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TOPIC TITLE: stigma over self, too ashamed to discuss tuition assistance w/ child's school
Created On 12/4/08 6:28 PM
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justso
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12/4/08 6:28 PM
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I need both halakhic and psych advice.

My husband is the step-father of my child. the father is deceased.

I'm receiving treatment at a local public mental health clinic. I was hospitalized last summer. We have not paid anything to the my child's school yet and its eating me up.

I had received a letter that the tuition committee wants $550/month (plus all other expenses) I have been too ashamed to explain to them why my employment is so sporadic (symptoms & going for treatment) My husband & I have some income from rent in the apt we live in. He takes care of the building this is his only work. He has pain from a serious auto accident. Our expenses exceed our income.

Once the financial administrator told me that we were" not being good parents" because we weren't paying more. There are other issues that has shamed me with the administration. I can't get into it now. I will post later.

There has been some violence in the home (which led to my hospitalization in the psych ward) I told a rav who, I think spoke with the menachel of the school. I have avoided speaking with anyone all year. My husband has some 3rd party checks from arba minim sales which he is giving to me for the school. It is only enough to cover registration, thus, I will still have to come up with money for the last 4 months tuition. then there's meeting the "scrip" quota, book fee, banquet, building fund, selling fundraising tickets, fufilling parent service hours, gas for car pool....

My husband controls the finances and doesn't want/says we can't pay more than $250-$300 a month. But I don't want to be the one to speak with the tuition committee. AI want him to explain to them. They want us to borrow to pay tuition. I am too ashamed and don't want to disclose info. (maybe this is a mute point since maybe they already know.)

I trully believe in what chazal says, that if you don't pay what you ought to for chinuch you get chinuch problems with the kids.

I must say that there is a very much a reality that disclosing a mental health issue could further stimatize us.

btw, Baruch Hashem, I am seeing progress and I don't want to undermine this by taking on more work or lossing my medicaid.

I need guidance.
 
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su7kids
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12/4/08 6:36 PM
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This subject I know a lot about!!! firstly, there is nothing to be ashamed about with regard to your getting help for what you need. You do NOT need to reveal details to the scholarship committee.

What I have discovered is that most scholarship committees want to get SOMETHING from you. If you pay NOTHING they feel you're really not making an effort. If your husband says you can pay $250 or $300 and not the $550 per month, go in and offer them that. Most likely, they will take it.

You can remind them that your child's father is deceased and this is the child's step father and there are 'health issues' which prevent you from working any more. You do NOT need to go into the details of the 'lhealth issues' and if they ask, you can say 'I prefer not to discuss them, but trust me, they are serious enough that I cannot work on a regular basis'. If that is not enough for them, then they are being too harsh.

You could even walk in there with your head checks for the amount you're willing to pay, say $250 a month and say, I can give these to you now, but I cannot do more. When we can do more, we will. (it makes them realize you're seirously doing your best).

This is not a psychological thing any more than you have to not be embarrassed that you heve to ask for help. Many of us have done that. They make the school fees so high because of the FEW who CAN pay them. The rest of us, they actually expect us to grovel a bit.

Good luck, let us know how it turns out.


-------------------------
Proud Mom of 7, MIL to 3, Grandmom of 4!
 
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Aba
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12/4/08 9:05 PM
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If I may give my 2 cents we found it was very helpful letting my kids Menahel and Rebaim/Teachers know about Ema's situations. It definitely helped when it came to tuition but even more it helped in my kids education. The schools were able to support the children during difficult times giving either some extra attention or extra room.

I just asked the 3 oldest of them and they agreed it definitely helped them in school.

