I would like to thank The Breeze for printing the article “It takes a city to raise a child” in the Feb. 13 issue. The JMU community needs to be aware of the ways in which Harrisonburg children are raised.
As someone raised in an upper-middle class suburb outside of New York City, this article definitely opened my eyes. I couldn’t imagine myself taking on adult responsibilities at 7 years old, like many of the students at that organization. Until I got to middle school, one of my parents would always watch me get on and off the school bus to make sure I was safe.
After school, my mother would test my knowledge to make sure I was prepared for a big math test while my father would study colonial America with me. Once dinnertime came around, a healthy homemade meal would be sitting on the kitchen table.
When I routinely drive on Reservoir Street, I usually get stuck behind a Harrisonburg school bus. I watch children as young as 5 years old get off the bus and walk by themselves down a side street. With the locally high crime rate, watching these children walk to their houses without adult supervision is very disturbing to me.
Harrisonburg children are fortunate to have a program like Second Home. Nowadays, especially with the harsh economy, every city could use a program like this because many parents work long hours during the week.
Even upper-middle class communities could use a program like Second Home. It’s a perfect way for children to interact with other children and learning to become successful leaders in today’s society.
I applaud JMU students who oftentimes come from households with yearly incomes of $75,000 plus and are willing to volunteer at Second Home to help children in need have better lives. That a child has a safe place to learn, grow and be an average kid with the help of JMU students shows that our university cares more than just what’s just in the JMU bubble.
It shows that we, as students, care about our local community just as much as we care about ourselves.