True partnership and collaboration produced a much needed After the Bell program in South Norwalk. On behalf of the Board of Directors at SoNoCC, I would to thank all those involved in making this after-school program become a reality.
SoNoCC is excited to be a partner with Dr. Manuel Rivera and Norwalk Public Schools in creating a learning center in the heart of South Norwalk. This was truly a joint effort not only just by the superintendent, but also Mayor Rilling, Board of Education Chairman Mike Lyons, Council President Doug Hempstead, Council Majority Leader Jerry Petrini, and Council Minority Leader John Igneri along with our executive team at SoNoCC. Thank you all for your leadership as this is a model on how we can work together to accomplish great things in our community.
South Norwalk children are bused to eight different schools all over the city. Currently, there is not a home school in South Norwalk or what is referred to as District 99, which covers 17 neighborhoods. This does not leave our children enough time to participate in after-school programs if there is not a late bus or coordinated transportation. The After the Bell program will provide four days of additional learning during the week and also on Saturday mornings. This creates a positive neighborhood learning environment that allows South Norwalk children to be in educational programs benefiting their ongoing studies.
This partnership between SoNoCC and NPS opens the door for more parent engagement that is greatly needed in South Norwalk. The program will have teacher support, child care staff, human resource support, professional development, training, recreation with access to SoNoCC programs that include social services-case management, health clinics, adult education, SAT prep, literacy, voter registration, the arts, music, dance and family nights – a true multicultural feel.
The very last step in the process is for the full Council to approve the recommendations of the Planning Committee for an additional $100,000 in CDBG funds. I urge members of the Council to please work together so that we can create a friendlier, cleanlier, 21st century learning center at the South Norwalk Community Center come fall 2014.
Warren A. Peña
Warren A. Peña is chairman of the SoNoCC Board of Directors and a candidate for the Democratic nomination for state representative in District 140.