Life story of murdered Gina is hardly unique in the Valley

Life story of murdered Gina is hardly unique in the Valley

I imagine that many people after reading the history of the young girl recently murdered in our community, Gina Burger, were surprised that such a thing could happen and may be saying to themselves thank god this doesn’t happen to that many other children. I was not surprised.

As director of a local community mental-health child and teen counseling center, Gina’s history is replicated in hundreds of the case files of the over 1,200 children who come to our doors for treatment each year. Just like Gina’s, their histories are filled with constant dislocation, multiple changes in who they live with, who has custody of them, charges of abuse and neglect against those who are supposed to be caring for them, domestic violence in the home, drug and alcohol abuse in the home, and the list goes on.

The result of such a life are psychological scars that many times may not heal and become a lifelong burden.

That these children are out there is not something new. The American Psychological Association reports 1 in 5 children and teens suffers from mental-health problems. Yet while such problems lead to substance abuse, school failure, criminal involvement and suicide, less than half of these children receive treatment and less than 20 percent get the right kind of treatment.

Stories like that of Gina’s or events such as the school shooting at Columbine are always followed by cries from public officials that “something must be done to improve and grow the availability of early mental-health identification and treatment services for children and youth.” While it has been 15 years since Columbine, nothing has been done at the federal or state level to make any significant change.

If we are to make a difference it will take more than just making more therapists available. It will take building a system of care that can wrap around these children the services and support of many people and organizations. It will take community mental health and drug and alcohol providers, schools, courts, pediatrician and family practice physicians, and many others, all working together to help such children find a path to success through a forest of hardships.

It is my hope Gina’s story will be remembered by those who can make a difference, not forgotten by our local, state and federal public officials, not forgotten by each and every one of us.

Gregory Cvetkovic, Youngstown

Gregory Cvetkovic is director of D and E Counseling Center.

Columnist disrespects women and undermines his message

Bertram de Souza’s column of June 29 titled “Oh, the indignity of it all” revealed well-worn comments regarding the unsavory image Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley has cultivated through the years.

Mr. de Souza undermines his entire message by his last paragraph that leads the reader to believe that he is of the same ilk as the characters he denigrates.

He writes, “As for the women caught up in Operation Cross Country, we should take comfort in the fact that while they aren’t Las Vegas-caliber come-hither types, they appeared to be an improvement over the ladies of the evening who troll Market Street.”

This comment hits the nail on the head in revealing the horrible victimization, which is the essence of women who are forced to sell their bodies to men who evaluate them on appearance, not on their value as a human being. Then to compound this travesty, the perpetrators who buy sexual favors are seldom publicly humiliated or charged with a crime.

Sex trafficking has become the latest outcry of our society but in every way is promoted by a society with no respect for women. How dare we condemn other societies/cultures when billions of dollars are being made by mostly male advertisers who falsely propagandize sexual freedom.

I ask Mr. de Souza to retract this sexist, humiliating comment and begin to be included in publications that demonstrate respect for his readers. Perhaps then we can also begin to show that Youngstown is a city that respects its citizens.

Kathleen Berry, Youngstown

Sales tax hardly stands a chance

Here’s the Mahoning Coun- ty sales tax as I see it. The people are taxed to death so much that they are not going to pass any sales tax or school levies. Consumer confidence is low in the area, people are afraid for their jobs, and they are concerned about where the local economy is going. They are uncertain about the direction Youngstown is going to take because of the public nuisance called the Community Bill Of Rights.

All of the above casts a cloud of doubt over the region, and it will be hard to get any levies passed.

Jim Eidel, Beaver Township

Who cares about Hillary’s wealth?

The pundits have done it again. They have taken a seemingly trivial issue — Hillary Clinton’s remarks on the Clinton family’s “wealth” or lack thereof — and have turned it into a vital issue. At least for them it is. Does anyone really care? We all know the Clintons have money.

The fact that Hillary claims that they were “broke” when they left the White House hardly left a ripple in our household. We all have more important things to do.

Connie Detoro, Youngstown