8/17/2006 11:25:00 AM Editorial A partnership waiting to happen
While few people argue with Lincoln Trail College's importance to Crawford County, there have been those over the years who have complained that the "college in a cornfield" has too few ties to the communities it serves, geographically and otherwise.
Now, the complainers have at least one less reason to do so, as the Summer Success and ACE after-school programs are being relocated to the LTC campus. Playing host to the successful, long-running community programs, which offer nutrition, life skills and academic help to "at risk" kids, will change the college-community relationship for the better - in ways that the decision-makers probably haven't even imagined yet.
Not only has LTC opened its doors to house the program - college officials are already coming up with new ideas on how the college can work with them, including possible LTC-provided training for staff and parents. Parents from other communities such as Palestine and Hutsonville may now find it possible to send their kids to Summer Success and ACE. Robinson Unit 2 and possibly Palestine Unit 3 are coming on board with transportation help. By all appearances, this is a partnership that was just waiting to happen.
More pluses: Students in campus organizations at LTC could probably be recruited as volunteers to work with the kids, with all the mutual benefits that those kinds of relationships bring. Fine arts is one of the things LTC has always done well, and the Summer Success/ACE participants will reap rewards from the college's talent, programs and facilities. And maybe most important, being on the LTC campus for the summer and/or after-school programs may plant the college "seed" in children whose circumstances have kept them or their parents from even of thinking of college as an option for them.
Summer Success and ACE have always been about possibility: opening childrens' eyes to a better world and giving them the support and skills - and caring attention - they need to become a part of it. A college campus is a great place to explore possibilities, and it's great that LTC is offering a place for that to happen, for the kids who need it most.