Admirable youth

I think it is time to celebrate the remarkable contributions young people make to our community.

Recently, I received a financial donation from two young teens, Maggie Pizzo from Porter-Gaud and Carly Grossman from Ashley Hall. Instead of receiving gifts for their birthdays, they asked for donations from their friends for Meeting Street Academy. This donation exceeded our imagination, and with this money we will be able to provide our students with books for a summer reading program.

Maggie spent time at MSA through a winter service project with Porter-Gaud, working with our young children in several capacities and completing several school projects. At Meeting Street Academy our mission is to provide a college preparatory education with the expectation that our young children will be future leaders of our local community and nationwide.

With phenomenal role models, such as these two girls, our children observe teens giving in many different capacities on a regular basis. The saying, "It takes a village to raise a child" rings true. What is even more amazing is watching young teens become part of that village.

Meeting Street is grateful to these two teens and the many other volunteers who have contributed the school's phenomenal success so far.

TRISH SCARRYDirectorMeeting Street AcademyKing StreetCharleston

Childhood obesity

I read and agreed with the recent editorial in The Post and Courier about a bill to ban sugar and fats from school cafeterias. My question is why it took so long. But we all know the answer to that: The more kids spend on the vending machines, the more money the school makes.

In a technical high school in North Charleston the vending machines, filled with junk food, were not only accessible, they were in the main entryway of the school. Half the kids in North Charleston are overweight or obese, but it dawned on no one to put those vending machines far enough away that kids had to trek to get a high sugar, high fat snack.

I attended the Obesity Prevention Summit in Columbia last month. I appreciate their mission and passion, but I feel like we're closing the barn door after the horses have gotten out. More than one-third of our children are overweight or obese, so prevention alone can't be our focus.

We are trying to make a difference at Louie's Kids. I know of other organizations in the area trying to make a difference too, but it would seem we're all met with budget constraints when it comes to getting feasible, cost-effective programs that address behavior.

Luckily with folks like Oblique Magazine, the Blessing of the Fleet Foundation, I'On Health Club and East Shore Athletic Club we can launch treatment programs in one or two more schools this fall.

Some $99.2 billion was spent in obesity-related health care costs in 1995 — you can imagine what it was last year. Throwing small amounts of funding at childhood obesity will not fix the epidemic we are faced with. We are past prevention when one in four toddlers is overweight or obese. If we want to fix this problem we are going to have to start by changing people's behavior and opening our minds, hearts and pocketbooks to those who need it the most.

LOUIS YUHASZI'On AvenueSullivan's Island

Changes needed

The statement made by a May 7 letter writer put the blame on the student for his inability to learn. This could be true; however, the education system does not do enough to educate or to document the students' efforts. Case in point: My son David got a high school diploma from Summerville High School, and it stated, "The State Board of Education on the recommendations of the state officials, and the administrators and faculty of Summerville High School awards this diploma to David Lee Coon who has completed a minimum credit of 18 units."

My son passed away a few years back, and he could not read a first-grade book, even though he had a high school diploma. He was born with minimal brain damage. A certificate of learning would have been the appropriate thing for him at that time.

JIMMY COONDale AvenueLadson

Reading the signs

Every day on my commute home from work heading outbound from Charleston, I see an inspiring billboard. First it started with one line: Discrimination is so gay. Maybe most people don't get the meaning of the play on words, but to me it says discrimination is so wrong.

The second line that went up a few weeks after was: Gay Rights Are Civil Rights. No matter who you are, you deserve every right given to every citizen of the United States and finally being accorded the full equality in family life with the latest addition of the state of Maine giving its gay and lesbian citizens the right to marry.

The third tag line went up last week: Acceptance Without Exception. No one should accept anything less than the full rights and benefits accorded to all.

Further down I-26, there is another billboard that confirms to me that I am all right with the Lord my God: the 40 Days For Life board. It quotes Isaiah 44:2, "I am your Creator. You were in My care even before you were born."

God who is all knowing knew that I would be gay, and he was OK with it before I even knew and was born. God does not make mistakes, and I am who he created and knew before my parents even knew me, and was OK with it. Thank you, God, for confirming that who I am and my sexuality is OK with the 40 days For Life group and billboard. It makes me smile and know that I am OK with who I am.

MICHAEL SCHWARZOTTEdgebrook CircleNorth Charleston

Don't spoil view

Why do we love the Lowcountry? What makes this the destination for so many visitors?

Answer: There are many reasons, but the unspoiled vistas, the wetlands, marsh and waterways make this a special, unique and beautiful place.

Certainly there is another alternative to the heavy-handed tromp through James and Johns islands, across the river and marsh that will alleviate the traffic in this area.

I oppose the expensive and damaging extension of the Mark Clark as it will most certainly ruin the view that I and so many other islanders have come to love.

STACEY COOKDoctor Whaley RoadJohns Island

Attempt to punish

Once again The Post and Courier has chosen to take the low road.

The situation of Danny Molony and his family is not news, nor is it anybody's business.

That includes those vengeful individuals whose only joy comes from knowing that there are people in our community whose suffering is worse than the pain in their own lives or who just take joy in seeing other people suffer.

This article is despicable in that it not only details the difficulties Danny and Susan Molony are currently experiencing, but it names Danny's current employer in what appears to be a blatant attempt to punish him for giving Danny a job.

I certainly do not condone what Danny and his son did, but enough is enough. The Molonys have served their time; they are finishing their parole and in a small way, making progress in making restitution. They should be allowed to do this without the blinding glare of vengeance and self-righteousness.

PHILIP A. STILES Jr.Putnam DriveCharleston