Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Spouting Off...Sorry

I thought I'd at least start with a cute picture of my kitty.  OK...he's an old man in cat  years but he still acts like a kitty and I just love him to pieces.

I'm going to be spouting off beginning now.  If you want to hit exit, I will understand.

I don't like it when people don't do their jobs.  I really don't.  I find it quite irksome.  Especially when it comes to children or vulnerable adults.

Before any of you sweet people might jump to conclusions, Becky has had 2 great days at school.  She and my son are fine.  Technically anyway.

Unfortunately, it's more often than not that I have to assert myself as an advocate for my children.  If you had known me before children, you would have known me as pretty shy and unassertive.  I'm still that girl except when it comes to kids.  Any kids but especially those most vulnerable. 

That's why I quit my job as a Special Educational Assistant.  I could not understand why people spent time and money on a college education to earn a license to "teach" special education when they don't even LIKE special ed. children.  It IS a high burn out career but they should know when to bow out gracefully instead of abusing the kids either physically or emotionally.

That's not the issue I am facing now.  But it has to do with wanting the best for my child.  You see, she's involved in on the job training (OJT) which is supposed to prepare her to transition to adulthood...earning a paycheck, learning how to use a checkbook, pay bills, pay taxes, etc.  My son went through the same program and had several paid jobs with merchants in the community.  It was great..for him and for me.  As a single mom it sure helped the budget that he had his own money and made me so proud to see him so proud earning his own spending money.

Fast forward to now.  They have my daughter doing 3 "non paid internships."  I call it volunteering.  I have asked the school why she can't have a paid position and am told "It's due to the economy" or I am ignored.

Today, Becky wept when she found out she won't be getting paid. It devalued her HER eyes. She did have a paying job last year but had to go on a medical leave due to a blood clot. All is well now though.

After doing some investigating on behalf of the Seniors that are in the same boat I have learned that there seems to be only 1 paid position.  I can name several merchants that used to pay these kids for an hour or two of work, every day for an entire school year.
I try to be fair in my assessments so I considered that maybe the merchants had backed out of the program.

So today, I went to one of those merchants and asked if they would still hire special needs kids and was told enthusiastically yes.  I thought perhaps they had a bad experience with the program and was assured this was not the case.  Upon further discussions I learned they would willingly pay a student to work in their establishment and that the school has not even approached them to see if they are interested!

Here's my gut feeling, mother instinct, whatever you want to call it.  I believe someone ( probably more than one) are not doing their job.  I also think they are not doing their job because they are not aggressive enough, or more likely, and this hurts, they do not believe in the value of these special people.

I speak of my daughter first hand but can assure you, I know MANY other special students that can do the following and do it with pride:

Dust, vacuum, sweep, clean tables, greet customers, stock shelves, take out garbage, learn to prepare some food items, clean mirrors and windows, work in clerical positions just to name a few!  And let me tell you, most of them are very hard workers and take PRIDE in the work they matter what it is.

In other words...

My child and many others like her ARE VALUABLE and can be CONTRIBUTING CITIZENS if we work together to make it happen.

Thanks for listening.  You help more than you could know.


Bonnie said...

Everyone has value. You are a good Mother.

BettyJean @ Shabby Tea Party said...

Oh Jill I feel so bad for Becky. I suspect you are correct that someone dropped the ball somewhere along the way or is being lazy in their job, just doing as little as possible while collecting THEIR paycheck!! Probably didn't even bother to contact these merchants who have been involved in the program in the past, and who would be willing to hire these students. How aggravating! On the other hand IF there IS some reason that the students are not paid this year it would be worth an investigation to get the answer from the school as a comfort to Becky. I know when I was in High School we had the opportunity to be bused to a Career Center for certain career classes. I was interested in the Business Class there but was told they didn't have room for me. My cousin from another city was attending this class and told the instructors about my dilema. The Career Center called my school and told them to sign me on. So I did actually get to go only because my cousin put in a complaint. After graduation, the Career Center ended up hiring me as the lobby receptionist and secretary to two guidance counselors. Hope things work out for Becky. Hugs to all,

Mommie Dearest Strikes Again said...

Don't apologize! You are being a good mother and looking out for your child. Good for you! And I agree with you 100%!

TexWisGirl said...

i know you're going to re-approach the school administration to try to rectify this through them. and if that doesn't get resolved, is there a way you can circumvent the school and go directly to said merchant?

Sharon said...