Wishing you a refuah shlayma and lots of luck,
Aba


-------------------------
"Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming." - Coach John Wooden
 
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mouse
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12/5/08 3:38 AM
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I'm not sure what the tuition comittee is like in the school your child goes to;however, from my experience, these people can keep information confidential when asked. (I told them about being out of work due to a mental health issue and being in the hospital.) I was very surprised when they came through for me and reduced my tuition by half. (And I only have two kids.) They need to know the situation you are in or they are unable to help and left to think that you CHOOSE not to pay. That is why they are trying to shame you into paying tuition. I would speak to the same rav you spoke to last time (because it sounds like you are comfortable with him at least a little) and explain what is going on with tuition problems. They are often able to go to the tuition committee for you and speak on your behalf. If not explain to the tuition committee that you prefer they speak to you through your rav as it is a source of great stress. I'm not big on full disclosure of mental illness, but from my experience, you say mental illness, they are much more sympathetic and willing to listen and help out. They have little to gain by telling others your situation. Request confidentiality. I did and I"m pretty sure I got it. Best of luck.

BTW, you rav may also be able to help with his discretionary funds to help pay tuition if you tell him...an added benefit.


-------------------------

All the king's horses and all the king's men couldn't put Humpty Dumpty together again.
 
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justso
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12/7/08 3:41 PM
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thank you all for the practical advice and support.

Has anyone had experience with:

having to sell fundraising tickets for the schoolsc holarship drive? We are obligated to sell $1,000 worth of tiickets ($100 each) The paradox is that those who rely on the scholarships usually don't have contacts with people with disposible income. (business contacts, wealthy parents or friends.) What am I suppossed to do, go out in the street and solicit? I usually sell "shares" of a single ticket, my dh & I buy 2-3 so we end up selling about 4 tickets. The weekly bulletin posts the names of those who have sold. I feel so much busha that I don't give more.

I used to volunteer more at the school. But now I because of my therapy, part time job and regular household duties, I can't do as much. Plus, don't like to face certain yachneh's in the office. ( know I need to gird my loins a bit a just push away my busha. Any tips?

DD is, B'H going into high school and now I have to pay for testing
 
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su7kids
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12/7/08 4:04 PM
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I wish they wouldn't do tickets that are $100. If you could sell 20 tickets for $50 its even easier, you could send out an email to your whole email list and say you are selling these raffle tickets, that's what I did, and it worked.

I honestly don't think they're expecting you to do more than YOUR BEST.


-------------------------
Proud Mom of 7, MIL to 3, Grandmom of 4!
 
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frumsw
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12/9/08 1:54 PM
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I agree. If you make some arrangement for tuition and send your kids with their supplies, homework, clean clothing, lunch/snack, show up for PTA and return teacher's phonecalls, you are doing more than enough-plenty of parents don't even do that much. The rest is gravy and you may be self conscious, but nobody at the school really cares, they just try to earn as much money for the school as possible.


-------------------------
frumsw
 
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justso
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12/10/08 1:09 AM
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Thank you everyone for taking the time to write

su7kids, thanks for the chizuk and eizot. Its hard to believe that they want just my "best" What constitues "my best?"The tuition committee, a year ago asked if they could put a lien on my home or that I should take out a loan.

so this is where my halakhic shaila comes in, am I obligated to borrow against my home? We live off the rents of the 4unit bldg we live in.

My husband is adament that we can not pay more than $250-300 ( especially since his only employment is taking care of the building, he hasn't medical insurance and is in chronic pain since his accident and goes for regular treatment.)

Anyone know of a rav who would be good to speak to about this?
 
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mouse
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12/10/08 4:13 AM
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Is the one that you use for all other questions a possibility? Is there one that has direct connections with the school your children go to that may be able to be more persuasive on your behalf? I just know my situation and that was we were told to write a cover letter with our situation and why we are not doing well financially. In addition we referred the committee to our rabbi who has a direct connection to the school. (He isn't IN it, just connected to it since his entire congregation sends their kids there unless there is a major problem.)


-------------------------

All the king's horses and all the king's men couldn't put Humpty Dumpty together again.
 
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justso
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12/3/09 2:53 AM
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I don't know if anybody is looking at this thread anymore but I need support (see my Dec 2, 2009 post about my dh's tv addiction)

Things have gotten worse, financially and my dh is just plain mean and has not worked for years. (however, he says I'm the one with the problem)

I can't afford anything now.

I want to relocate to a cheaper Jewish community. any suggestions?
 
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