There was a time when a youth who wanted to earn some money distributed newspapers to his neighbors. This had several positive consequences. He became a known person in the community (everyone knew the paperboy) and he earned just enough money to make him spend it wisely. He also learned to be reliable, dependable and to work even when he didn’t feel like it. This is essential training for a future life of employment (“Baltimore needs a holistic approach toward ‘squeegee kids,'” Sept. 17).
We don’t need anyone from Florida to pick up trash in Baltimore. We have youth, both male and female. Now that the paperboy routes no longer exist, our young people can serve us all. Today, we see them with squeegees on our street corners. Sometimes, that disorganized work is dangerous. An organized, on-going clean up in the city could give the same benefits that delivering newspapers once did.
We would need a small crew — from the Department of Public Works, perhaps — to inspect the streets and alleys of Baltimore regularly and keep a record of their condition. Then we need teams of young people to clean up our neighborhoods. Each team will need a captain who will oversee the work and report attendance. For each day of work, there will be a modest pay for those who show up.
I have long wondered how we could better use the dedication that goes into squeegee work. I believe this might do it.
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