By: Sharon Aron Baron
Last week while driving through the intersection of Commercial Boulevard and University Drive, I saw a group of teenage boys walking in and out of traffic holding football helmets while asking for money.
Were they part of a school football team? There was nothing printed anywhere that had their team name.
In fact, there were no visible permits, no school name and more importantly, no adult anywhere in sight.
They very well could have been a high school team trying to raise money.
The thing is, we don’t have a high school in Tamarac.
Now this doesn’t mean any high school can’t come here and raise funds, but what are these parents (if any were supervising) teaching their children by putting them on the streets to panhandle for money? Other forms of fundraising could be used to teach them valuable lessons about earning money instead teaching children to ask for handouts.
Back when I was in school, when we had an organization that needed to raise money, we would organize car washes, book or bake sales. We had to work for the money and didn’t get to stand on corners for any handouts. This is a lesson every parent should instill in their children from a young age.
Tamarac isn’t the only place I’ve seen high school students panhandle. I’ve seen them in Weston and Davie too, and I find it appalling that parents would allow their children to fund-raise at dangerous intersections.
The Homeless Voice is one of the worst offenders as far as panhandling. Forget about driving up to an intersection with your windows down, they will badger you for a contribution. At busy intersections, they also walk in and out of traffic creating a danger to themselves and to drivers.
The Homeless Voice is a savvy sales organization where the man or woman at the intersection tries to sell the “Homeless Voice” newspaper. They get to keep 60% of all their proceeds and shelter operator Sean Cononie gets the other 40%. After many years of running this organization, you would think that Cononie could create other resourceful work for these homeless people.
What must be the worst offenders are those dressed up in Army/Navy store military-wear masquerading around like they are active military or veterans. I just saw another one of these men near Oakland Park and State Road 7 just the other day. I seriously doubt this guy was in the military or had even ever served. I hope I am wrong.
My hope is that one day Tamarac bans panhandlers and vendors like Miramar did back in December of 2010. Unfortunately, this would also mean legitimate newspapers like the Miami Herald and the Sun-Sentinel would not be allowed to be sold on street corners. A real shame because those guys never hassle me when my windows are down.