The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Reality Check

June 25, 2008

Every day a reality check at city’s ‘poorest’ school


“I had to walk back downstairs,” she says. “I understood where they were coming from, to see children so happy and so excited over a meal. Some of them who had pumpkin pie did not know what it was.”

In a similar incident, the school lunch menu was Oriental and included fortune cookies.

“The little kids were complaining, they’d never seen paper in their cookies,” she says. “It was cute, but it was also sad.”

Carey knows the economy in Ashtabula is not entirely to blame for this situation but feels it is a factor. She says the parents she works with desperately need to improve their own educational levels and thereby improve their chances of getting higher-paying work. Yet, they are reluctant to tap into the resources that will get them there, like the Adult Basic Education program formerly offered at the building.

“I think they are afraid to ask for help because they don’t want to be looked down upon,” Carey says of the parents.

Many of the parents she works with are paying for mistakes they made when they were younger, one or two bad decisions that set the course of their lives — and, all too often, those of their children, as well.

“We get so many parents who come in and tell us they don’t want their kids to make the mistakes they made,” Carey says.

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Reality Check
  • images_sizedimage_070165730 Why are we hurting so? It’s time for a reality check.: Main story, Day one

    June 25, 2008 1 Photo

  • images_sizedimage_069193501 Beyond wineries and covered bridges … An introduction to reality check

    June 25, 2008 1 Photo

  • What it is, how it’s calculated Determining per capita income is a complex exercise that — at best — is a mathematical expression of a moving target.

    In its simplest terms, per capita income is, according to the Ohio Department of Development, “the income of a given area divided by the resident population of that area.” Sounds simple enough, but arriving at the figure is not.

    June 25, 2008

  • images_sizedimage_069195701 Bad vibes: Lack of opportunities, progress make for sour attitudes Eavesdrop on conversations at the lunch counter, in the aisles of Wal-Mart on a Friday evening or around the sports bar on a Sunday afternoon, and you’re likely to hear some pretty disparaging remarks about the old hometown.

    June 25, 2008 1 Photo

  • Finding work after prison nearly impossible A portion of Ashtabula County’s unemployed can’t find a job because of their prior address – a prison cell.

    June 25, 2008

  • County part of Team NEO marketing efforts Ashtabula County is part of a 16-county alliance aimed at marketing the Northeast Ohio region to employers and business investors, many of have never heard of Ashtabula, let alone Mentor, Akron or Youngstown.

    June 25, 2008

  • Some people just don’t want a job Ashtabula County Commissioner Deborah Newcomb talks to a lot of employers, and they all express the same concern: finding people reliable people with basic skills is a problem.

    June 25, 2008

  • images_sizedimage_070212402 POOR BUT WORKING A winter wind blew across the parking lot of the Neighbor to Neighbor Food Pantry next to St. Joseph’s Church in Ashtabula; the six adults lined up at the door turned their faces from the wind, toward the metaphoric concrete wall of the building.

    June 25, 2008 2 Photos

  • images_sizedimage_071213603 County's largest hospital feels the Medicaid pain Perhaps no one in Ashtabula County feels the pinch of subsidizing unemployed or underemployed individuals more than Philip E. Pawlowski.

    June 25, 2008 1 Photo

  • Crime & Drugs Inc. always hiring Some “unemployed” residents find crime to be their best source of steady income. Judge Richard Stevens of Western County Court says he noticed a 50-percent increase in the number of criminal cases handled by his court between 2005 and last year.

    June 25, 2008

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