During the meeting hosted by Brother John Muhammad, President of the Neighborhood Association of Childs Park, several citizen led efforts that addressed the advocating of children were presented. One thing is clear, our kids need to know and see that the community cares about them. Just imagine for a moment if we packed school board meetings and school functions the way we pack other functions. Our kids are the future, but they are being hit at the knees before they can even began to dream.
I’m challenging myself to do better as far a volunteering at school is concerned. Once my last child left the public school system, I rejoiced. However, that rejoicing has been short lived, due to the realization that more of my time is needed. I remember being a teen parent attending the YWCA’s school for pregnant teens. Dropping out was a possibility, but I will never forget the encouragement I received from my then teacher Mrs. Senior. She encouraged me to remain in school and told me that my world wasn’t over because I was having a child. She was right! My point is that she could have just focused on teaching, but she didn’t. Choosing to focus solely on my endeavors would be counterproductive.
Our children must know they have an ally in us – the community at large. Dominique Clarkson, Teacher at the Midtown Academy, presented on her Mindfulness and Meditation Program. Ashley Green of the Dream Defenders, presented startling statistics on student arrest and imprisonment and how those numbers impact our black students compared to their white counterparts and only help to feed the prison to pipeline beast. Consider this, “black students are only a third of enrollment, but make up 59% of school arrest compared to 32% for white students. ” Denise Ford, Parent Advocate touched on the importance of establishing reading curriculum and a sound reading program for pre-k and elementary students. Denise also spoke about the need for the community to get organized and become a united front. A front that can no longer be ignored by the Pinellas County School Board. Dr. Larry Muhammad spoke about the need and importance of establishing our own schools.
There is so much work that needs to be done. I encourage you to find your place. Now is not the time to point fingers. Truth be told, we all have areas of improvement, we wouldn’t be human if we didn’t. For more information about these and other community events, please visit MyChildsPark.webs.com or like them at Facebook.com/MyChildsPark