More than 25 families converged on the Harriet Tubman House to ask elected officials hard questions about education and school preparedness for their children
BOSTON, Mass. – Concerned parents, some with their children in tow, attended a forum at United South End Settlements (USES) Harriet Tubman House on Friday, April 18, 2014. The forum ran from 11:00 AM to 1:30 PM and included a catered lunch for all.
Part of the Community Forum for Families with Young Children included brief speeches, lively discussion and Q&A times with elected officials. Some questions asked were about fathers having custody of their children, what parents can do to help with budget cuts and decreased funding for childcare, security concerns at schools, and the struggle for non English speaking children being placed in monolingual schools. One participant noted that many parents are not taught how important it is to get to know who their elected officials are and how to contact them. Representative Byron Rushing urged parents to complete a homework assignment by going to www.wheredoivotema.com to make sure they know who their elected officials are and to contact them regularly with questions and concerns. Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz said, “Everyone has friends outside of the City of Boston. We need to encourage our friends to contact their own State Representatives outside of this area to inform them about the issues we face.”
Representative Gloria Fox said of the event, “It was a joy and a pleasure spending a wonderful afternoon sharing information with the Thrive parents. It is always important when we encourage young mothers to stay strong, organize and stay involved in the community as they raise the future leaders of our Commonwealth.” Vatsady Sivongxay, Director of Public Policy for the City of Boston was also in attendance representing City Counselor Tito Jackson.
USES’ President and CEO, Kevin Hepner, said, “USES is proud to have been the hub agency for the South End Lower Roxbury Children Thrive since 2010. Although funding ended this year, placing this vital programming that currently serves more than 300 families in jeopardy, USES is committed to securing new funding to continue this very important work.”
The Community Forum for Families with Young Children was sponsored by the South End Lower Roxbury Children Thrive, part of a city-wide initiative started by Mayor Tom Menino and the City of Boston in 2008 with the goal of ensuring universal school readiness for all of Boston’s children. Thrive in 5 is committed to collaborating across the many sectors and programs that touch the lives of young children and families to ensure that children of all races, ethnicities, incomes, abilities and languages have the opportunities and support they need for success in school and beyond.
For more information about USES or the South End Lower Roxbury Children Thrive Initiative, visit www.uses.org.