Since Children are our future and protecting
our future resources is what this workshop is all about. A panel of individuals
who are touching the lives of children and young adults gathered to share
their experiences with attendees.
David Reeves a senior advisor at HUD stresses that it is imperative for
people to realize that learning begins at conception. In his presentation,
he went through the different stages in a childs life cycle and explains
how preventative factors can reduce the risk of youth violence. Reeves overwhelming
message is that in order for parents and those working with children to
be successful, they need to start teaching positive behavior at an early
"Working with youths when they are teenagers
is too late," says Reeves. "The process must begin at an early
age if we are going to ensure the success of children in low-income community."
Reeves explains that housing authorities can
help shape childrens lives. To do so, they could do the following:
work with parents, provide health education, encourage education, encourage
participation in sports and ensure structured playground areas
My little World program is an education curriculum
that prepares minority children at the pre-school level through music, animation,
and cultural identity. The program identifies with the childrens various
cultural background and prepares sessions that grab their attention and
keep them informed.
Natii Right, director of Funds for the Children,
believes that many children are not interested in schools and become problem
children because their histories are not presented so they assume that school
is not for them.
Right gave several musical demonstrations
of what My Little World uses to grab the childrens attention and keep
it. She is presently working with the District of Columbias government
to get My Little World curriculum implemented in day care centers.
"The best thing I think for children
is to really tap into where they are culturally and spiritually," says
Right. "Help them find out who they are from their history and you
will experience an entirely different child."
The Public Housing Graduate Initiative targets
five public housing communities in the District of Columbia. It provides
youths in grades 8 through 12 with the support services they need to graduate
from high school and go on to college.
"This is an in-depth, long-term, holistic
approach to surrogate parenting," says Othello Poullard, project director.
"Were helping youngsters in households where there are no parenting."
This unorthodox program uses incentives to
attract and keep its participants. To entice the students, those in grades
8-11 are given $100 per month and 12 graders are given $200 per month while
in the program. However to receive this stipend the participants have to
attend all mandatory activities, each one missed results in a deduction
Some of the mandatory activities include attending
College or Career Next Year sessions at the University of the District of
Columbia, use Standard English and attend counseling sessions.
"We made the idea of going to college
too good to give up. No magic, no solid rule," says Poullard. "Im
not an educator, just a caring person who thought I could do something that
is possible. It is time to do what works."