Monday, March 28, 2011

YWCA and Hodge Center Merger? Yes... Yes... Yes... Links

Photo by NS

Copied and pasted from the "Opinion" section of today's "Daily Freeman":

"Dear Editor:

Regarding your front-page story ( March 13, “YWCA wants to run programs at Hodge Center,” ), this is one of the best ideas I have heard in years!

I know that Sandy Thompson-Hopgood has struggled with what to do and how to develop the Hodge into a vital asset for the community. She is a good person with a big heart and means well, but to no avail; unfortunately it has turned out to be a federally funded baby-sitting service for families who can not afford proper child care.

Sometimes it has movies, sometimes social events, sometimes it offers food to children. As Frank Nazzaro points out, it offers computer education but on computers so old and outdated that any child learning on them would be lost and considered obsolete if they were to go out into the real work force today.

Since I moved here in 2005, I have never been able to get a schedule of classes or programs offered at the Hodge Center. In fact, I do not even see upcoming events listed in any of our local papers or in our Main Street Manager’s weekly newsletters.

Rumors have spread that funds intended for programs at the Hodge Center awarded from the community development grants and local citizens writing checks to the Food for Thought initiative are being siphoned off into other people’s special interest programs, instead of helping the children It would behoove the mayor to order an audit of the Hodge Center’s financial records for the past five yeas and put an end to these rumors.

Transparency is the key to deciding if these accusations against the Hodge Center are truth or mere fiction; the public has the right to know where its money is really going and what it is or isn’t really funding.

I know people who have personally gone to the center in the past to offer free lessons or classes for children only to be turned away with no apparent reason, I have talked with several community leaders who have tried to help guide the Hodge Center into the right direction with little or no success, with issues of two many chiefs, large personalities, and tightly controlled and protected by political favoritism.

The mayor and I have disagreed about many things over the years, but if he really wants to do what is best for the children of Midtown, he and the Common Council will approve the Y’s request and merge these two non-profits to benefit the entire community.

The YWCA has a great track record over the years. It has structure and name recognition. It has a printed schedule of weekly events and programs as well as a professionally trained staff and avid volunteers.

Nazzaro (an assistant at the Hodge Center) is quoted saying that “the community is pleased with the overall performance of the Hodge Center,” My friends and neighbors who live in the area feel quite the opposite about the performance or lack there of to date.

I know that our Alderman Shirley Whitlock, D-Ward 4, is very close to the main players who run the Hodge and its programs. But being a elected official she has to break personal ties and do what’s right for the community and her ward as a whole.

I hope that the mayor and the Common Council will do the right thing and follow through post-haste and not delay approving this win-win proposition for our children, the Hodge Center, the YWCA and the community.


"Letter:  YWCA-Hodge marriage makes sense":  "Daily Freeman"; Opinion Section; March 28, 2011;

Thank you Matthew.  {I also got permission from Matthew Ryan to copy and post his letter here}

Don't let this opportunity pass the City by! 
Write / email your Aldermen...
Show up at the next City Council Meeting...
Grow and show (if so inclined) your support!
This merger is (my opinion) a GREAT idea!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Nancy--I just hand delivered letters on this to the entire Common Council. I have known Frank & Sandy for many decades & I am fond of the Hodge, but we could use the financial help of the YWCA in upgrading our infrastructure and equipment. Last weekend it was brought to my mind quite decidedly that the program as it is right this moment, is dysfunctional.