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GRANDSON MADE IT WITH PROGRAM'S HELP

Pinellas County Life Skills program

I would be remiss if I didn't take this opportunity to applaud Pinellas County's Life Skills program and the amazing job they are doing with county youth who may, for whatever reason, have slipped through the cracks in their education.

I attended a graduation rehearsal last Thursday morning where 48 young people received their caps and gowns to be worn Friday evening as they collect their actual high school diplomas.

My grandson was among them, and my heart was joyful that this opportunity was provided. He transferred from another state in the middle of his senior school year and found it difficult to make the midterm adjustment. He gave up just short of his completion and I feared he would never make that up. He's been job hunting, and now employers are hesitant to accept the GED that was his only other alternative until we found out about Life Skills.

He went down and enrolled, and for several weeks we juggled job hunting with his schooling. The school made allowances for job hunting and even counseled him in resume writing and job interviewing techniques. He did actually get one job, and it interfered with his schooling. The school takes into account the need for students to be working and even encourages them with extra credits.

At this juncture, one of his instructors stepped up and offered to give him one-on-one tutoring that enabled him to get through that last required class and graduate. The subject was one that had hindered him in high school as well. When he was finished, he passed the class with high marks and has a good chance to get into college, which is his next goal.

I will be eternally grateful to this program and the instructors who nurtured my grandson into a well-balanced adult with a chance to have a productive life with higher education and enhanced skills.

The 48 students who walked in their caps and gowns are students who would have fallen through the cracks of society. You can't put a price tag on that kind of success.

Marilyn Skinnard, St. Petersburg

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It's nice to see no more panhandlers

It is so nice to drive around St. Petersburg now and not see people begging with signs on every corner! It really is a refreshing sight!

I was amazed the first Monday morning after the ban went into effect when I pulled up to the light at the busy intersection where my business is located and there wasn't anyone on any of the corners! It really was an amazingly beautiful sight and one that I hope and pray continues to be in effect and enforced.

I now look out our office windows and don't see the vagrants and panhandlers standing outside! Truly a wonderful thing!

Some who read this may think I'm overreacting, but if they had had to deal with the problems that I have had to deal with over the years, they would know where I'm coming from! It is truly wonderful seeing our street corners free of panhandlers and vagrants. Once again, good job, City Council!

Kyle V. Calkins, St. Petersburg

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Thanks to young Good Samaritans

It was about 5 p.m. on a recent Tuesday when my wife and I left a doctor's office and pulled onto 66th Street N. Suddenly my car shut down completely. It wouldn't start up again, and traffic was backing up behind us. We are both in our 80s, so it was a little scary.

In just a couple of minutes, a fellow stopped and asked if he could help. He pushed the car about 20 feet to a side street. Then my wife and I were going to return to the doctor's office to phone for help. Another young man pulled up on a motorcycle and offered to use his cell phone to call AAA. He contacted them and gave them all the information needed. Then, as we were waiting for the tow truck, this same guy returned with two other fellows and they pushed the car into a safer place. They also brought my wife and me each a bottle of cold water.

If you guys are reading this, I know you will recognize yourselves. Thanks again and God bless. For anyone else reading it, count your blessings. We have another great generation of young men.

Frank Justison,St. Petersburg

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