Today's Letters: Lack of interest a lack of respect

Published May 10, 2007

Where have softball girls gone? May 8 story

The recent acknowledgement girls are not coming out for softball is a slap in the face to those who fought so valiantly only a generation ago for Title IX. The landmark ruling made it possible for millions of women to pursue their chosen sport in high school and college. Their refusal to show any interest in this and many other sports means the efforts of women who gained equality through Title IX were in vain.

Not only are these girls and women squandering their own opportunities, they are ignoring the fact they received them at a high cost. Male programs were dissolved at some colleges and high schools so that money would go to sports programs for women to meet Title IX requirements.

Even though these sports are expensive and cost these institutions millions of dollars annually to operate, Title IX mandated these initiatives. There are no excuses that can justify the apathy on the part of young women and their parents. To not involve young girls in softball and other sports when the opportunities exist is appalling.

If young women fail to avail themselves with the opportunities they are being offered, they are not only letting themselves down, they're letting down everyone who toiled and sweated many years for the same opportunities.

It is a chance they will never get to realize because the young women of today are frittering it away on the Internet or text messaging or are too busy to take what has been given to them.

T. William and Wendy Johns, New Port Richey

Put a priority on SR 56 extension

What happened to the State Road 56 extension?

Never in my life have I seen such an ongoing fiasco like the one regarding starting and completing the 3.5-mile SR 56 extension. We have been told it would start in late March, then April, not to mention last year's promises.

I see the mall additions started and Pulte Homes building a road to connect it to Mansfield Boulevard so they can use County Line Road to start housing construction, but no SR 56 construction in sight.

The county should halt work there until SR 56 is completed.

Raymond Kobasko, Wesley Chapel

American Dream lays out its agenda

With summertime near, it is time to communicate our The American Dream plans. June 13, we will convene our sixth Congress of the American Dream Practitioners. The American Dream is an assembly of Pasco community leaders and concerned citizens seeking to alleviate the plight of children living in abject poverty.

This year, our congress will be held on the west campus of Pasco-Hernando Community College. The delegates will consider how communities can work together to become more self-sufficient and self-sustaining.

We will look at two practical programs that work toward that purpose: Pasco's own "Morning Star Fishermen" project and the Miami "Roots in the City."

The congress is open to the public, but we anticipate that most of our child care agencies will send a delegate to represent their program. As always, there will be ample time for our delegates to network, exchange ideas and discuss workable solutions for many of our child care challenges.

We are most pleased to announce Wachovia bank will be our cooperate sponsor for this year's congress. Our keynote speaker, Ardian Zika, vice president commercial banker for Wachovia bank, will share his highly personal experience.

Again this summer, we will be collecting school supplies for many children. We hope to provide needed supplies to many of our Toys for Tots children. After our main distribution, we will distribute all our remaining collection of school supplies to various Title 1 schools.

Also, Toys for Tots of East Pasco wants to help even more children at Christmas. We will distribute toys, food and other essential items to the children of our registered families. With the valuable assistance of many organizations, groups and individuals, we aim to serve more than 3, 500 children in five areas in east and central Pasco County.

In the fall, we will offer another class for Pasco County high school students on PHCC's east campus. The course, Community Organization: Theory & Practice, helps train our future leaders in the art and science of how communities are organized and how they operate.

Again this year, we will ask groups and organizations to assist these students by paying their college tuition fees. This course was our first step in creating an educational component for our The American Dream model.

We will be circulating a "needs assessment" document to all our participating delegates.

Also, we will ask our delegates' support for establishing a Pasco County-based Center for Community Studies.

After eight years of examining of the problems of poverty-bound families, it has become clear to me that we need to augment the education of our children to include the study of how communities are built and how they operate.

The proposed Center for Community Studies holds awe-inspiring implications for the future of Pasco County students and beyond.

We gratefully welcome any and all feedback from our community neighbors and friends. Please, consider attending the sixth The American Dream congress and join us in empowering our most prized possession, our children.

The American Dream is the birthright of all of our children, so please plan to join us at 8:30 a.m. June 13 on the west campus of PHCC.

Bob Loring, Zephyrhills