The Student News Site of Carbondale Community High School

Terrier Times

The Student News Site of Carbondale Community High School

Terrier Times

The Student News Site of Carbondale Community High School

Terrier Times

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is the east-side of Carbondale effecting our kids?

The east side of Carbondale, often referred to as the “ghetto” or “hood,” is a neighborhood that has faced numerous challenges over the years. While it’s essential to recognize the resilience and strength of its residents, we cannot ignore the detrimental impact this environment has on their mental and physical well-being.

Gabe Hilliard, a former high schooler and resident of the east side, shares his perspective: “Growing up here, you learn to adapt. But it’s hard. The constant stress gunshots, poverty, lack of opportunities takes

Gabe Hilliard riding a bike (Austin Dedecker)

a toll on your mind.”

The prevalence of crime, substance abuse, and economic instability creates a toxic environment. Phenina Jones, a single mother, explains, “I worry about my kids every day. Will they be safe? Will they have a chance to break free from this cycle?”

Cora Jones, a retired nurse, emphasizes the scarcity of mental health resources: “We need more clinics, more counselors. People suffer silently because they can’t afford therapy or don’t know where to turn.”

The stigma surrounding mental health exacerbates the problem. Turk Jones, a community organizer, states, “We need to normalize seeking help. Mental health isn’t weakness; it’s strength.”

The east side lacks access to fresh, nutritious food. Fast-food chains dominate the landscape, contributing to health disparities. “You can’t find a decent grocery store here,” says Gabe. “It’s all processed junk.”

Phenina adds, “Diabetes, heart disease—these are common. We’re fighting battles on two fronts: poverty and health.”

Cora points out environmental hazards: “Lead paint, crumbling infrastructure, polluted air. Our kids grow up surrounded by toxins.”

Turk emphasizes the need for advocacy: “We deserve clean parks, safe playgrounds. Our children deserve better.”

Despite the challenges, the east side community remains resilient. “We look out for each other,” says Gabe. “We’re family.”

Phenina echoes this sentiment: “We celebrate small victories—a neighbor’s graduation, a new job. It keeps us going.”

Cora’s plea is clear: “Invest in our community. Provide mental health services, affordable housing, and education.”

Turk concludes, “We’re not just statistics. We’re people with dreams. It’s time to rewrite our story.”

As Carbondale grapples with these issues, let us remember that change begins with empathy, understanding, and collective action. The east side deserves hope, health, and a brighter future.

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