When it comes to raising a child, we might dare to amend the African proverb to say, "It takes a village to raise a child ... who believes."
Our children must believe they were meant to succeed. They must believe there are good things waiting for them if they lengthen their stride. They must believe in themselves, and know that the community believes in them also.
We have one last opportunity this year to invest in the dreams of Rim country children.
In 1997, the Arizona State Legislature passed a law allowing residents to deduct, as a tax credit, money given to schools for extracurricular activities. This means any household that pays Arizona taxes may donate up to $250 for married taxpayers filing jointly or $200 for individual taxpayers.
Since it's a tax credit, we get our money back by claiming the same amount, dollar-for-dollar, as a tax credit when filing our state tax returns. We can even select what school or program we'd like the money to benefit.
But time is running out for 2004.
We encourage our readers to get a donation in the mail and postmarked before Dec. 31. Mail to: Payson schools, Credit for Kids, P.O. Box 919, Payson, AZ 85547. Or drop your donation in the APS drop box at town hall before midnight Friday.
For Pine/Strawberry schools send to: P.O. Box 1150, Pine, AZ 85544.
Payson Elementary School Principal Roy Sandoval explains how important these funds are: "The No. 1 thing that we, as parents, educators and a community, can do is help our children catch a vision of what they can achieve. It might even be more important than our day-to-day instruction. Credit for Kids helps us, as educators, to arrange experiences that children might not otherwise have."
For example, PES music instructor Julie Davies recently used Credit for Kids funds to take 70 students to see the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra. What an amazing experience it is to see a full orchestra in a concert hall.
Credit for Kids money puts instruments into their hands and dreams into their hearts.