Investing in Our Youth

As parents, we all want our children to reach their fullest potential, be self-sufficient and give back to their families and communities. Children across the socio-economic divide are born with similar abilities, but vastly different opportunities.

It’s been proven that a solid foundation and support system paves the way for academic success, fewer behavioral issues and greater economic prospects. Investments in future generations reduce the rates of incarceration, unintended pregnancies and grandparents tasked with the responsibility of raising grandchildren.

We must address and evaluate the localized inequalities and issues that affect our city’s youth and be proactive in reducing the widening opportunity and achievement gap.

Statistics of Economically-Disadvantaged Youth
Children who grow up in families at the bottom fifth of household income are more likely to remain in poverty as adults.

Individuals who have experienced poverty as a child are up to four times less likely to graduate high school, according to the Children’s Defense Fund and World Vision.

Individuals who spend their entire childhood in poverty are up to 5 times less likely to graduate high school.

Less than half of children from low-income families have reached the developmental milestones to adequately prepare them for kindergarten, compared to 75% of those from moderate and high-income families.

Even modest increases in family income improves child outcomes, particularly for young children.

Fill the Age Gaps of Affordable, Accessible & High-Quality Childcare
The lack of access to high-quality childcare results to lower-quality arrangements and a higher number of reported incidents of child neglect and abuse.

We must bolster awareness of childcare assistance available to eligible working and job-seeking parents.

Incentivize childcare providers to increase communication with parents on how to sustain learning at home.

Increase accessibility and affordability to programs that offer specialized help to children who have fallen behind developmentally.

Support & Equip Parents with the Resources to Advocate for their Children

Increase awareness and communication of the critical milestones in infant and child development so parents and caregivers can better identify and intervene if their child falls behind.

Establish drives to provide parents with books and other resources to better engage learning at home.

Increase Access to Affordable Enrichment Activities & After-School Programs

The gap between youth enrichment expenditures and opportunities has widened between low- and high-income households.

The gap between test results from children from families in the top 90% of the income bracket and their peers from lower-income households has grown by 40% over the past 30 years according to a 2011 study from Stanford University.

I will work to assess the degree of socio-economic child-opportunity disparities within our city and address it accordingly.

Expand funding and direction for the city’s recreation program to allow for income-based registration and participation fees, as well as expanded opportunities within low-income neighborhoods.

Call on after-school programs to commit to offering opportunities for more socio-economically diversified participation.

Expand Pathways to Achievement

Increase volunteer, service and apprenticeship opportunities for teens to further develop the practical, behavioral and cooperative skills they’ll need to succeed as adults.

Expand activities, opportunities and one-on-one support to counter the social and economic pressures obstructing the achievement of low-income teens, including delinquency, anti-social behavior and drug abuse.

Support programs that broaden access for teens to wider social networks of caring adults, like-minded peers and positive role models and mentors that reflect the diversity of neighborhoods.

Offer support to enrichment programs that don’t withhold participation because of poor grades and/or tardiness.

Expand Pathways to Higher Education

A college degree is the surest investment to upward mobility.

I will expand accessible programs that prepare teens for collegiate acceptance and success.

  • College-readiness programs & timelines beginning in 9th Grade
  • AVID program support
  • SAT prep

I will support programs that help teens identify their strengths to better motivate them as they move through school.

Expand Pathways to Support & Rehabilitation

Ensure that adults who interact with at-risk teens are properly equipped to effectively identify and appropriately address the behavioral and emotional issues that can result from the chronic stress of living in poverty and/or unsafe neighborhoods.

  • Environmental and societal conditions have been shown to significantly impact a child or teen’s impulse control and executive functioning skills as well as a their ability to calm down when feeling threatened, appropriately interact with authority, effectively advocate for themselves and maintain self-confidence in their ability to succeed in tasks.

Incorporate a more comprehensive approach in the counseling and guidance programs for teen offenders that takes into account the unique circumstantial and societal pressures that led to their delinquency and the tools necessary for them to reach long-term rehabilitation.

Expand opportunities for at-risk teens and law enforcement to interact within a cooperative context so they are better able to form relationships and build the trust needed to overcome biases and more effectively support each other.