Yesterday I had the opportunity to participate in a community event called “The Big Table”. This event was sponsored by the Columbus Foundation. The Columbus Foundation is a philanthropic advisor, helping through effective charitable giving. Approximately 5000 random Central Ohio residents, mixed in with government officials and various non profit organizations, sat down in small groups to discuss a wide variety of community problems and issues.
Thousands gather in small groups to discuss civic issues at Big Table event was an article detailing the event, published in the Columbus Dispatch on Wednesday, August 31, 2016.
Transportation and Employment
One issue which was highlighted at our Big Table was the need for better education and job opportunities for our youth. A major topic was transportation the lack of transportation for many youth in order to have the ability to get to jobs if they had one. The table discussed that many parents work full time and cannot provide transportation for their working teenagers. This leads us to the need for a transportation system that can get the young workers safely to and from work. Drug dealing and violence can sometimes be a result of the lack of opportunity to travel to work created by the insufficient public transportation system in Columbus.
College and Student Loan Debt
For those who move on to college, the expense of a college education was another vital topic that the Big Table group I participated in discussed. This topic was of particular interest to me since I am am part of a network of lawyers that provide assistance with student loan debt issues. Therefore, I am consistently working with graduates as well as those with some college who are overwhelmed with student loan debt.
There is no formal teaching mechanism in the schools to provide the information to our high school students to help them to make an informed decision on cost of their college education. Most any day on the Oval at The Ohio State University campus you can find credit card companies giving free tee shirts, mugs, or some other trinket or prize to entice college freshman to sign up for $5000 limit credit cards by just signing their name. Our kids need to understand the cost of a college education. College students are often paying in excess of $40000 to get a bachelor’s degree from college, then in today’s economic environment are struggling to find a job that will support their cost of living, any accrued credit card debt, and student loans. Student loans, and credit card debt may be easy to come by, but will your degree enable you get a job that pays you enough money to live on, and pay your student loan?
Student Loan Debt Help
Over the years the Department of Education has put in place a variety of programs that can help student loan debtors survive in a financial crisis that does not leave enough money to pay your student loans. Some of these programs use an Income Driven Repayment calculation that can help student loan debtors to survive on the income that they are earning, and in some cases even forgive the debt. A large part of what I do on a daily basis is to help student loan debtors to find, assess, and apply to these student loan debt relief programs. In fact, since I do not charge for initial consultations via phone, student loan debtors can call me at no expense to learn how The Needleman Law Office Process can help them.
Overall, I found the Big Table event to be very interesting and informative on numerous topics in addition to the student loan debt topic which is near and dear to my heart. It is with great hope that the type of open communication and learning experience provided through these forums will help us to better understand and learn how to better work to improve the living circumstances for the entire Columbus, Ohio community.