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Volunteer Your Mom Skills to Fight Poverty

Volunteer Your Mom Skills to Fight Poverty

Photo courtesy of David Keim

All of us, at some time or other, need help. Whether we’re giving or receiving help, each of us has something valuable to bring to this world. That’s one of the things that connects us as neighbors – in our own way, each of us is a giver and a receiver. – Fred Rogers, aka Mister Rogers

There is an exciting new comprehensive anti-poverty program here in Huntsville and they are looking for Moms (and Dads) to help them in their fight against one of our city’s ugliest blights. The program, known as The Village of Promise, is officially launching this month after years of planning by many of Huntsville’s brightest minds. The founders, Bobby Bradley and Gloria Batts, have an ambitious goal for this program. As stated on the program’s website they hope “to raise consciousness about education generally in our community and to make the specific point that the inconsistency present in the delivery of instruction is morally unacceptable and cannot be allowed to continue.” Can I hear an “Amen”?

The Model

The program follows the model of The Harlem Children’s Zone which has gained national attention for its revolutionary approach to ending intergenerational poverty. The Zone is a compendium of programs that start at birth and follow the families and children involved on through college. It has been called “arguably the most ambitious social experiment to alleviate poverty of our time” (Dobie/Fryer, Harvard 2009) and the Obama administration has announced plans to replicate the program in 20 other cities. Harlem Children’s Zone CEO Geoffrey Canada, recently named one of Time magazine’s most influential men in the world, will speak at a luncheon being held September 22nd at the VBCs North Hall. Tickets are $50 and can be purchased at www.villagepromise.org or by phone (256.536.8052). A screening of the documentary Waiting for Superman will preceed the event. Much of Canada’s work is highlighted in the film.


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How You Can Help

Several community organizations are already part of The Village of Promise including: Calhoun Community College, UAH, Huntsville Hospital, Heals Clinic, Premier Schools and many more. But for a program of this magnitude to work, our entire community will need to come together. Volunteers are needed in a variety of areas but two are crucial during these beginning stages. Reading and Math Tutors are needed during school hours and after-school. If you have an hour a day to listen to a child read, you can help.


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Mom Aides are also needed to assist those mothers (many of whom are very young) who are entering their children in the program. This might include attending a Parent/Teacher conference with a mom who is too intimidated to attend by herself. Maybe you are simply serving as a resource for someone who needs an experienced mother to answer childcare questions. If you want to learn more about all of the possible volunteer opportunities available please call 256.536.8052. Ours is a wonderful community but it isn’t perfect and many of our city’s problems can be traced back to poverty. If we can break the cycle, we will truly be a city without limits.


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View Comments (9)
  • I’m so excited to see this post. What an incredible program, and Bobby and Gloria are two incredible ladies. The Village of Promise publicity chair wrote a column about this organization for the next issue of Spark magazine, and I hope they keep getting well-deserved publicity! Thank you for including the contact info. I’m keeping fingers crossed there will be volunteer opportunities for us work-outside-the-home moms as well 🙂

    • I was excited to write it! I got the impression that there will be all kinds of volunteer opportunities so I don’t think that is a concern. I just focused on these two because I figured most of our readers would be interested in them. Can’t wait till next Thursday!

  • This is so amazing! I’ll be watching to volunteer opportunities to see if there’s a way I can help. They are on the right track–if we address poverty, we can change the world.

    • Thanks Stephenie – I don’t know why but the first one worked and the second didn’t. I’ve fixed it now. I’m super excited to see this program coming to Huntsville.

    • Trust me Sarah – we will. Stephenie and I just came from the first day of the Parenting Summit and it was incredible. I’m committed to finding a way to help in anyway I can, and I believe there is a way to use RCM to connect people. We’ve just got to figure it out.

  • Ladies:
    I am responding to all the comments regarding
    volunteer opportunities. Village of Promise is planning yet another Parent event for our University Place School parents of children Pre k through 1st grade. This event is scheduled for February 9th at Central Presbyterian Church’s-Cooper House 5:30-7:30. Anyone interested in particpating should contact me.

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