To whom it may concern,
My name is Michael Fedele, and I am currently enrolled at Iowa Lakes Community College in Emmetsburg, Iowa. I am also enrolled in the TriO SSS program, and can honestly say that without the Program and support I wouldn't be where I am today.
I am a social science student in the first few years of my schooling. I am also a student with a mental disability (AHDH and General Anxiety Disorder). I am hearing that the program is in serious jeopardy of loosing it's funding, and this letter is a plea for that not to happen. According to the information that I received, the FY 2012 budget proposed by President Obama should be allotting the program funding. However, I am also hearing that there is talks of cutting funding for the program and have to say I am not only extremely disappointed in the counter decision, but find myself at odds over why our country would even allow such a travesty to happen.
For some students, such as myself, without the TriO program there is very little hope for accomplishing my goals. The advisors in the Program have helped me with seeking and achieving my goals, despite my disability. I believe that to stop or cut funding from this program would very seriously hurt my ability to have a stable environment to study in, and without the support I would honestly have no idea what my chances are of getting where I want to be in life. The advisors in this program have given me more tools and resources than I ever received in High School. I didn't know my academic standing because as a student from a low income family my full potential wasn't seen in high school. There a lot of students in my area that feels the same way! I don't understand why we allow funding for the most ridiculous things (such as millions of dollars for sport) but try to deny benefits for the actual reason for schooling, which is education. I spend numerous hours a day in the TriO Support Center, and notice that many of my fellow students do too. I understand that money is a difficult issue in our current economy; but for leaders to feel that funding for educational resources should be cut or lowered is just insanity to me. Again: Without these services there are a lot of students who would basically fail at their attempts to become more in our society. The emphasis should be on helping those who need it, and giving attention to what TriO actually does for students, which in my opinion is far more important than totally redoing a football field at a school known for its academia, and not sports accomplishments!
Please do not allow the program to go unnoticed. There is already nowhere near enough being done to educate students about support services in their schools, and to cut funding to such a fantastic program causes me to loose faith in a system that encourages the meager to grow to our full potential. Certainly there are other options that could be looked at, such as combining more programs together that offer similar services to help with funding; or allotting less for the 1% of our nation that hold the majority of the decision making, and giving it to the vastly growing lower class. We are not looking for a hand out, we are simply asking that you reassess the (very poor) consideration to lower funding to a program that is actually worth it.
Don't send a message to my generation that Washington is out of touch with our needs. We elected President Obama because we believed in him, and I personally still do. When we stick with old ways of thinking we do not grow as a society, and when we look at educational standards, surely there is something going wrong when the people who need help (not because of laziness or lack of motivation, but lack of resources) are overlooked we are overlooking a huge area of our Country.
Please do not allow funding to be cut to this wonderful program. There is something to be said for ambition; but without the proper guidance we are simply a heard without a Sheppard. We have a place for help, and to feel like an "us" instead of a them; and remembering that this country has held steadfast to our sense of self and patriotism, it is disheartening to think that just because I suffer from something out of my control I will have no support in this very difficult economic time.
Your consideration to keep funding in the support sector is all I ask, and for our government to ask themselves what position would the United States be in if every other country decided to shrug us off. To tell the American people that although we are a huge part of the world we are not allowed the same opportunities as anywhere else; it is down right unAmerican to ignore the minority (which is funny considering us low income families are quickly becoming the majority). Something to consider in this upcoming election season.
(signed) Michael Fedele
Student of Psychology
Low Income American
Proud member of the