Over the past few months there has been tons of things going through my mind. The constants are health/safety, education, and culture. I have been trying to figure out what is best for me, for my husband, and for our baby to be.
My question has been, what am I going to do when we have a baby in the house? Am I going to force the baby to get up early when they could be staying home, and am I going to drag them around town all day with me because I am too afraid to be home? I feel terrible, and STUCK. Because of the home-buyers tax credit, we now have to stay in our home (as a primary residence) for at least three years after purchase, or else we will have to pay $9,000 back to the IRS. That wouldn't be a problem if we had the money, but that tax credit came at a time that I was unemployed and we had no choice but to use it to survive.
That covers the whole safety issue, now on to the education issue. Less than 40% of students that start off in the Soledad School System make it to their high school graduation. The national average is over 80%. 3% of students make it to a two year college, 2% make it to a four year college, and 1% make it to grad school. This is really sad. My husband and I are major fans of education, and I just can't believe that there are parents out there that will not help their kids at least make it through the end of high school. Soledad is such a small town that these percentages are like mind-blowing. PLUS, I found out a few weekends ago that their are currently 33 teenage girls that are pregnant at this moment at my old high school. WHAT THE HECK!?! I am so scared to think that my child will be influenced by these surrounding. I want a community that will help support my child's growth, not a community that will expect the major of it's children to fail.
And now on to culture... Simply put, Soledad's culture is gangs. Hundreds of years later when people are documenting the history and lives our the Salinas Valley's residents they will document gang war, fieldworker, and land owners. I believe that has been the cycle in this area for so very long that I almost have lost all hope for things to change. We can't really blame the youth for falling back into the cycle their parents fell into because the community fails to offer real alternatives. We have no museums, art programs, or community centers that are actually advertising to our families. There aren't very many programs for our kids to participate in other than school sports, and although I love sports, sports aren't for everyone.
I don't know what to do guys. Praise the Lord that my husband has a decent job, and that I have been able to find work, even if it is only part-time and temporary, but is it worth it to give up the job security that we do have and try to find a better place to raise our child? My family is here and I will miss them so much, but do I put that before the other issues that I have mentioned? My husband's hometown has better education ratings, and the cost of living is much lower, but he doesn't want to move there. I would like to move to Mississippi because his mother is all alone out there right now, the only family she has left is a sister. Chicago is always calling to my heart, but finding a job in Chicago is almost impossible.
HELP! I wish I knew how to improve my community, but right now the only power I have over anything is my vote. Problems can be solved when people with clear plans and dedicated hearts take charge, and right now we all have the opportunity to make choices for our communities. Please take advantage of your right to vote, and please take time to pray for our families safety and peace of mind.