An immigrant and a grandmother of three children who attend schools in City Heights, Seng Vo has served for many years as a volunteer at the Parent Center at Rosa Parks Elementary. She knows about sacrifice and dreams for the future.
“We as immigrants, we suffered and sacrificed a lot to come to this country. Some of us even gave up our life to find freedom, to come to this U.S. of A., and it’s all because of the future of our children.”
Vo and her family, along with other parents and children in City Heights, now have a new partner to help them achieve success. The City Heights Partnership for Children, a new grassroots movement, brings together many community organizations to support parents, children and young adults in City Heights.
The California Endowment, United Way of San Diego County, Neighborhood House Association, the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency, San Diego State University and Price Charities have joined hands with parents, businesses, schools and others. The San Diego Unified School District endorsed the City Heights Partnership for Children at its Oct. 11 meeting.
The City Heights Partnership for Children comes at just the right time as all schools are dealing with cutbacks in funding. The Partnership was set up with the belief that teachers and school leaders need the community to be involved in order to achieve the goals that parents want for their children.
“With money shrinking, our resources are limited. We do what we can, but it is getting harder to meet the individual needs of our children,” said Donna Potter, a first-grade teacher at Adams Elementary School.
Community organizations have supported City Heights schools for many years. Price Charities, San Diego State University, The California Endowment, community health clinics and social service agencies, all have given generously to provide resources to assist families in City Heights.
What is different about the City Heights Partnership for Children is the approach: a commitment by more organizations to help out, more coordination of efforts, and more research to identify the best solutions.
The Partnership has five goals:
Members will begin with goal No.1: preparing children for success in kindergarten. Many children in City Heights are not attending preschool or are placed in daycare facilities that are not equipped to give them adequate preparation for kindergarten, according to Price Charities.
There are high hopes that the Partnership will become a model for the region.
Like Vo, Rosi Rangel, a mother of two children who lives in City Heights, is excited about what the Partnership can do for her community. She is a parent representative for the Hoover High School cluster and has been a strong participant in the planning meetings for the initiative.
“The whole Partnership is working from the bottom of our hearts with commitment and as a team,” she said. “We keep the faith and believe that everything achieved with this group will be a legacy to our children, our grandchildren and families, for them to value their community, to work on their community and to work for their community.”
[Disclosure: This was written by staff members of City Heights Life, a monthly newspaper funded by Price Charities. Price Charities is also the lead organization in the City Heights Partnership for Children. Another participating organization, The California Endowment, funds Speak City Heights.]