Previous Page
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | RamPage Archives Home Page
Next Page

     Tayari Kuanda, president of PTK and vice president of ASB, hopes good-hearted folks will give whatever they can. "There are a lot of hungry people out there," he observed. "We think it is necessary to give back to our students. (Both groups) have the same goal of supporting our students."
     Margaret Kagy has been giving for 15 years as CARE's coordinator.
     The recipients are grateful, she says. CARE serves single parents male and female, who often call to express their gratitude in the most heartfelt way.
     Another thing CARE gives is birthday cards to the students and the kids. "Sometimes it's like the only time they get anything from someone is from us." Kagy said. "So if getting a card has such impact, imagine what receiving a Thanksgiving basket does."
    She said of those she helps, "They really taught me a lot about appreciating the things that you have because they are so appreciative when they get these things, especially the Thanksgiving baskets."
     "When you are given a gift from a fellow college student it means so much more. It keeps their pride intact because it's people giving to their own versus waiting in the Salvation Army line," said Kagy. "Because, let's face it, some people waiting in that line are not doing anything with their lives, and these students are coming to school. They're trying to provide a good role model for their children."
      Making the transition from welfare is the prevailing stance of most poor people at VVC, according to Kagy.

The bad ones weed themselves out, and most of the others are sincerely trying to educate themselves for re-entry into the work force.
     One of life's grim lessons, however, seems to be that if you're insolvent, you have to deceive the government to get ahead.
     "They don't allow students to be in the longer programs like nursing, which is the No. 1 (employment) need that we have here (in the high desert), because the program takes too long," she said.
     When the welfare-to-work law went into effect in '98, by '99 and 2000, students began to drop out. According to Kagy, students "were getting this, 'we're not here to pay for your education' attitude" from the welfare department when in fact, PELL and CARE and EOPS and Work Study do.
     "They set you up to lie because when you tell the truth they attack you on it. You can't have a car (worth) a certain amount of money, so they have the parents buy the car. You can't have a savings account. They almost force you to lie to stay in their system to keep you in poverty because the system is lacking. It's keeping you in that status, and the only way to get out is to get sanctioned or to completely get off welfare."
     Kagy says that while welfare will not deny children, it takes benefits away from adults who attend college. Financially challenged students must choose between getting an education from the federal government or food from the county, and while many choose the former, the trials of this option are greater. Many eventually work a dead-end job that be