NOVEMBER 20, 1936
FLINT, Mich.—Before we had finished our coffee this morning, two long suffering ladies from Flint telephoned up that they were downstairs, but as it was only ten minutes before nine, they would be glad to get a cup of coffee if I was not ready. As my own coffee was still untouched, I was delighted to have a few minutes of grace. We left Saginaw at ten minutes past nine.
The ride over a wide concrete road, is very good and in less than an hour we were in Flint. There was time to unpack and get tidy before the members of the press came for their interview. At twelve o'clock I started out to see some of the work done by the youth administration.
They have done a remarkable job of coordinating in Flint. They have a community plan by which they coordinate all the various community forces—industrial, social, philanthropic, recreational and educational. So it seems natural that the Youth Administration and the WPA and all other government agencies have done a cooperative job here with the city.
The outstanding factor in their program is the use of the schools. Instead of closing them at four o'clock, they remain open and become community centers. Classes of every description go on just as they do all day, and recreational programs are carried out.
They are trying to provide out of door recreation for every child in the city. They showed me what had been a dump and is now a park. A public spirited citizen has contributed some very good tennis courts which are going to be sprayed and used as a skating rink this winter. Someone else has donated the money to put up a building where they will have showers, toilets, a game room and a stage where they can rehearse their plays. There is to be an outdoor theatre in the park next summer and some stone fire places are to be built for picnics. Last summer everyone who had a back yard or a vacant lot or field which could be used as a playground was asked to give up and open it for the neighborhood children with the result that the boy scouts and girl scouts are putting into their program this year, a course of training as leaders in these playgrounds.
The city has become so much interested and recognizes so well the value of this entire program that it would probably go on without any federal aid. Another public spirited citizen has paid the teachers who stay over time to teach in the schools, and what the community is spending in prevention of crime will probably be amply covered by the reduction in young gangsters and hoodlums who manage to destroy a good deal of property.
I have just been over to the local radio studio for an interview, and now we must work on the mail until we get ready for this evening's lecture.