A non-profit youth sports organization targeting underprivileged youth. Great idea. But can I do it?

        I live in a Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. It is a lower income city, in the northeastern  part of the state. We are about 15 minutes from Scranton and about 90 minutes from Philadelphia. At one point it used to be a nice place to live but over the years it has become crime ridden. In fact it is number 18 on the list of top murder cities, did I say that right. Everyday the drug use and crime seems to sucking up another kid and spit them out. There isn’t an inexpensive   place for a kid to play and learn fundamentals in a sport. The cheapest  basketball is $50 bucks at the CYC, a place where the refs told me if they called every foul there would be no score. This is an instructional  league. Any type of travel team or AAU  team gets very expensive. Many of the kids around here are unable to play because of their financial  situation. You would think the YMCA or CYC or someone  would offer a spring program or summer program at an affordable  price. They do not. Nor does the city. I wrote my Congressman Matt Cartwright  several days ago asking him for some direction  and he never responded. Who is there for these kids?

         I want to start a non-profit  youth sports organization  for underprivileged  children. I want to concentrate  on 2 sports, basketball and soccer. Those are the 2 sports you need the least amount of equipment for. Less money for families to spend. I want to offer these kids an option other then drugs, drinking, fighting, gangs or whatever else they may get into. I want to offer a kid the same opportunity  a wealthy kid gas, why punish a child for a parents station in life. I see so many incredible athletes who lack the fundamentals of their sport. For basketball at the CYC, you get 1 hour of practice a week. You get the privilege of playing school teams who practice quite a bit more. Many kids spirits are crushed because of this. A kid who I’d fundamentally sound can compete with less talent, causing that kid to carry better grades, stay out of trouble and stick with their commitment. I don’t think we should be getting wealthy off of kids playing sports, AAU and travel soccer teams. Why aren’t the kids coming first?

          I want to be able to defer cost through federal, state and corporate grants. I want this to focus completely on the forgotten youths of a dying city. Anyone who has played a sport will tell you that it helps you in many other aspects of life. You learn a work ethic, discipline, teamwork, confidence and make lasting friendships. Through all of this you avoid trouble or you cannot play or be with these friends. Some kids can get an athletic scholarship because of this, some will get an academic  scholarship because they work harder to keep good grades because they want to play and go to college. It changes how many kids life daily. Why not offer a program that helps them?

         When the kids would enter are program there will be certain obligations  they must meet for us to defer their costs.
1) They must maintain a B average in school. If I a kid needs help, I would like to offer a tutoring program. Education is the key.
2) They must stay out of trouble. Any detention or suspension will be met with the same at our program. If it us a continuing problem we will refer it to a facility to help. We will try not to leave a kid behind. But they must realize there are repercussions for your actions.
3) They will be required to do volunteer work at a soup kitchen or any other program that requires volunteers to help the needy. To teach them empathy, compassion  and remind them that there are people who have it worse. After my daughter did these with the Key Club at G.A.R. High School she couldn’t wait to go back to help again.
4) To participate and help organize community outreach programs periodically. Several times a year. Anything to reach out to help those less fortunate, even if it is a free basketball or soccer tournament. Through this they will hopefully take pride in their community and look for ways to help improve it.
5) Summer programs and clinics that the kids can help teach. Teach them to give to others in order to help them improve their situation.
Most importantly I want to keep them off the street and out of trouble. Have impromptu  3 on 3 basketball  tournaments, 5 on 5 soccer tournaments. For those that want to play AAU or travel soccer, we will offer those programs but ask the kids to hand out flyers or participate  in fund eaising, all with a qualified adult present. I would like in the summer to offer child care to low income families. Several hours a day. Introduce them to a sport, get them outside and active. Have dodge ball tournaments. We need to fight childhood  obesity  as well.

            I would also like to offer affordable clinics for coaches. Youth coaches effect a child more then many people realize. It would help if they had proper training that didn’t eat up a lot of their time or money. Youth coaches are typically volunteers. They deserve some thanks in this grueling process. The better the coach, the better chance a child has. I want to build a facility  with several indoor courts, several outdoor courts, 2 high school size soccer fields and 2 small children soccer fields. Maybe I am being naive, but I believe this is needed where I live and in most other areas. Why can’t we be the template everyone else follows? I know some areas offer something similar to this. Now is the time for Wilkes-Barre  to offer it.   If you want to take your community back, wouldn’t this be a great jumping off point? Now to figure out how to get it done. Any ideas?

