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shocked*sad*unaware*helpless

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posted by Jessica Mundt alias starrdesign on Wednesday 27th of February 2008 04:34:21 AM

my home... cedar rapids, iowa population: 125,000 motto: The City of Five Seasons; the traditional four seasons and a fifth season is the time to enjoy the other four.... unique fact: city hall and the county courthouse are located on Mays Island, an island on the Cedar River. Cedar Rapids is one of only two mainland cities to have their governmental offices on an island (the other being Paris, France). despite the weather i have always thought of cedar rapids as a great place to live and the best place to raise kids. we have high educational standards, low crime, great midwestern kindness, good cost of living, job opportunity, chicago, minneapolis and kansas city are a 4 hour drive....really the only downfall being the yucky weather we have to tolerate. and it is a great place to live but this past year has been a huge wake up call for me. i have become more aware for the first time in my life....probably because i have led a somewhat 'sheltered' life. i am so blessed to have wonderful parents who are still married after 30+ years, a great home, everything i always wanted (or at least more than i ever needed), a great college education, i now own my second home at age 29, i own my own business, i'm married, i have two awesome kids, i've been very very very lucky my entire life and i think this has made me unaware of the severity of problems in my own community. i was never exposed to foster kids, homelessness, child abuse, adoption, not on a personal or 'real' level ever, divorce was probably the worst thing my friends had gone through. i've always been aware of others, i have a huge heart and i've always volunteered, helping at nursing homes, delivering food for hacap, assisting at a homeless or woman's shelter for a few days.....but i really did not understand the severity of issues we have right here in our own community. we always joke about our 'top news stories' and how lucky we are that our biggest problem is people not loading their 'yardies' correctly or that we have a winter storm coming, it's funny but we're lucky, our news isn't filled with mass murders every day, we don't have a lot of crime. well tonight's top news story was 'homeless students'...we have homeless students? a lot of them? yes! we have 710 homeless students in the cedar rapids community school district. what!?!?!?! seven are at my children's elementary school, what!?!?!? some of the schools in our district have as many as 90 children that are homeless. i am shocked, i am sad, i feel so helpless, i feel ignorant.... the sad thing is many (most) of us are only a paycheck away from homelessness, how quickly could we be one of these 'statistics' and we're not even aware of how many people are homeless, or atleast i'm not aware...why do we have so many people living on the streets in a community the size of cedar rapids...what can be done to fix this...no child should have to go 'home' to the streets to sleep in the snow after staying at the public library until close or anywhere else they could find indoors to stay after school. we've had 60" of snow this year, temps of -30 degrees and we have children sleeping out there?! i don't have an answer, i don't have a solution, i'm dumbfounded and i really feel sick to my stomach, i don't find this acceptable, i don't think its okay, i don't want people to forget about this tomorrow.......i know there are so many problems, so many issues and i can't help every single one but they break my heart....i recently decided to put my passion and energy into families helping families of iowa which is so wonderful and helps foster children (many of the homeless children include children waiting to find foster care) so it does directly relate to this but it doesn't seem like enough. how do we balance helping our own children, providing for them and making sure there aren't other children sleeping in the snow tonight?! i am shocked, stunned and hopefully can work through to a positive approach to this in the near future.... {photographs are not mine, arial views are the Gazette & tree is a stock image from a local photography company}



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  • Published 10.28.21
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