Does Baltimore care about squeegee kids? That’s the most important question after a driver attacked one of them and was shot dead in return last month. Everyone in cities like Baltimore knows these kids, who live in terrible poverty and stand at stoplights and street corners and wipe the windshields of passing cars. Sadly, in the wake of this tragedy, the risk is that Baltimore will double down on failed approaches that trap squeegee kids in poverty instead of helping them escape it.
This heartbreaking incident has generally divided people along two lines. The first is the most obvious: Crack down on these kids – or even lock ’em up. According to this common response, squeegeeing is illegal for a reason. It’s annoying and dangerous, especially during rush hour when traffic is thick and tensions are high. The thinking goes that the police should intervene and get squeegee kids off the streets for good.
But is arresting and even imprisoning these kids going to solve anything? This approach basically means punishing poverty. Squeegee kids are typically middle or high school dropouts. They’re doing it because they want to earn a quick buck – and the alternatives are dealing drugs, joining gangs or worse. If they end up behind bars at such a young age, Baltimore will basically doom them to a life of crime. A criminal crackdown on squeegee kids will lead to more poverty, more violence and more heartbreak.
The second response is no better: sweeping poverty under the rug. The recent tragedy has led many to call for new government programs and projects targeted to squeegee kids. According to this thinking, society writ large needs to do something, anything, to help. Left unspoken is the reality of these programs, which generally involves throwing money at the problem – the definition of one size fits all.
But does anyone really expect this to work? No doubt it’s well intentioned, but the same is true of all the costly programs and projects from the past 50 years – virtually none of which have made a meaningful, lasting difference. If one-size-fits-all solutions worked, then Baltimore wouldn’t be in this mess to begin with. Trying again would merely perpetuate squeegee kids’ poverty, when they really need individualized help to leave poverty behind.
Baltimore can do better than perpetuating poverty or criminally punishing it. Instead of listening to the loudest voices, the city should look to the effective efforts that tackle the root causes of each squeegee kid’s situation.
Lo and behold, there is much inspiration to be found.
Consider Thread, a Baltimore nonprofit that’s weaving “a new social fabric.” It focuses on the kids who are most affected by structural barriers – many of whom could be future squeegee kids. Thread connects them with community members who become interwoven into their lives, giving them the encouragement and support they need to succeed in school and then in life. This isn’t a one- or two-year thing; it’s a 10-year commitment or more. Thread’s approach has helped hundreds of kids achieve goals they never imagined possible
Then there’s New Vision Youth Services, which connects struggling kids with mentors who’ve lived similar experiences. These mentors have squeegeed, dropped out of school, spent time in prison, you name it. They help the kids believe in themselves, giving them the boost needed to finish their education and start a better life. New Vision Youth Services has empowered hundreds of kids, including more than a few squeegee kids.
Are these the only efforts that work? Of course not. I know of other inspiring groups in Baltimore and dozens nationwide. These incredible projects are making a difference because they spring from the ordinary love and care that people feel toward their own communities. Even more important: The people behind them believe in the dignity, worth and incredible potential of these undervalued and overlooked kids. That, more than anything, is what squeegee kids need.
So, how can Baltimore help squeegee kids? By recognizing that we all are involved in the answer. The city needs private citizens and churches and nonprofits and scrappy start-ups, not more public programs and police departments that reach down from on high to “solve” these kids. Each person can do something, from mentoring to donating to volunteering. Even the drivers who deal with squeegee kids on a daily basis can step up. It’s as simple as rolling down the window and referring them to a group that can help.
This is hard work, no question. But it’s much better than taking the easy and uncaring road of dooming squeegee kids to a life of crime, poverty or both. They deserve so much better – and they’re capable of so much more.
DeForest “Buster” Soaries is pastor emeritus of First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens, N.J., a board member of the Stand Together Foundation and co-chair of the Heal America Movement.
Subscribe to The Post Most newsletter for the most important and interesting stories from The Washington Post.
