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people live and play helps students understand immigrants in the U.S. “Students often express how their experiences in Mexico broadened their understanding and increased their appreciation for the people of this country,” he said. “They have expressed their amazement at the way Mexican families display their emotions, respect and family unity in the home. Some of their preconceived ideas are dispelled.” Gomez said studying in Mexico allows students to see the riches, grandeur and poverty of Mexico, something which cannot be shown in a classroom. “In the classroom, they couldn’t see or understand why there are so many street
HOMELESS The lack of freedom and sleeping on a mat every night is a constant reminder of not having your own home and warm bed, she said. “It’s definitely harder for women to be homeless,” Red said. “The PNS is very unsafe for women; there have been rapes and murders inside the building.” According to the Mayor’s Advisory Commission on Homelessness, in Fort Worth there are approximately 6,378 people who are homeless over the course of a year. Of that amount, 52 percent have disabilities, which include addiction and mental instability. Approximately 3,800 people are homeless right now. Red said she has been an avid reader since she was 5 and is thankful that she never got involved with drugs and rarely drinks. “My only addiction is coffee and cigarettes,” Red said. For Max, addiction, among other things, was paramount for his decline into homelessness. “A lot of it was my own making,” he said. “I created a lot of problems for myself from my teenage years on. I came from a family that was very dysfunctional. They had run rampant for generations from alcoholism and all kinds of abuse.” When Max turned 18, he ventured into the world with no guidance or emotional or financial support. “I didn’t have a lot of social skills,” Max said. “I didn’t know how to be someone’s friend. There are a lot of things that led me into alcoholism and addiction.” For Max, the past 20 years of his life consisted of jail time, treatment facilities, and his own personal demons. He kept himself from overcoming his struggle for decades. Asking for help, Max said, was the biggest hurdle and he spent the entire year of 2006 at the Presbyterian Night Shelter. “As a man, I’ve got to make
March 10, 2010
“If they close for siesta you’re not getting your product. Just have a beer.” Dr. Amy Bell
associate professor of Spanish vendors in Mexico—some as young as 5 years old,” he said. The trip also creates a sense of community which helps students perform better academically and can increase their chances of earning a degree, she said. “Once you feel that connection, you’re more likely to graduate,” Boisvert said. “Research suggests that study abroad helps students persist to graduation in a four-year degree.”
Dr. Amy Bell, associate professor of Spanish who leads the trip, attests to the benefits of studying abroad. As both of her parents are retired professors of German, she said traveling abroad is “in her blood.” “I’ve been going on programs like this since I was an Travelers visit an ancient Mexican temple while in Cuernavaca. undergraduate,” she said. “It’s the best thing.” lifelong friendships. ‘no mas.’” Bell said living with fami“It’s always the same famiStudents accustomed to lies helps students think, act, lies, so evidently it’s a positive strict schedules are in for culeat and drink like them. Past experience,” Bell said. “Other- ture shock. experiences have resulted in wise, the families would say, “If you’re used to everything
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“I thought that it was my responsibility
to get myself out of it since I got myself into it.” “Max”
previously homeless Wesleyan student my own way,” Max said. “I thought that it was my responsibility to get myself out of it since I got myself into it. I finally realized that sometimes you have to ask for help, and that was hard. My pride wouldn’t let me. I thought that I didn’t need anyone’s help.” The breaking point occurred several years ago when he was convicted and incarcerated for a crime he didn’t commit. Max said his lifestyle put him in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong people. But things began to change. “I had a public defender, and she looked me in the eye and said some key things that I know made me realize that God was involved in this meeting between she and I,” Max said. “She said she could get me the minimum sentence, and when I got out, I needed to go to a treatment center.” When he was released from jail, he made an unsuccessful attempt at rehab and immediately relapsed. Soon after, he encountered a previously homeless friend who was doing well, and he became Max’s mentor. “He taught me how to appreciate life again, and things just started happening- incredibly good things would fall into my life,” Max said. Soon after, Max found and maintained a job in downtown Fort Worth and met another person who was instrumental in helping him get into college. He became friends with a frequent customer, who gave him $2,500 to pay an outstanding debt to Wesleyan, which he obtained from a
failed attempt at college in 2002. Max said he had severe apprehensions about going back to college. He was worried about what people would think and felt as though he wouldn’t fit in, but he knew he was ready. Not caring what others think was one of the most important lessons his mentor taught him, Max said. “He said, ‘Whatever they think of you, whether it’s good or bad, is none of your business. That’s not the deal we have, your business is to stay clean and sober today and let God take care of the rest.’ That was so huge for me,” he said. Max is now a mentor for several men who battle addiction, and he counsels at treatment facilities and hospitals. He hopes to attend law school after graduation. In October 2008, Fort Worth enacted a 10 year program to end homelessness called Directions Home: Ending Chronic Homelessness in Fort Worth, Texas. According to the Permanent Supportive Housing production program model for Tarrant County, the city will spend $66.7 million on construction for 662 permanent emergency housing units, which includes facilities to serve people with addiction and mental health issues. The brief states that Tarrant County spends more than $30 million a year facilitating the homeless. Directions Home is an initiative that will also prevent homelessness, which will be less taxing and expensive in the future. To help, visit www.ahomewithhope.org.
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being done on time, that’s just not the way,” Bell said. “If they close for siesta you’re not getting your product. Just have a beer.”
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Hollis also said the price increase could provide some students with the opportunity to receive more financial aid. While some of the money will go toward providing more Internet access and investing in expanding some of the doctorate programs, other funds will cover cost increases in faculty health insurance. “Our medical insurance rates for all the employees went up 18 percent this year,” Bliebdrey said. “So all of the sudden, that additional revenue from the price increase has to cover things like insur-
ance cost increases.” Wesleyan President Dr. Harold Jeffcoat agreed that the “astronomical” increase in health insurance rates is a top priority. “There’s just not another way to do it,” he said. “For the first time in recent memory, we’re asking every employee to pay a portion of their own health insurance.” Faculty and staff of the university pay 5 percent of their medical insurance premium for insuring themselves, Bleibdrey said in an e-mail. Additional costs are borne by
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serving the community,” Alexander said. “It’s good for people to understand that there is a school in the community that provides all types of things outside of just teaching.” Mortar Board placed collection boxes in strategic locations throughout the cam-
pus, including the library and student union building. Mortar Board will collect books through March 29 and will present the books to the school at the Mortar Board induction ceremony and luncheon March 30. Unused books will be recycled or sold to Half Price
employees if they choose to insure a spouse or family member. Student Government Association President Heath Scott said raising tuition to cover faculty healthcare is “an unfortunate evil that must be dealt with.” “It is my hope though, that we shift the main burden off the backs of the students and spread it evenly among all members of the Wesleyan family,” he said. “A 5 percent tuition hike will be hard for a lot of my fellow students to handle.” Books, depending on their condition, and the money will be used to purchase books that are needed, Wade said. Wade hopes to make the drive a yearly event, ideally in the fall. “This will be a good way to rally the kids together and get them out of their stupor from summer,” Alexander said.
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