I would like to introduce myself to all of you, I am Sally Ribeiro, the first Executive Director of the Partnership for Families. To new friends and funders, Hello, and to longtime supporters of the Partnership, thank you for all you continue to do! I am and always will be an advocate for young families and their small children. I spent 30 plus years as an adult and alternative school educator in Richmond Public Schools. I experienced, firsthand, how young people with babies and small children struggled to not only survive but also to nurture, care for and begin to educate their children. As they struggled to learn and earn a job skill, a high school diploma and/or a G.E.D. certificate, our school family tried to assist them in varied ways. Many were successful, many fell through the cracks and their children, somehow, entered school, but were not always successful.
I retired, left my school family with an unfulfilled mission which was to find a way of helping those same young parents and their children. I was approached by Bill Roberts from the Robins Foundation who wanted to find out more about what he had observed at my school and how the Robins Foundation could help Richmond in a different way. Thus began a journey that I cannot fully explain here, the road we started our travels down. Thanks to the Robins Foundation, our strong community Partners, engaged friends, funders and our families, we began our work in Northside Richmond. Our vision was to provide a one stop shop of early childhood literacy enhancement, high quality child care, assistance to needed services and a way to help parents become their children’s first teachers. That remains our work to this day.
The road has been bumpy, has taken many twists and turns. We have lost and gained new Partners; we have evolved and redirected our course, changed our leadership. Still, we continue to help young parents and their children of Northside, even in this “Stay at Home’ coronavirus period of all of our lives. We are never more needed. Our Program Director and Social Worker, our entire staff are all connecting to our families via cell phones and tablets on a regular basis, providing educational tools to teach their children, providing food and other supplies as requested by the parents; we now provide a no contact drop off of the week’s supplies. My hats go off to the PFF staff who share all of mine and your passion for helping these families.
I’ll end with a quote taken off of a Starbucks’ cup that I later framed to read everyday
The Way I See it #2
No Child gets up in the morning and says, I want to go to preschool today and not learn anything. So why do 30% of kids enter kindergarten without the skills they need to succeed in?
Simple: While all parents have a desire to help, some may have a lack of experience about what helps kids succeed. So let’s stop blaming parents and start helping them.
_Aaron Lieberman, Literacy Advocate, funder & Funder of JumpStart and CEO of Acelero Learning
I’ m back on the bus and hope to pick up others as we reach out and help Northside families. Come on board, you are needed, now more than ever.
Sally Ribeiro, Interim Director, PFF