tabling at Wheeling HS May 13, 2016

Friday the 13th.

Not a lot of traffic at the table but had several good conversations. I was talking to one  young man about his plans for the summer and he told me he planned to spend it in Mexico with his father who has been deported. The young man was born in this country but neither of his parents were. His father was deported; his mother is at risk. His father has adapted and seems to have no interest in returning. He is a Sophomore and has no idea what  he wants to do. He would like to go to college but the whole process of college application is overwhelming. He has no idea how to start and cannot rely on help from home. Plus he doubts he will ever have enough money. So his future is not particularly hopeful. Ideally he could benefit from resources at his school. But that leads to the next item.

My contact at the school is a woman who works in the College and Career center. She told me that her job has been cut to half-time. She's not sure she'll even be back next year. She is divorced and although her kids are grown, she's still too young to retire and can't afford to. Of all the programs they could cut, the college and career resource center should be low on their list based on the story of the young man (above) and countless other students who need a lot of guidance as they try to figure out their path. I told her they should consider cutting the NJROTC program down the hall instead - she chuckled.

One of the security guards told me that on Monday they have to take turns escorting a young Wheeling student around the school because he is getting released from jail (yikes!) and the police officers can't be bothered to do this. (His words).

Two young women paused at the table. I offered them a sucker. One said "I don't want one but I'll take one home for my kid." (Yikes again).

Final note - results of our "scientific" poll to the question "Should women be required to register for Selective Service" - 3 yes; 1 no.


tabling at Hersey HS May 12, 2016

The following are the highlights of my visit to HHS today:

        AP testing was being conducted in the gyms

        R, the fellow I’ve been talking with for the past couple of years, who is enlisted in the D.E.P. for the Marines, stopped by to say hello

        A number of young women stopped by for buttons and Starbursts – and I gave away a few zines

        At one point I had 6/8 young men at my table talking about the selective service, women’s involvement in the service, gangbangers in the army, the draft - discussing the pros and cons of the draft … we actually had an interesting conversation with input from a number of the students

        Then R stopped back to hang out for a few more minutes -  he’ll be graduating next month and going into basic training in July. He received an A on his ASVAB test and hopes to be an electrical engineer in the Marines. R has a couple of family members in the service now, as well as, his father and uncles served in the past - his mind will not be changed. We said our good byes today in the event I don’t see him in June. He’s a good guy – I wished him well and told him I hope he’ll be safe.


tabling at Buffalo Grove HS May 9, 2016

Again, I placed the display with the question "Should women have to register for Selective Service?" Many students were ambivalent because they thought we should get rid of the entire system. But we didn't ask them that question. So, there were 12 "yes" (yes, women should have to register for Selective Service") and zero "no". Many of the students knew what the Selective Service system is; very impressive.

The young woman stopped by that had wanted to write something for the zine but didn't get it done. I gave her one of our cards and told her she could send us something anytime. We certainly won't be doing another zine before school is out but hopefully next year.

This is our last visit for the year.


Tabling at Rolling Meadows HS 5/3/2016

Today I'm at RMHS. Its a very quiet day. Our friend J came by. He's writing more articles. He emailed me one during the first lunch period.

Students are helping themselves to candy. I refilled the dish during the break between lunches. Then I went to the restroom. When I returned, ALL the Jolly Rancher hard candies were gone. Just a handful of Starbursts remained. Good. I need to unload my supply with summer coming.


tabling at Wheeling HS April 12, 2016

Tuesday, April 12, Equal Pay Day. I was planning to have something on my table with information about Pay Equity but forgot. Darn!

Continuing with the theme of women and Selective Service - more students are voting "no" to the question "Should women be required to register for Selective Service". It's not because they feel women should be treated differently; they're opposed to the entire concept. This is different from last month when the vast majority of students voted "yes".

But the display did generate a lot of discussion. Most students are pretty clueless. In Illinois, as in many other states, the process is more or less invisible. When young men get their driver's license their information is taken and then when they turn 18 they are automatically put in the Selective Service database. At least that's the way it's been described to me by a Coast Guard officer who is on the board. I figure he ought to know. He also told me that there is a provision that lets you not have your information go to Selective Service but not many do that.

I shared a table with some students who were selling packages of "puppy chow" (or "muddy buddies") to raise money for Operation Snowball. Here is the Wikipedia definition: "Operation Snowball is an international alcohol, tobacco and other drug-use prevention program focusing on leadership development to empower youth to lead drug-free lives. The name originates from the idea that having a positive impact on an individual can "snowball" into positive results for an entire community and beyond." Hard to compete with that; even with our free candy and trinkets.

I was upset to find out from my contact at the school that her position (college/career assistant) is getting cut to part-time along with other positions in the College/Career departments and registrars. This is due to the budget crisis in Springfield. I suppose they consider the College/Career counselors non-essential since they aren't teaching staff but I think the departments were  understaffed even before this development. My observation is that because of limited staffing the focus is almost entirely on the college-bound student which leaves many underserved or unserved.




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