ABCD President/CEO John J. Drew today praised Governor Deval Patrick for the leadership and vision of his recent State-of-the State address, stating that children, youth, working poor families and seniors desperately need the hope and opportunity incorporated into Governor’s courageous call for investment in education, innovation and infrastructure in the Bay State.
“The Governor’s recommendations will all pay a significant return on investment,” said Drew. “His emphasis on expanding early education, improving middle school experiences and making college education affordable are right on.” Drew heads up Action for Boston Community Development, a multi-faceted charitable/non-profit organization where providing access to opportunity is a foremost concern.
“At ABCD we have 2,500 pre-school children from low-income homes in Head Start and Early Head Start,” he continued. “We see the difference this program makes for children and low-income working parents, but we deplore the lengthy waiting list for early childhood education and care across the state. We know that quality child care allows parents to work and go to school and is key to economic revitalization of families and the economy.”
Drew noted that ABCD’s after-school and year-round and summer youth programs work with inner-city youngsters who need a boost to stay in school and build for a future that includes college or trade school. He said the Governor’s plan to enrich middle schools around the Commonwealth is critically important.
“This is the age that makes a difference,” he said. “If you can get kids on the right track at age 13, 14, 15, they will just keep on moving up. I’ve seen it over and over.”
“At ABCD we continue to strive to make summer and year-round experiences for youth a priority,” Drew said. “But funding for SummerWorks and our other teen programs keeps getting tighter. It’s a battle. The kids need and deserve expanded attention and opportunity.”
He also noted that investments in Adult Basic Education, English for Speakers of Other Languages and GED programs will pay huge dividends for the state, getting people into the workforce and paying taxes. “Investing in these programs as well as our public colleges and universities will pay huge dividends for individuals, families and the Commonwealth,” he said.
ABCD serves more than 85,000 low-income Boston-area residents through its central offices and a decentralized network of Neighborhood Service Centers (NSCs), Head Start centers, Family Planning sites and Foster Grandparent sites. Programs and affiliations include Fuel Assistance; Head Start; Child Care Services; Child Care Choices of Boston; Education; Career Development; Housing and Homelessness Services; Health Services; Family Planning; Urban College of Boston; University High – an Alternative High School; Ostiguy High School for high school students in recovery; Weatherization; Foster Grandparents; Elder Services; Intergenerational Programs; management of the Combined Federal Campaign, Commonwealth of Massachusetts and City of Boston employee giving campaigns; advocacy and consumer services.