Letters to the Editor

Youth program needed guidance

I was very upset by the way the article “Youth program in turmoil, director axed,” (News-Times, Feb. 4) portrayed Jennifer Fuentes. She is one of the hardest working, most dedicated people I have ever met and I don’t think that anyone could have done a better job as Youth Service coordinator than her.

First, the article talks about the 14-page notice of discipline to Funetes. It states that she was rude to the public. I would like to know when and how this was, because if she ever was “rude” she probably had a good reason for it. I have seen her keep her cool in situations where people were constantly hounding her.

Also, the needs assessment report, I remember she did write a summary, but it may not have fit other people’s guidelines and maybe that was because I don’t remember them ever giving her any. Then the article talks about the $5,000 of her budget that she inappropriately spent on “music-related items, clothing for kids, and other small items, like temporary tattoos.” It was my understanding that the money came from a grant for the North Whidbey Youth Coalition that had to be spent immediately because they were being terminated. Yes, she did buy all of these things but she bought them because the whole youth council decided we should have items like that at the Youth Summit that the city so badly wanted us to have in the spring. She wasn’t out just buying random things. There was a purpose for it.

Also, Jennifer may have had to stand up for us sometimes because people were rude to us, for some reason a youth council was not looked greatly upon by many. But, she was never so rude that it was inappropriate and we are kids. There were some on the council that were only 11 years old, do you think they are going to stick up for themselves?

There were a lot of other things in the article that upset me, but my last comment will be this. The last paragraph has a quote from the mayor saying, “We were never supposed to be in the business of providing services, but that’s what it was growing into.” Well if the program wasn’t headed in the right direction then maybe the mayor should have set up a meeting with us to tell us what to do differently. It was a brand new program and no one had any real guidance on what to do. So since this was a new program, the mayor should have been checking in to see how things were progressing and making adjustments as we went instead of waiting until everything fell apart to say that it had.

Ashley Elm

Oak Harbor

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