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Seeking Satisfaction

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I am writing to request clarification of facts regarding an article written by Ben Joravsky on June 6, 1997. In Mr. Joravsky's article entitled "Social Insecurity" he states that the Mary Crane Center did not conduct an official presentation to the residents of the Lathrop Elderly building, which is untrue. A presentation and meeting was conducted on May 15. This presentation consisted of introduction of some of the Mary Crane Head Start staff, history of the Center within Lathrop Homes which encompassed the various programs we offer, and an actual video of the Head Start program depicting several segments of the program. A question and answer period followed where residents and Lathrop council members asked questions relative to the program and how it would be implemented in the Lathrop building. Discussion encompassed the issues of security, schedule of program hours, program calendar year, renovation of the facilities, and availability and utilization of space to the seniors, etc. At the end of the presentation, a written vote was taken that presented a three to one vote in favor of having the Head Start program housed in Lathrop Elderly.

Prior to this meeting, a feasibility study was conducted by the Department of Human Services and a qualified architectural firm was contracted to insure that bringing the program to this building would be possible. This entire process has taken well over six months and was brought to the residents when we knew that structurally this was possible and that funding would be available. Representatives from the Department of Human Services, Chicago Housing Authority, La Vivienda Housing management, Lathrop Elderly council members, staff and residents, and the Mary Crane board of directors and staff each took part in various meetings to insure collaboration and commitment.

I believe Mr. Joravsky should have waited to get the complete details regarding this matter, as his article has caused confusion and turmoil where it could have been avoided if he had correct information. I am asking that he retract the information written and that he reissue a statement presenting the correct information. In order to do this appropriately, Mr. Joravsky should contact the proper individuals for the details.

Mary Beltran
Executive Director
Mary Crane Center

Ben Joravsky replies:

According to the residents, less than half of the tenants of the Lathrop seniors building attended the meeting to which Mary Beltran refers. Most of the residents say they were not asked about putting the nursery school into their building, were not invited to help design it, and had no idea they were going to have to give up their common rooms for it. After the article ran, the issue of housing the school was put to a closed vote. The residents rejected the proposal.

While researching my article, I called Beltran at her office and left a message asking for her comments. She did not respond until after the article was published.

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