LifeNets is pleased to show support for Life Gaps school since 2000. We have known Jerry Cook for almost 20 years and admire what he has done with troubled teens. He writes about the latest Life Gaps project called "The Trike."
by Jerry Cook
The shop program involves hand-crank tricycle for those unable to use their legs due to polio, missing limbs, diseases like spina bifida and more. I have (with the help of 3 men) developed “jigs” so that my students can in an assembly fashion measure, mark, cut, sand, primer paint, finish paint and ship the P.E.T. The product cost INCLUDING shipping is approximately $250. I purchase the necessary materials and we construct. The “trike” was sent to Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and more.
The “trike” is a new project, but I have been operating my school for 13 years and it has cost me an average of $10,000 per year personally.
The benefits of the program? The handicapped people in the locations I have mentioned are crawling in the mud, snow, across rocks because of the inability to use their lower body. When the “trike” arrives some of them have been known to sit for 6 or 8 or 10 hours a day on the wooden seat having one inch of padding. (They need to move or they could develop bed sores!)
The story of Life Gaps is as follows: As a former life-licensed public school vocational teacher and farmer I did NOT like was NOT being taught to the slow students or troubled kids. We can almost always identify them by the 5th – 6th grade . They are usually very weak in math, grammar, spelling and reading. If the weaknesses are IDENTIFIED and CORRECTED before age 16 or 15 or 14 many of them will be in jail (costing taxpayers $40,000 – 50,000 per year. Most of the boys REALLY need “hands-on” vocational skills as welding, carpentry, engines, electricity and others. THAT IS WHAT IS NEEDED and that is why I started Life GAPS in 1999.
“GAPS” stands for “Grades”, “ATTITUDE”, “perseverance” (which means having enough “guts” to stay in my school with me!) and the “S” for “SKILLS”!) I am VERY proud of being a hard disciplinarian, excellent teacher “complete” teacher in MORE than COMMON CORE (which is NOT the answer) math, grammar, spelling, social studies, science plus art, music and basketball and greenhouse veggies.
More questions? Feel free to reply!