Rocco Basile noted something that Gandhi believed. Real education consists in drawing the best out of yourself. What better book can there be than the book of humanity? (Mahatma K. Gandhi)
'My education taught me to be sympathetic to the needs of others and helped me understand how that can change a world. Like Gandhi said it is important for us to be the change we want to see in the world,' said Rocco Basile.
The US Department of Education (ED) tagline states, 'Promoting educational excellence for all Americans.' This organization was created in 1980 and the ED mission is 'to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access.'
Some 4,500 ED employees and a $71.5 billion budget dedicated to establishing policies on federal financial aid for education, as well as distributing and monitoring the funds; collecting data on America's schools and disseminating research; focusing national attention on key educational issues; and prohibiting discrimination and ensuring equal access to education.
For example, in Brooklyn, New York, gang violence is just part of everyday life. There are 17 thousand child abuse cases in this community that have been documented. One out of every three families lives below the poverty line. There is a 48 percent drop out rate among high school students, so out of the 30 thousand students, 15 thousand are dropouts. Drugs, disease, gang violence, and crime contribute to about a thousand deaths annually. More and more people are realizing that the answer is education.
'I've been down the wrong road once in my life and I feel my education has allowed me to understand the adverse effects it had on my life and the lives of others. Because I was educated I was able to read hundreds of spiritual books from every culture and religion, inspiring me to be a positive change,' he continued. 'It gave me the intuition to see how that positive change circulates back into my life.'
What happens to those in society that don't invest in education? Does it make a difference to the overall social structure and eventually affect our economy? Author of a book entitled 'Smart Money,' William Schweke: Education and Economic Development' believes that prevention is almost always cheaper than treatment. He states that if we do not invest now, we most certainly will pay later and discusses the social costs of inadequate educational and workforce preparation opportunities, believing that by increasing earnings, education can lower social costs.
Schweke notes that there is a strong relationship between low basic skills and welfare dependency. 60 percent of out-of-wedlock births among 19 to 23-year-olds are to those who score in the lowest 20 percent on basic skills tests. About 82 percent of all Americans in prison are high school dropouts. Sadly, he also points out that the United States spends almost 10 times as much as Western European countries on security services, arrest, incarceration and parole, while these same countries spend comparable amounts on subsidized employment and training.
Many people like these men believe that educating our youth is the answer to will break the cycle of poverty, crime and drugs. 'Educating our youth is the foundation for prosperity ... Economic problems, in turn, exacerbate social problems, such as crime, drug abuse, gangs, reliance on government assistance, and family break-ups. To ameliorate these weaknesses in the social fabric, public funds that might otherwise go toward productive investment are spent instead on crime control, drug treatment and income support programs,' says Schweke. 'Education positively affects income distribution.'
In the darkness, there is an organization in Brooklyn, New York that is bringing light and making a difference to help do something about these statistics. There are hundreds of people in need of intervention, children in need of education, and families in need of counseling, and hope, and Children of the City is an organization making a difference.
Founded in 1981, the volunteer-based outreach connects people in need with basic services, educational and employment training, health care, counseling, and many other personal growth opportunities. People like Rocco Basile are working through organizations like this helping to reach children at risk and who can be resilient if they are given the right intervention and education.
Kristin Gabriel has been writing about non-profits for over 20 years and has taken an interest in the work being done by the Joe DiMaggio Committee for Xaverian High Schoo and Children of the City and their Board Member Rocco Basile.