Where does hope start in a city like Detroit where 14 percent of third graders read at grade level and 60 percent live in poverty?”
It starts with a cohesive collaboration of community leaders, community foundations, educators, lawmakers, and parents.
That’s the heart of the citywide initiative called Hope Starts Here, which heard from all of us for a full year. We listened, brainstormed, planned and developed ideas that will set families on a path towards success.
One year later and $50,000,000 to fund 6 Imperatives and 15 Strategies. Kresge and Kellogg has set the bar of expectations very high for our earliest learner.
Dr. Vitti, the Superintendent of Detroit Public Schools Community District, made it clear: “It is going to take us putting aside our differences and working together. We don’t have a literacy gap, we have an equity gap, a poverty gap…”
He told us that everyone wants change but no one wants to change. We’re okay talking about it until it reaches us. The audience filled with applause.
He made a commitment to all of us who have been a part of the year-long process and, most importantly, he made a commitment to the children. The commitment is to no longer allow barriers of organizational boundaries to stop us from working together.
We asked him what he wants parents to understand and take with them about Hope.
I must say I was moved by his plea to Detroit to no longer allow barriers to stop progress.
The morning was filled with parents, in-home childcare providers, and everyone who have been waiting. Now we have funding to support what we’ve been waiting for.
The funds given by Kellogg and Kresge foundations will support :
•Parents who are interested in becoming early childhood educators.
•Improvement and beautification of already existing education spaces.
•Higher pay for early childhood teachers
•Advocacy support, to assure all families have access to quality early childhood education.
Advocacy will be supported by the Impact Table, who’s mission is to foster collaboration and enhance the capacity of projects that improve Detroit’s neighborhoods..
The Impact table will host community conversations that offers families and community space to give feedback on the work done so far.
All in all, hope never left Detroit, but was reignited in 2016 with the Hope Starts Here Campaign, and now will start to impact our youngest learners. I can’t wait to see the outcome.