2014, a year closer to the end of America?

         The title may seem conspiracy like or even reactionary, but it is not far off base. If we honestly look at some of the things that transpired this year, you have to admit that this isn’t our parents America. The land we live in has fallen quite short of what I thought we were. But this is a disappointment I have gotten used to. Republican and Democrat blaming each other, while both are suckling Wall Streets teat. More insane nut bags threatening our “monkey” President Obama, because his skin color is bothering them. Conservatives pining for the time when white American men were the only people who mattered. Cops not just being bullies, but now shooting and killing unarmed black kids, then saying they felt threatened. Then trying to understand how an adult justifies shooting 12 times at someone running away, while my 10 year old daughter tells the grown up it is wrong. Cops using an illegal choke hold to kill a guy who was selling “loosey” cigarettes, only to hear more adults justify it. Then trying to explain to my 10 and 13 year old kids what is wrong with these people without calling them dumb. This list can go on and on. But seriously, what the hell is wrong with us?

            Everyone screams that things need to change, but when your voice is heard the majority sit home. The American society has failed. We are in general a weak and lazy group. Not all, as I said in general. To show our unhappiness we sit home, to show our social disobedience, we sit home. Sitting home and not participating seems to be the universal answer. America is the way it is because of US, WE THE PEOPLE CREATED THIS MESS. Our apathy has left a shell of a nation for my children. When we can change something, we do not because the devil we know is better then the devil we dont. Unfortunately we have left the fox in the henhouse, we stopped paying attention. Now everything seems corrupted, anyone with the tiniest bit of power has eaten the poison apple. Who cares, no one was watching them. Cops are beating black kids, don’t break the law. Killing black people, don’t break the law. But a black kills a white and all hell breaks loose. Politicians, even the ones where I live are under investigation for being corrupt.

           I love the freedoms I have but I have been negligent of my responsibilities as well. As a democracy, we are responsible for the actions of our representatives, we stopped telling them what to do because they quit doing it. If I stopped doing my job, I would get fired. CONGRESS SHOULD BE FIRED!!! 9% approval yet 94% reelected, what is wrong there. This apathy goes right into how people think. It is easy to hate and be bigoted, doesn’t take any thought. Simple minded people hate people based on color and creed. Stupid and loud people hold a lot of power in this country. How did we allow this? Money is some cases, because in some warped world money means intellegence. Laziness in others, why debate a dumb person, they will never change. We all seem to listen to the loudest speaker, typically the most ignorant person in the room. So this because our education system failed us or just because we lost faith in everything?

             I don’t have any answers. I can’t tell you what is right or wrong. I can tell you that my convictions are changing. I have always been a very liberal Democrat. The liberal part has grown stronger, I believe we need to help one another, foster a sense of community and continue to help the weakest among us to rise above where they are. We are a wealthy country who needs to commit resources to our infrastructure, education, homelessness and better health care, as well as mental health. We need to reel in the police, educate, better training and better mental health screening, as well as holding them accountable for their actions. The same needs to be done with our leaders on all kevels, state, local and federal. As well as TV and radio personalities who spread vitriol and lies. Time for all to be held accountable for their actions. That is a start. To improve our government, term limits for House, Senate and Supreme Court Justices. Time to remove money from politics and deny personhood of corporations. Even the playing field, end lobbying. The Democrat part has been called into question. I agree with them more, but they are also guilty of putting money before the people.

         In general 2014 was another year we failed our children. I will not anymore, my children will see that I believe it is time to stand. There is a movement in this country, it has been building slowly but it is building. I think it will reach a crescendo soon and we will see massive change. It is a dangerous and beautiful time to be alive. We will take our country back. We need to reverse the trend and improve in all aspects. If not America Jay be doomed to fail. Happy New Year! HAPPY NEW AMERICA!!!!

Ferguson , we are gonna burn this mother up.

     Martin Luther  King  Jr  once said that rioting is the voice of the voiceless. I don’t think I have ever read words that seemed so true. The voiceless act out, in order to make those not listening hear. Sadly it also gives those that belittle them more reason to do so. They say violence creates more violence. This case is a perfect example. A cop uses excessive force in order to kill a teenager who hit him and allegedly  ignored his orders. Another case of police brutality, especially  towards young black men. It is an epidemic that the main stream media refuses to acknowledge .