Have you considered going to the next school board meeting? Or town hall meeting and bring the subject up? The kids need that work experience, sure, but they also need to learn the money end of it and they can't learn that without getting paid.

Okay, I am burning a bit, myself...

Melodie said...

You are so right in every one has value And obviously the merchants that hired special students in the past thinks so too! This work program is so important,I hope you can find out who has dropped the ball and get them straightened out!

Sonya Heilmann said...

That's just not right! I hope you can get things worked out with the school. EVERYONE has something to offer.

Paula said...

I agree with you. My brother-in-law helped pack the little plastic packets with knives and forks and salt and pepper packets for take-out food. He was so proud of his pay check. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

"My child and many others like her ARE VALUABLE and can be CONTRIBUTING CITIZENS if we work together to make it happen."

You are 100% correct! I'm sorry that Becky feels this way and has been hurt by this. It upsets me just reading it. I hope that something can be done so Becky can get the pay that she deserves.


missing moments said...

A lot of good ideas above ... hope you can work something out for her! Such a good mom, you are!

Debbie said...

taking on the world....the world better watch out!!

you are such an awesome mom, becky is so lucky to have you!! xo

Ellie said...

I was getting annoyed for you when I was reading this. Children SHOULD be rewarded for working, if they don't what kind of sign is that giving them.
Go to that school and give them what for - I totally agree with you.

Gloria said...

Lots of good ideas above! Hope you will be able to get thru to the school!!!

Samantha said...

The economy, huh? So I guess businesses are asking other employees to donate their time as paycheck?

Madi and Mom said...

One of my favorite cafes here participates in that OJT program.
All of the participants are such good workers, take pride in everything they do and one young lady in particular could be a good well ambassador. She has such a pretty smile, very friendly and always has a nice word for everyone. I do hope things will improve.
Hugs Madi and Mom

Madi and Mom said...

PS Your kitty is quite handsome. Is he a Maine Coon?
Hugs Madi

Nancy @ A Rural Journal said...

Perhaps you have the connections to bypass the school and start your own work program for kids like your daughter who want to earn some extra money? Just a thought. :)

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

First off, fuzzy orange cats are my favorite cats in the whole world. Just so ya know.

Secondly, that just blows. How frustrating for the kids. I had a lot of kids in job training programs like that when I did probation, and they always paid, albeit not a whole lot, they always paid something!

Susan said...

Yes, Jill, I agree, it's awfully disappointing for Becky to not be paid. Something is definitely wrong there. I understand completely why your hackles are raised on her behalf. I feel so sorry that this has happened.

Also, apart from anything else, you've found that there are willing merchants who would gladly employ trainees on an ongoing basis. For these merchants to be disregarded like this is a real 'smack in the face' to their good community spirit.
It highlights the complete lack of interest on the part of the organisers of the programme. You've also effectively proven that their excuse that "It's due to the economy" is not true.

I do hope this situation can be sorted out.

Dar said...

My heart goes out to Becky. I would have been disappointed too and am so happy you are an active mother in her needs, and others. You are an awesome mother. Thank God there are merchants out there that DO want to do their part to make a better community/learning experience for the students. Applause to you once again and best of times for Becky and your son. They are wonderful.

Furry Bottoms said...

Sheesh, how interesting is that? I wonder if you told that person's superior, what would happen? I mean Becky deserves every possibility out there that she wants. This makes me mad.

Thank god for you, however. You found this out.

My cousin has downs syndrome and while yes, she has limitations, she can do anything. She is amazing. She volutnteers in a library and gives seminars and so many other things. She is actually living a better life than I am, and I am not sorry. I am proud of her!

Donna said...

That's the SAME complaint my Sister had when her Son (my nephew, Bryan) was in school!!
WHY work somewhere you REALLY don't LIKE working???
What a shame!

Ed Pilolla said...

you basically did some good old fashioned reporting and caught someone not being completely accurate. good for you. that sort of initiative earns you the credibility to be an outspoken advocate. it sounds like you don't want to be 'that mom' but that mom is the mom that gets changes made. that mom gets respected, maybe not liked.
the unpaid internships is volunteering. the labor rights so many grandparents fought for have been torched. why pay someone when you don't have to? laws don't matter. the enforcement of laws matter.

Dianna said...

Hopefully some changes will be made because of your investigation, Jill! Good for you!

Chatty Crone said...

I know a lot about what you are talking about - and it is exhausting to be the parent and caretaker and worrier of one. Hugs. sandie