I attended a community meeting last Friday night as a part of the collaboration between HCEA (Howard County Education Associations) and PATH (People Acting Together in Howard). Since last Spring, they've been working on a project to get parents together in small group meetings to articulate what they want for children in our community. (Be on the lookout for a meeting in your area.)
This particular meeting was in Oakland Mills. The group contained parents, teens, teachers, and school staff. We each took a turn telling our desires for children in Howard County. It was only natural that most people's answers dwelled quite a bit on their own community--Oakland Mills. As we went around the table, a common theme emerged.
Lifting up. How can we, as a community, lift up our children beyond the current restrictions of "the way things are"?
- Teaching charity and community involvement
- Feeding hungry children
- Nourishing self-esteem
- Challenging the mind-sets of both the haves and the have-nots
- Making a rich educational experience our priority over high-stakes testing
- Celebrating our community
I applaud HCEA and PATH for reaching out to stakeholders to have these discussions. I am looking forward to learning what broader themes emerge as they meet with citizens all over Howard County.
A postscript: Saturday morning I enjoyed the annual Pancake Breakfast at The Other Barn in support of Stevens Forest Nursery School. When I arrived, a celebration of the Chinese Lunar New Year was in full swing. I can't think of a better way to show how vibrant a community Oakland Mills truly is.