      Darren Wilson was a cop in Ferguson, Missouri. That is after he was removed from duty in the Saint Louis   police department for his treatment of minorities. He was hired because it is cheaper to hire an ex cop then to train a new one. Ferguson’s population  is over 80% black. Of the 53 police officers only 3 are black. There is only one black person on the School board and one more on council. So a city with the population  being a majority of black Americans is being represented by predominantly  white people. Over 93% of the arrests in Ferguson  are of blacks. While 1/5 of blacks were found with illegal contraband, 1/3 of all whites arrested were found with illegal contraband. The prosecutor who announced the grand jury verdict has prosecuted 5 cops, all have gotten away free and clear. Most grand juries return the verdict the prosecution looking for, I guess that explains what this prosecutor was looking for.

      If Mike Brown did attack a cop, he was wrong. But for a cop to fire 12 shots at a suspect, hitting him 7 times, all in the upper body seems like overkill to me. For a cop to fire at an unarmed fleeing suspect seems even worse. For a cop to fire at a surrendering suspect is worse yet. For the prosecutor  to wait 100 days to bring it to a grand jury is ridiculous. For the prosecution  to allow officers who weren’t there when the altercation happened seems a bit out of the ordinary, considering  only the cop, Mike Brown  and a few other witnesses were there. To not cross examine the cop who committed this act is positively ludicrous. All of the inconsistencies in Wilson’s testimony are blatant. The fact no indictment was found is baffling, unless we believe what we don’t want to believe.

          The system is rigged and black people still do not have the rights of white people. I am a 40 year old white man, I could never understand  what a young black man goes through. Is some brought upon themselves? I am sure there is but shooting an unarmed kid is disgusting. If anyone really believes that racism is dead, they must be living under a rock. A kid shot in Walmart because he was holding a b b gun,  Trayvon Martin and how many others that it happens to daily. I thought all that was fought for in the 60s was rock solid, truthful and all of us believed in ut. How naive myself and how many others were.  It is not just at this level, but racism is prevent in the Republican party, as well as the Supreme Court. How can you hate someone you don’t know?

         As the fires raged in Ferguson, I thought to myself, change always seems to come from violent acts followed by peaceful protests. A leader needs to truly emerge to lead this change, AL Sharpton and Jesse Jackson are not those leaders. These fires burning in Ferguson represent the rage and hate at being treated as if their lives mean less. It is a blow to a system that holds a rich white man to a different standard. Sean Hannity told Clive Bundy that he was a true patriot to fight the government  with guns because he refused to pay taxes and they were taking his cattle. But the people in Ferguson were wrong. Hypocrisy be damned. Ferguson burned in the hopes that the next time this happens maybe there will be justice for the victim not a thug with a uniform. Ferguson burned for every person that was bullied, beaten and shot by the cop who thinks he is above the law. Ferguson burned as an example. It is an example of what we need to do to effect change in our country.

People are unable to take responsibility for what they do.

                When I was growing up, things were a lot different. When you did something wrong I was held responsible for it. I did something wrong, purposely or by mistake,  I was made to apologize, as are my kids now. People ask what is wrong with our kids today? Let me give you some of what I think.

              As a parent we are supposed to hold our children responsible for their actions. This is how they learn from mistakes. If there are no repercussions for actions children will continue doing them. If your child takes something that is not theirs they should apologize. Even if it is a mistake, especially when they were around them for an extended period of time after the fact. A parent should not mske excuses for the child. Honestly, how hard is it to say I am sorry?

                  When a parent does this they set their kids up for a tough existence. The kid is going to think they can do as they will and their parent will bail them out. This is a recipe for a future prison sentence. If they believe it is ok to take what isn’t theirs, they are never going to adapt to everyday life. When a parent screams and comes to the defense of a child who is getting in trouble for something, it sets a horrible example for the child.

                     I personally have dealt with a parent like this and it is frustrating. The parent has gobe as far as to say I had a vendetta against their child. She took something that wasn’t hers and I am giving the child a chance to apologize either to the team or to the girl in private. The mother said she did it by accident and she shouldnt have to apologize. If I had a vendetta against this child, why would the parent let her child play for me.

                  People that parent like this make it harder on all thosr arpund them. Kids are walking on eggshells around this child. I don’t believe any other child should suffer for this parents horrible behavior. But it will always b e someone else’s fault and they will take the fall for thus parent. I will not, I will do what I believe is right.

