In a time when state and federal funding of virtually everything is being cut to the bone, it is good news that Eldon PAVE AmeriCorps tutoring program has earned another year of grant money.
PAVE AmeriCorps is a particularly effective use of tax dollars. The mission of the tutoring program is to help at-risk students with their schoolwork. Those students are at risk of not completing the most basic requirement for a productive life in a complex society - high school graduation. By intervening in the academic process of 500 students each year, PAVE AmeriCorps very likely saves taxpayers many times over the $207,304 grant.
People who do not graduate high school are statistically more likely to be some kind of drain on the society at large. Incarceration, welfare programs and under-earning are the hallmarks of an ill-educated future. While a high school diploma, or a college degree, is no magic carpet, it is a start. The vast majority of Americans who work, raise families and pay taxes are high school graduates. The education system provides knowledge, structure and a hope for the future that is not available to those who drop out.
By working with those most in danger of falling behind, dropping out and subsequently failing at life, PAVE AmeriCorps does the community an important service.
On a related note, the AmeriCorps program employs more that 75,000 young men and women in service projects. Those who sign up make an 11-month commitment to hard work. In return, they are paid $1,100 a month, provided health care and, most importantly, given a sense of direction and a path to the future. In Eldon it was AmeriCorps workers who cleared the railroad right of way in anticipation of a recreational trail project.
Other similar projects are being cut around the state. That the Eldon program received funding is a testimony to the solid administration of PAVE AmeriCorps under director Daphney Partridge and the support the program enjoys from the school district.