For almost seven years, I’ve worked with adults with special needs at Family Residences and Essential Enterprises in Hauppauge. I’ve gotten to know and care for our clients. I enjoy what I do, but I’m dealing with the difficult choice of continuing this work or moving on to a job that offers a better wage.
Though the increase in the minimum wage will help, I hope that New York State, which contracts for these services, will provide more funds for pay raises.
I help with meals and the activities of daily life. We paint, read, play games, work on job-related skills, volunteer in the community, participate in sports and learn life-safety skills. Without the direct-care staff, much of this would not be possible for the people we serve.
The work can be stressful, and this problem is exacerbated by high staff turnover. We are often short-handed.
This is also a problem for individuals who’ve developed close relationships with the staff. They sometimes have difficulty dealing with the absence of someone they considered a friend.
Our rate of pay has not kept up with price increases in food, rent and gasoline.
Jackie Chessman, Brightwaters
Let neighbors weigh in on projects next door
A fortress-like McMansion built this summer looms over my house and garden, depriving me of the privacy I valued for 57 years. The construction proceeded at a frantic pace, and the workers denuded the site of almost all greenery. Small houses on minimal properties in established Long Island neighborhoods are being knocked down and replaced by huge edifices.
What is my town government’s role? Local governments should ensure that new residential structures not destroy the character of our neighborhoods. They should bring neighbors into the process of vetting building projects.
Lois Raiken, Syosset
Break the monopoly on public school funding
School choice vouchers would cut to the heart of reforming public education. Vouchers would allow students to choose their schools and have the funding follow them.
We now have a monopolistic public education system that has become a breeding ground for political correctness — which in turn has infiltrated every corner of American culture.
This has led to ridiculous actions, such as keeping open really bad schools where students don’t learn, just to hold onto union power and jobs for teachers. We must confront this major issue.
Andrea Vecchio, East Islip
Editor’s note: The writer is an activist with the taxpayer groups East Islip TaxPAC and Long Islanders for Educational Reform.