How do we handle our child being bullied?

          It seems at least a few times a month I read about a child committing suicide because they were bullied. I am sure it is more frequent but not all make the news. That does not diminish the fact a life was ended early because another person or people bullied them. I ask myself, what should we as parents do to protect our child?

           We all know, having dealt with other children when we were younger, how brutal kids can be. Kids get picked on for being poor, having pimples, the house you live in, sexual orientation, eyebrows, we could go on all day with this. Kids brutalize one another emotionally. Some kids are picked on by large groups, sometimes it is one kid, sometimes it us physical and sometimes its mental. Either way it affects each kid differently.

                Schools create anti-bullying programs and tell parents and children to talk to teachers and administrators if there is a problem. It does not work. I have seen these programs at work and I assure you that they let kids down. School should be a place they feel safe and a teacher a person they feel they can go to. The unfortunate truth here is that most bullies parents are just as bad as the bully. In turn if a teacher attempts to take care of a problem they are then bullied by the parent.

             How to handle a bully parent? I think a parent that attempts to bully their child should have charges levied against them. I am all for protecting your child, but if several kids are saying your child is picking on them, chances are its true. Parents of the bullied child attempt to let the school take care of the problem. Then when the school can’t the problem in some cases is too far gone.

            If we truly want to stop bullying, which will never happen. But if we want to make it less we need to hold the parent, teachers and administrators all responsible. If a child is being threatened by a parent we need more comprehensive protection for that child. I am not a perfect parent, but I try to keep my kids aware of how they treat others. It would be nice if other parents did so as well.

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Bullying, what us our responsibility?

            Bullying is a very serious problem in todays society. With social media kids today do not have an escape from their tormentor. It is a constant issue for the child being bullied. Is it a problem caused by parenting, a chemical imbalance or just mean children? I am not sure we will ever really know, but we need to figure out the right way for administrators and parents to get involved.

                Asking a teacher today to get involved and prevent bullying is very difficult. First most teachers are teaching a class with 30-35 students. Second teachers are not allowed to handle problems in a way that would actually stop the bully. When we got in trouble as a kid, and if it was bad enough you would get paddled. That is no longer an option. Third and this is bothersome it seems as if many, not all teachers don’t want to he bothered. Fourth, I think on some levels teachers are afraid of students because of the harsh way students sometimes react. An example is Columbine.

               Administrators are stuck in a different position. They do not deal with the kids everyday, so they do nit know exactly what is going on. They tend to take the side of the first person to come to them, whether it is right or wrong. In more cases than wecwould like to admit they just do nothing. My child personally did not deal with this, but knows several children who did. Administrators need to be held responsible for what happens in these cases.

             Then you have the parents. Instead of parents trying to stop the bully from bullying they protect them from trouble and bully the people trying to hold their kid responsible. It is in these cases a learned trait, we have been seeing this more lately. Then you have the parents whose child does not do anything wrong and will argue with anyone who says their child is guilty of something. We need to hold the child responsible as well as the parent and maybe punish both in order to get control of this.

            There are way to many young kids taking their own life because of bullying. We need to get a handle on this and protect our children. Holding people responsible would be the first step.

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The bully gets involved through another kid.

               My wife got a text today from anothers girls mother. The girl goes to school with my daughter. The mother asked if we knew why the girls didn’t want to hang out with her daughter. It was bothering my wife how to answer it.

                 A lot of the girls come to our house to sleepover or hang out. The girls talk to my wife and tell her slit of stuff. They told my wife they didn’t want to hang out with this girl for several reasons. One is that the girl hangs out with the bully, the girls don’t want to say something that would get back to the bully and cause a problem. They don’t want to be around the girl because she is mean, starts trouble and always tries to make others feel bad for her.

                 Now these are not things you can tell another parent. My wife answered the PC way. She said the girls were uncomfortable because of the problems they had with the bully. The mother got angry with my wife and said she wouldn’t tell her kid who to be friends with. But she is willing to tell all the other kids who to be friends with. Some of these girls were actually threatened by the bullys mother.

                 What is sad is that again a parent is getting involved in kids stuff. These parents will not leave it be. At one point my daughter only hung out with one girl for a while. We did not give the other parents a problem, we let her find her way, which she did. Maybe if parents stay out of it things will get better for their child. This bully is still bothering these girls.

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