Response to Irresponsible Comments About Utah’s Public Education System

Over the weekend, the new Chairman of the Public Education Appropriations Committee said that public schools “have bought into a liberal scheme to undermine the country.”  He also alleges there is a 45-point plan by Communists to get control of the schools and bring America down which “is well-entrenched in Utah.”

These comments are unfounded, irresponsible and unacceptable. Continue reading

A Treasure in our Community

by Senator Ross Romero
District 7

Senator Romero and Scott LyttleRecently I had the opportunity to tour the National Ability Center (“NAC”) in Park City.  It was great to see all the work the NAC does in and for our Utah community.  I hope you might consider the Center in your giving or volunteer plans this year.

The NAC is the nation’s largest provider of recreational opportunities for individuals with disabilities.  Founded in 1985, the NAC has grown from teaching a few dozen ski lessons to wounded veterans in its first year to teaching more than 20,000 lessons annually in 22 programs.  While the activities at the NAC are designed to give individuals with disabilities a chance to participate in sports using adaptive techniques and equipment, the bigger purpose is to help those individuals reach their potential as human beings.  A physical or cognitive disability may change the way someone skis on the Greatest Snow on Earth or rides a horse on the trails of the Beehive state, but it shouldn’t inhibit their ability to be a part of society.

This year, studies by Harris Interactive and Disabled Sports USA showed that participants in programs like the NAC’s are twice as likely as their peers to be employed.  Those same studies show that individuals with disabilities who participated regularly in recreational or competitive sports programs are more fit, confident and positive people.  With more than 8,000 participants in the NAC programs last year, the NAC sees these results in many lives.

Programs at the NAC include skiing, snowboarding, the world’s only adaptive bobsled team, horseback riding, cycling, swimming, and archery, to name a few.  During the summer, they host Discovery Camps as week-long day camps for kids with disabilities  There are different camps for kids with physical disabilities, cognitive disabilities and Autism Spectrum Disorders.  Having a camp where kids can hang out and do things with others who are in similar situations can have great results.

Helping people discover their abilities brings with it a unique and wonderful feeling.  The NAC records tens of thousands of volunteer hours each year because everyone from middle school students to retirees finds a place to help out.  Some like to help with a ski lesson, and others enjoy helping at one of the NAC’s annual fundraising events.  No matter where the help is given, it is always appreciated and needed.  If you are interested in volunteering or registering for a program, call Jenn Carpenter at 435-649-3991.  If you would like to help the National Ability Center with a donation to help its programs, contact Scott Lyttle at 435-200-0983.  Much more information is available at the NAC’s website www.discovernac.org.

Investing in the Local Community

by Senator Ross Romero
District 7

 

Sen. Romero at Boys & Girls Club

Earlier this summer I was contacted by the Boys and Girls Clubs of South Valley asking me if I had time to visit the Clubs and find out what they were doing to help our community’s youth.  The Boys and Girls Clubs offer after-school programs addressing educational achievement, career exploration, drug and alcohol avoidance, health and fitness, gang and violence prevention, cultural exploration, leadership development and community service.  I was very interested to learn the Clubs help over 11,000 youth each year.

I was pleased to learn youth who participate in Boys and Girls Clubs programs statistically have a 15% higher overall GPA, a 90% high school graduation rate, and 26% are likely to earn a college degree.  I was informed during my visit that it takes $454 for a child to participate in Boys and Girls Clubs programs for a year (“454 Club”).  In contrast, it takes $82,402 per year for a child to be admitted to a full time juvenile detention facility.

Last week, I was invited to the Boys and Girls Clubs of South Valley “Thank You and Get Acquainted Dinner” for the “454 Club.”  It was a great event, which again highlighted the wonderful work being done at the Boys and Girls Clubs.  The guest speaker was Dan E. Jones (our very own Senator Patricia Jones’ husband).

Dan Jones at Boys & Girls Club

Needless to say, my wife and I are now sponsoring a Club member and wanted to make sure others knew about this great community organization and the work it is doing.  If you would like more information about the Boys and Girls Clubs of South Valley or about the 454 Club, please contact Toni Geddes, Director of Development at 801-284-4248 or t-geddes@hotmail.com.

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