On Tuesday, January 8, more than 100 advocates, parents, children and providers gathered at The Children’s Aid Society’s Dunlevy Milbank Center for the first Campaign for Children town hall meeting of 2013. The event is the first in a series of town halls across the five boroughs that the Campaign for Children will host to encourage advocacy activities around child care and after-school programs during the upcoming City budget process.
Milbank Center Director Casper Lassiter welcomed the crowd and reminded all how important it is to come together and fight for these vital programs. He noted that the center’s after-school slots for elementary school students were not funded last year, which meant that Milbank served 100 fewer children from the community. Parents whose children attend early childhood and after-school programs expressed the heartache they would feel if they were to lose what they consider a lifeline.
The grandmother of one child, Chase, who has been unable to attend Milbank afterschool program due to the budget cuts, shared with the group his grief. His grandmother says Chase constantly asks what he did wrong to be cut from the program. To Chase, just like all of the children who go to this center, Milbank was his home away from home and staff were his family, too.
Council Member Gale Brewer said she shared the crowd’s discontent with the instability of funding for these critical services for children. She strongly encouraged parents to meet with their local elected officials to let them know they are being held accountable to do right by New York City’s children. Brewer also applauded the Campaign’s work over the last year and advocates’ role in pushing for restoration of funding for these programs, which help parents keep their jobs and support their families and while providing a safe haven and caring environment for children.
Visit the Campaign for Children’s website here for more information on other events and sign up to be a member of the Campaign. Make your voice heard today!