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CPR focused on reviving Monticello

By Dan Hust
MONTICELLO — November 2, 1010 — They’ve got no grants, no government funding – just a lot of passion to make a difference.
Active behind the scenes for several years, CPR (Community Progressive Response) is stepping up efforts to change Monticello from the inside out.
Last week, the group gathered at the Ted Stroebele Recreation Center to solicit volunteers to man a variety of action-oriented committees.
More than 50 village residents turned out, and Chair Deborah Mack indicated dozens signed on as volunteers.
The committees are focused on education, politics, justice, employment, housing, mentoring and youth.
“We’ve been passive too long,” Mack explained to the crowd at the meeting. “Everyone has ideas, but we want to get them working.”
The Monticello school district was a primary focus of the evening.
“We want the minorities to have a fair and adequate education,” noted Mack.
“The end-all and be-all is education,” added CPR board member Joshua Jones, a Monticello graduate who is leading the newly formed Education Committee.
Some gripes were aired about the district, but Mack said CPR’s approach will be one of working with school officials – and the youth and teachers.
“We’ve just got to learn to listen,” she explained.
And get involved.
“I have worked in the district on and off,” remarked Shannon Jackson, “... and parent involvement is strongly lacking.
“... It takes a village and a community to raise a child,” she pointed out to the crowd. “... We’re losing our kids, and we’ve got to grab them.”
Warren Dumas wished someone had shown that level of care to him when he dropped out of high school decades ago.
But in the intervening years, he found great satisfaction in setting up a summer youth basketball league, and he was one of the first to stand up to do whatever he can.
“I’m willing to volunteer to get a basketball tournament together,” he said to cheers and applause.
More volunteerism followed, with attendees pledging to get involved in mentoring young people or assisting Tom Mack and Anthony McKinney in pushing for political action and equal justice.
Monticello Mayor Gordon Jenkins welcomed the renewed interest.
“The only way we’re going to make change is with the numbers [of volunteers],” he said. “We’re all doomed if you sit back and wait to let someone take care of us.”
“For those of you who say, ‘Let’s do something,’” remarked Mack to the crowd, “now is the time.”
For more information or to get involved, CPR welcomes people of all backgrounds, professions, races and creeds to join them at the next meeting, set for this Monday, November 8 at 6:30 p.m. at the Stroebele Center.

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