- Parenting tip: Smart ways to discipline your kid without being harsh on them
- 4 ways to help your teams combat burnout during the pandemic
- Building a better way of Understanding Science
- Sarah Michelle Gellar Dyed Her Hair Pink as a ''New and Creative Way'' to Embarrass Her Kids
- Moments of magic: 10 ways to help others in lockdown – from phone calls to milkshakes
- Updated: Oak Park Library Resources For Kids & Families During Coronavirus
- Eight-year-old Dayleni Drike Sanchez Australia’s best kids newsreader
- Why some kids are happier right now, and other unexpected effects of quarantine
- Kids Q&A with Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Carl Azuz: Coronavirus podcast for April 27
- From arts and crafts to building dens and creating treasure hunts, eight great indoor activities for kids that don't involve screen time
- Coronavirus Meal Finder Map: Hungry Kids Can Eat Free In Leesburg
- Board games for kids: An ideal way of learning & problem-solving
- Fairfield Parents' Schedules Get Less Busy with Help from VanGo
- Sleep your way to beating corona: It's a crucial way to boost your immunity and could be a vital weapon in fighting off the virus, says this leading expert
- Keep your pet happy, healthy and active: Eight fun feline toys to help entertain a bored and restless cat
- 'There is nothing worse than hunger,' says South Africa hero Siya Kolisi of helping townships during lockdown
- Baltimore turns to aerial surveillance as homicides continue
- NFL analyst says J.K. Dobbins is ideal fit with Baltimore Ravens
- Conservative Activist Returns to Baltimore for Second Trash Cleanup
- Pro-Trump Activist, Volunteers Collect 12 Tons of Trash in West Baltimore
|Stainless Metal Link Wrist Men's Watch with Good Looking Design To Give As a Special Present for Baltimore Orioles Team Fans5.0★ / check it now at Amazon||iClover A Better Way For Charging /Wireless Charger and the wireless receiver for Samsung Galaxy S4-Black5.0★ / check it now at Amazon||Rise of the Entrepreneur - The Search for A Better Way4.6★ / $11.01||Handplane Basics - A Better Way to Use Bench Planes (DVD)5.0★ / $21.69||A Better Way to Die4.7★ / $20.01||Shin Tight - A Better Way To Wear Shin Pads(Senior Size) check it now at Amazon||Nick Pasquarello: A Better Way to Teach Goalie Play (DVD) check it now at Amazon||A Better Way to Die [VHS]$5.25||Literature Luggage - A better way to pack literature check it now at Amazon||Sterling Silver "Let Not Life's Cares Your Heart Dismay, God Planned For You A Better Way" Catch Bangle Bracelet check it now at Amazon||Pathways Bible Study Method: A better way to do Bible study...$9.95||Stand Up for Yourself and Your Friends: Dealing with Bullies and Bossiness and Finding a Better Way4.8★ / $16.93||A Better Life for Half the Price: How to prosper on less money in the cheapest places to live$36.23||The Everything Meals For A Month Cookbook: Smart Recipes To Help You Plan Ahead, Save Time, And Stay On Budget$26.44||Knocking on Heaven's Door: The Path to a Better Way of Death by Butler, Katy (2013) Hardcover check it now at Amazon||Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is a Better Way for Africa$31.99||With Charity For All: Why Charities Are Failing and a Better Way to Give$15.95||My Bible Coloring Book: A Fun Way for Kids to Color through the Bible (Coloring Books)4.7★ / check it now at Amazon||How to Cook Everything Fast: A Better Way to Cook Great Food$22.99||A Better Way to Pray$12.59||A Better Way to Live: Og Mandino's Own Personal Story of Success Featuring 17 Rules to Live By4.8★ / $7.99||By Katy Noura Butler - Knocking on Heaven's Door: The Path to a Better Way of Death (1st Edition) (8/27/13) check it now at Amazon||Knocking on Heaven's Door: The Path to a Better Way of Death$10.79||Little Flower Yoga for Kids: A Yoga and Mindfulness Program to Help Your Child Improve Attention and Emotional Balance$20.95||The Benevon Model for Sustainable Funding: A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting it Right5.0★ / check it now at Amazon||The Easy Way for Women to Stop Smoking: A Revolutionary Approach Using Allen Carr's Easyway Method$19.18||The Thinking Student's Guide to College: 75 Tips for Getting a Better Education (Chicago Guides to Academic Life)$14||101 Tips for a Happier Marriage: Simple Ways for Couples to Grow Closer to God and to Each Other check it now at Amazon||7 Easy Ways to Make 1000 - 10000 a Month: Easy Step-By-Step Ways for Anybody to Start Making Money Online4.0★ / $5.38||Kasey's Guitar Method for Kids: A Fun And Engaging Way for Children to Learn Guitar check it now at Amazon||Hide It in Your Heart: Creative Ways for Families to Explore God's Word (Let's Make a Memory Series)$1.35||Tipping the Scales: A step-by-step guide for teens to help achieve balance in life$6.39||A Better Way to Think: Using Positive Thoughts to Change Your Life$12.99||Birthing a Better Way: 12 Secrets for Natural Childbirth (Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Series) check it now at Amazon||A Better Way of Dying: How to Make the Best Choices at the End of Life$9||Yoga for a Beautiful Face: Easy Exercises to Help You Look Young Again check it now at Amazon||Peace in the Heart and Home: A Down-to-Earth Guide to Creating a Better Life for You and Your Loved Ones$5.76||Help for Your Fearful Dog: A Step-by-Step Guide to Helping Your Dog Conquer His Fears$24.95||I Love My Cat: A cat journal for you to record your cat's life as it happens! (Blank Journal)$9.59||Getting Back to Full Employment: A Better Bargain for Working People5.0★ / $5.6||Journey to a Better Way: A wesleyan perspective on doing mission better check it now at Amazon||What Kindergarten Teachers Know: Practical and Playful Ways for Parents to Help Children Listen, Learn, and Coope rate at Home$13.95||Making it Through Tough Times for Better!: **Ways on How to Gain the Victory** (Volume 1)$5.38||What Kindergarten Teachers Know: Practical and Playful Ways for Parents to Help Children Listen, Learn, and Cooperate at Home check it now at Amazon||Mental Illness and Your Town: 37 Ways for Communities to Help and Heal (New Horizons in Therapy Series) check it now at Amazon||How to Be a Better Interviewer: Tested Techniques to Help You to Improve Your Skills$17.15||50 Ways to a Better You For Dummies, Mini Edition check it now at Amazon||52 Ways to Become a Better Writer: For New Indie Authors and Writers (Transcend Mediocrity) check it now at Amazon||26 Ways To Become the Best Wife Ever!: Effective & Easy Ways for Anyone to Become a Better Wife, Friend & Partner check it now at Amazon||What Are You Doing for Lunch: A Friendly Guide To Brown Bagging As A Better Way To Lunch check it now at Amazon|
A better way for Baltimore to help its squeegee kids have 1959 words, post on www.chron.com at August 12, 2022. This is cached page on USA Breaking News. If you want remove this page, please contact us.