I have worked on this proposal off and on for two years and want to be certain it is perfect before I push it.
June’s flood did more than force people from their homes and businesses it has compromised the security of our children’s future. It wiped out our neighborhoods, schools, parks, and recreation centers. It created a rift between the citizens and the city government that we the citizens recently put in office.
Cedar Rapids is a unique community with a once in a lifetime opportunity to start anew. We live with perils daily, but too many of us were complacent to the power of the Cedar River. I want to see our community take this opportunity to rebuild to a whole new level. I want to see my children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren to be proud of the legacy I leave behind. As we make way through the healing process I feel that it is imperative that we leave a lasting effect on our young people. I think that it is important for them to learn how to choose, vote, and create opportunities for themselves in the future.
Iowa is the first state to hold the presidential caucus during the election process when nominating the President of the United States. It is imperative to instill knowledge and healthy voting habits within our young people. My children and their friends have told me that they do not feel as if their vote will ever make a difference. I believe that is because they are never given the opportunity to get anything of interest to them.
Some people believe that children do not understand the permanency of their decisions. I agree with these people. However, I have learned that my children have respect for things they had to work to get. I know that children can prove to be quite responsible if they experience some setbacks or disappointments when they are allowed to vote on issues. Of course things may need to go back to the table to be revised. Kids need to know that the political process is a long drawn out process. It is grueling task; a battle of the wills of the masses.
A responsible voter will know the issue, walk into the booth with a clue about who is who, and for what, and will confidently cast their vote. I spent many years guessing my way through the voting process and I do not trust that the process has gotten any easier. The fact of the matter is I have voted for people because I was not taught how to vote and did not understand the permanency of my vote until it was too late.
We are in a place where we have no pulse in our city. The children are the bells and whistles of this city. They bring to it life that it so desperately needs to keep it a moving and functioning machine. When I think of the city and its government I think of an old car. Sometimes the old parts just won’t cut it. Maybe they were recalled-or just without those new parts we will eventually break down. We have got to stop using old parts to replace new problems. At the rate we are going our children will be lucky to inherit the earth and if we don’t make radical changes, now, while we can, we will eventually break down and die.
I propose the City allot a building with a portion of land for children to turn into a voting project. Children could come up with ideas and pick themes that could then go forward to be approved by the city council. Themes could be options that the City office gives to the students or ideas that the students come up with. Votes could be cast through the school system assigning each student to a computerized ballot. The computers can be planned so that each student will have an opportunity to vote on the project.
Senior citizen volunteers can offer a harmonizing tone to the project. Seniors have a unique understanding of the voting process and can help decide on two of the most cost efficient and utilitarian causes. I am sure there are senior groups in this city that can appreciate the opportunity to leave an impression on a young person’s voting life.
The idea is to teach children the voting process while involving them in a community project. I think that kids these days have lost a lot of respect for the sanctity of the family and the community. It would not do us any good to talk and teach if we never give them any goals. This is an opportunity for two groups of people who usually feel left out the system to take part in something that the community can enjoy. Any project that has seniors mentoring youth usually come out positive for both groups that do not usually have much say in the community.
- Awards from the vote could be positive or negative. It teaches children the value of their personal voice and allows them to express it in a productive way.
- The current attitude held by the majority of the kids I have talked to said they would love this. I think that it would teach our kids respect for property, voting, and the permanency of choices.
- This project could pull the community together and attract families to the area because of its unique respect for both the youth and senior citizens.
- Finally, this would give Cedar Rapids children the opportunity to express their voice, make it count, and get them more involved in their future.
Since the flood we have been given a unique opportunity to create something that will make a significant difference. I have spoken to about thirty kids about this idea and they loved it. This will benefit everyone. Everyone can be involved and it will bring an element that is unique to our city.