Sunday, November 10, 2013

Shall we Incarceration or Educate?

November 7, 2013   
BH 436

The Mathews-Dickey Boys’ and Girls’ Club have formed an alliance to keep children in school and out of the criminal justice system with a new program recently implemented at their North St. Louis location.

Last February Mathews-Dickey President, CEO & Co-Founder Martin Luther Mathews launched the “It’s Better to Educate than to Incarcerate” campaign at the Club’s 53rd anniversary celebration.  Fifty-three legal representatives and 53 educators inked a pledge signed, sealed and delivered by Mayor Francis Slay and County Executive Charlie Dooley supporting the Club’s efforts to keep young people on the right side of the law and achieving success in the classroom.

Mathews-Dickey spokesperson Barbara Washington said the tactic is committed to dismantling the pipeline to prison through education and by expanding programs that work in the community.
The ACLU, The NAACP and the Children’s Defense Fund have initiatives challenging the "School to Prison Pipeline," or the “Cradle to Prison Pipeline”, but according to Martin Mathews, the policies and practices that push our nation’s schoolchildren into the juvenile justice system must end and he and his staff along with the area leaders and educators will provide positive influences to direct them to the correct path.

Mathews noted that America now has the unsavory distinction of leading the world in prison population and on any given day, about one in every 10 young male high school dropouts is in jail or juvenile detention, and it’s a drag on America’s economic competitiveness, and while boys are five times as likely to be incarcerated as girls, there also is a significant number of girls in the juvenile justice system. He argues this rate of incarceration is endangering children at younger and younger ages.

The pledge reads: “As government officials, members of the St. Louis area education and legal community, we pledge our support of the Mathews-Dickey Boys’ & Girls’ Club’s important work to educate children on the front end to prevent them from falling victim on the back end to incarceration.

We pledge to instill within children the importance of giving respect to gain respect.  We will embrace the community’s children as if they are our own so we can provide positive influences to guide them onto the right path and encourage them to respect their parents and those in positions of authority within their communities.”

The oath also encourage youth to always use restraint regardless of the situation, and to teach youth the importance of being responsible to ensure peace and harmony, and to prevent violence in our society.

Cultural heritage is defined as traditions, beliefs, or a way of life practiced by a group of people, and passed on from generation to generation, so we must increase our  efforts to preserve resources of educational and historical heritage, such as The Mathews –Dickey Boys’ and Girls’ club.
 Mathews-Dickey offer hundreds of formal and informal learning opportunities for people of all ages and is more than merely a rite of passage. It is an exceptional place in the African American community.

It has been revealed that the club is currently facing a financial predicament that could cause some of the workers and staff to face layoffs, and the cancellation of several vital programs for the members. It would be a tragedy to lose such a needed and essential establishment. The Mathews–Dickey Boys’ and Girls’ Club must remain as the important and essential enriching institution that it is. The community must act.

The best way to preserve our cultural heritage is to share it with others. Sharing your cultural legacy helps to enrich the lives of others through the gift of discovering diversity so we must support this vital community resource and we must not let the Mathews–Dickey Boys’ and Girls’ Club close. They need your help and support.

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Be Ever Wonderful!

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