District 209, there is a great opportunity to continue producing excellent students like Mr. Jones.

Maywood, it’s time for a change of attitude to take shape and provide full support for our youth in the Village of Maywood. It’s time for a call to action! VFP

The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the positions of The Village Free Press.

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