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Candidate takes tour of Brazil YMCA

Monday, August 18, 2008

YMCA Program Director Deb Plummer took Bob Heaton, Republican candidate for House Dist. 46 State Representative, for a tour of the facility Monday morning while discussing the vast activities available, especially after-school activities for children. Ivy Jackson Photo. [Order this photo]
* Heaton emphasizes need for after-school programs

The tough economy is bringing an end to the era of the stay-at-home parent, causing, sometimes, both parents to join the workforce and creating empty houses when children come home from school.

"I've had many front-porch conversations the past few months across the district, and after-school programs are a real concern for many families," Bob Heaton, Cory, Republican candidate for House Dist. 46 State Representative, told The Brazil Times during a tour of the Clay County YMCA, 225 East Kruzan St. "Many parents, who have to work, are struggling with what to do with their children once the school day ends."

Citing information from the "America After 3 PM" survey, Heaton said that approximately 7 percent of children in rural Indiana working families attend after-school programs.

"There is a great need for after-school programming in our community," he said. "As a board member of the Terre Haute Boys and Girls Club, I know first-hand the importance of providing kids with opportunities for enrichment outside of school."

Concerned about children who "get lost in the cracks of the system," Heaton worries most about "self-care" situations.

"Many children go home alone, where the 12- or 13-year-old is responsible for caring for their younger siblings," Heaton said. "We need to reach out to these families and provide enrichment programs that allow these children safe environments and educational advancement opportunities."

YMCA Program Director Deb Plummer escorted Heaton around the facility Monday morning. They discussed the many activities available at the YMCA for area families, especially after-school activities for children.

Plummer said the YMCA provides after-school programs throughout the year at Forest Park, East Side, Meridian, Staunton and Jackson Township elementary schools.

"We're very excited about the new "Afternoon Rocks" program at Clay City," she said, and then added that 30-40 percent of the children involved in various YMCA after-school programs are doing so because of privately funded scholarships.

"In 2007, (the YMCA) was able to provide $20,000-30,000 in scholarships to area children so they could participate," Plummer said.

Impressed by the facility and the programs available, Heaton said it was wonderful the way the local community comes to together to support the YMCA.

"We have to come together as a community to find solutions for families," Heaton said.

To do that, Heaton wants to get various local community groups involved in ways to build public/private relationships that will foster and support after-school programming.

If elected, Heaton wants to use his term in office to focus state education in efficient ways that will fund classroom and after-school programming for all children.

Heaton is running against State Representative Vern Tincher (D-46).

"As taxpayers, we also have to come together to find solutions at the governmental level," he said. "Taxpayers, who provide the money that makes up the budget for the government, want to know where their money is going and that it is being put to work efficiently. Efficiency is the key."

Heaton wants to increase the enrollment of children living in southern Clay and Vigo Counties, Owen County and Bean Blossom Township in Monroe County that make up House District 46.

"After-school programming is a vital opportunity for children," Heaton said. "As the next State Representative of House District 46, I would make it a priority to foster the private and public cooperation necessary to support programs like the YMCA of Clay County."

Survey information

In 2005, Afterschool Alliance's "America After 3 PM" initiative, funded by the J.C. Penney Co. Inc., produced a groundbreaking household survey focusing on the after school activities of the children from Indiana families in which both parents or the single parent holds a job.

A detailed analysis of the data concluded that more than a quarter of Indiana children were "latchkey children" who were unsupervised in "self-care" situations after leaving school.

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I find it hard to believe that Mr. Heaton thinks that families with 2 working parents is something that just happened. There have been "latch key kids" for at least 35 years if not longer. Yes the after school programs are needed, but there are many children who don't live in town and can't get to the YMCA or the library or anywhere else in town unless transportation is provided. With the economy the way it is now, with so many people losing their jobs, maybe there will be a parent at home when the children get out of school. That is the ideal situation.

-- Posted by virginiagrace on Mon, Aug 18, 2008, at 9:07 PM

virginiagrace ~

The lead in paragraph of this article stated an end to the stay-at-home parent not Mr. Heaton, I have been privileged to have several conversations with Mr. Heaton ~ I've found him to be an honorable & knowledgeable man who cares deeply about his community ~ maybe he has ideas for children in the rural areas ~ try giving Mr. Heaton a chance before you criticize him with negative remarks ~ you state an ideal situation is for a stay-at-home parent ~ but in today's world that is hardly conceivable ~ what happens to the children when bills can't be paid?? The ideal situation is to provide a safe enviroment until parents can be home with their children ~ let's give Mr. Heaton an opportunity to make our community a better place for our children ~ I just wish that I could vote for Mr. Heaton.

-- Posted by karebabe on Tue, Aug 19, 2008, at 8:02 AM

It never says anywhere in the article that Heaton said that latchkey kids just happened.

That sentence is the beginning of the story, which I believe is called a LEAD and is used to get the readers' attention.

( I think it would be nice if people actually read some of these articles in the paper a little closer before getting riled up about something that is not actually there. Our little town has a great newspaper, and I think it deserves some credit once in a while for the great articles they print, but I digress ... )

Apparently the lead got your attention, and hopefully it got some other people's attention as well.

City and rural children all need to have these programs made available to working families. Many parents struggling with time and money need help, even if its with homework.

Heaton, along with karebabe, is correct. Our children need a safe environment after school because - whether anyone cares to admit it or not -- there just aren't that many IDEAL situations anymore.

And, why virginiagrace, if you don't mind the question, do you think a parent who loses their job and is forced to stay home because they can't find a job a solution?

When my husband was out of work for 6 months, he was not in the mood to be the welcoming committee when our children (or me when I finished my day at work) came home.

Matter of fact, it was worse because he was so freaking grumpy!!

-- Posted by Cy on Tue, Aug 19, 2008, at 10:30 AM

I really don't understand why people get on here and are so very rude, I personally have alot of respect for Bob. Many of you guys on here get bunches in your panties for no reason. Negative people like some of the folks on here is what is ruining our society today. You all are so mean. Maybe you should read the article before you make any rude comments.

-- Posted by blue357 on Tue, Aug 19, 2008, at 7:20 PM

I am very impressed with Mr. Heaton's care and concern for our children. I think we should let his record speak for what he is able to do. Mr. Tincher has done a wonderful job, but I think sometimes when a person is in something for so long, it becomes ho-hum. We need some new blood and new ideas and I think Mr. Heaton's ideas need to be implemented. Let's let our children know they are special by doing something extra for them under circumstances beyond our control of both parents working.

-- Posted by tjackson51 on Wed, Aug 20, 2008, at 6:38 AM

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