Reviews assure that children at pre-school are safe
In view of the protest that took place Monday in front of the our pre-school and kindergarten, Villa Maria Teresa School, my staff and I feel compelled to reassure parents and all those concerned of our care and deep concern for the children entrusted to us. The faculty and staff have always given and will continue to give love and sound teaching to your children.
Be advised that Father Hill's residence has been a matter of public record for over 12 years.
The Bureau of Child Care Services of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services reviewed the matter of his residence in June 2002. They offered no objection to his living at The Villa Maria Teresa Retired Priest Residence. On Tuesday, I informed the agency of the incident that took place on the previous day. They again reviewed Father Hill's living arrangements and assured me that they continue to have no objection.
Father Hill lives in a building for retired priests, which is distinct from the building housing the daycare and kindergarten. He has been instructed to have no involvement with the school facility. In fact he has had no contact with the school surroundings and will not have any access to the school in the future. Father Hill is both supported and supervised by the other retired priests and the sisters.
It is unfortunate that those who intruded in our privacy did not have the courtesy to contact us or the diocese prior to their planned news conference.
Sister VITTORIA NISI, OSHJ
Principal, Villa Maria Teresa School
State budget endangers programs that help kids
I am writing in the hope that readers will be moved to take action on an important issue that is before the Ohio General Assembly. As readers may be aware, there has been a lack of support for critical youth development programs with reference to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services Budget. The recently released 2006/07 executive budget eliminated funding for the Ohio Alliance of Boys & amp; Girls Clubs. This is a devastating blow to the Boys & amp; Girls Club of Youngstown, and further hampers our ability to serve the most vulnerable children in the Mahoning Valley. In light of legislation passed in 2004 that reduced childcare eligibility for low-income working parents and increased co-pays, we have experienced an increased demand for our services. The Boys & amp; Girls Club of Youngstown provides critically needed services for many of these families and their children. The Ohio Alliance of Boys and Girls Clubs are at a critical crossroads. We can't afford to serve more high risk children; without state funding.
I hope that your readers will contact their state representative and state senator and ask them to support an amendment to H.B. 66 that will provide $2 million per year in 2006 and 2007 to fund programs provided by the Boys and Girls Clubs of Ohio. This amendment calls for investing a small portion of Ohio's surplus TANF funding (ODJFS line item 600-689) to support these programs.
Fifty Boys & amp; Girls Clubs of Ohio serve over 55,000 children ages 6-18, especially those living in disadvantaged communities and neighborhoods. We provide a safe and secure environment for children whose families lack childcare. The Boys & amp; Girls Clubs enrich the lives of their members by providing homework assistance, tutoring, social recreation, proficiency test assistance, character and leadership development programs.
If Ohioans are interested in ending the cradle to the grave supervision and largess provided by the government to many persons who came from disadvantaged circumstances, it is critical to support institutions that reach people early in life. The primary purposes of The Boys & amp; Girls Club of Youngstown is to teach our members proper values, personal responsibility, and guide them to assume self-direction. Children who come from disadvantaged circumstances did not make any life choices that contributed to their situation. Let us try to provide the services that will lead them to become responsible and productive members of society; now and when they reach adulthood. Thank you very much.
ROBERT A. MARCHESE
Boys & amp; Girls Club of Youngstown