Luncheon with Dr. Mapp; Resilient Family Series; Mosque Celebrates 80th Anniversary; Cleveland Print Room;Annual Microbrew Extravaganza; Veterans Day; Breaking the Chains of Human Trafficking
On Friday, November 10th, our first event was a City Club luncheon featuring Dr. Karen L. Mapp, senior lecturer on education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and faculty director of the Education Policy and Managements Master's Program as well as a former consultant to the U.S. Department of Education in the Office of Innovation and Improvement from 2011 to 2013.
Today Dr. Mapp talked about the rewards of forming genuine partnerships between the families of students and the school personnel focusing mainly on teachers. According to her research, students whose families who received a home visit from the students' teachers had 24% fewer absences than similar students whose families did not receive a home visit and the same students also were more likely to read at or above grade level than similar students who did not receive a home visit.
Dr. Mapp went on to take about other benefits such outreach had on students, the families and the educators, themselves. As for the families, "they gain confidence in their ability to shape and influence their children's learning and development (self efficacy). They develop an increased sense of accountability to their school or neighborhood and shift from advocating for 'their' children to advocating for 'our' children."
As for the educators, they gained a greater sense of self-awareness about their own "implicit biases" thus enabling them to work more effectively with both families and students. As a slide that Dr. Mapp showed us read, "in elementary schools, teachers perception of parents as partners in education are strongly related to their decisions to remain in their school. Teacher-parent relationships account for much of the difference in stability rates between low-income African-American schools and other schools, and all of the difference is explained when we consider parent relationships along with other workforce conditions including student behavior."
What's more, as Dr. Mapp contended, the more the parents/families are involved in establishing school/educational procedures, the greater the chance that the methods will succeed. Dr. Mapp said that she knew from her own experience that the experts could design a program that may look great on paper but without the input of the families its chances for success are not that great.
During the Q and A, it was pointed out that educators' time is quite limited considered the number of the students in their classroom and the natural desire to enjoy free time with their own families. Dr. Mapp replied that there were many strategies involving interaction between families/educators that could be made use of so that the teachers wouldn't have to cut any more into their private time. Accordingly, Dr. Mapp has spent a lot of time strategizing with the teachers union in Boston to come up with ways to free the educators' time for more family/student synergy.
This City Club program was "the Cyrus Eaton Memorial Forum" and Mr. Matthew Eaton, the great-grandson of the late Cyrus Eaton flew in from New Orleans to be with us. It was also part of the "resilient family series" sponsored by "Saint Luke's Foundation" and the "William J. and Dorothy K. O'Neill Foundation". The Community Partners for the day were the "Cleveland Transformation Alliance", the "Positive Education Program", and "Family Connections".
Upon our arrival, we visited for a few minutes with Ms. Joanne Federman, the Executive Director of "Family Connections" who told us about an excellent program that "Family Connections" conducted for several years that helped immigrant families master the English language and how to effectively deal with the schools of the children. Having undergone this experience, Ms. Federman could personally attest for the value of home visits and individualized teaching methods that take the families' needs into consideration. In addition, she told of a very productive visit that she had several years ago with Ms. Margaret W. Wong who made good suggestions as to how the work of "Family Connections" could be bettered.
During lunch, we shared a table with Mr. Scott Behmer, Campus President of "South University" who was there with his family. He told us of a program that "South University" offers regarding the training of paralegals; some of whom might be interested in working in the area of immigration law.
After the program, we got to talk to Dr. Mapp who told us that families who have immigrated to the United States from other countries are very appreciative of outreach done by the local schools but might be initially hesitant because of possible complications regarding their immigration status. In such cases, they are often afraid to come to the educational institute itself, but home visits are welcomed indeed.
After we left the City Club we drove over to the First Cleveland Mosque on East 131st Street which was celebrating its 80th Anniversary on Friday, November 10th and Saturday, November 11th.
It is the mission of the First Cleveland Mosque "to embrace and propagate the fundamental teachings of Islam through service to our community according to the Quran and Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad, Salla Allahu alaihi Wa Sallam."
We wanted to go because this was community day and Cleveland City Councilperson-elect Basheer Jones (Ward 7), the first Muslim to be elected to the Cleveland City Council, was scheduled to address the congregation. We arrived just as Councilperson-elect Jones was beginning his talk and we thought that he displayed excellent leadership potential as he urged the congregants to work together to better their community and to never lose hope because when that happens fertile ground is created for trouble.
He believed that the pathway towards community improvement may be difficult but he sincerely believed that Allah gives us struggle so that we will be more appreciative of its positive outcomes and be stronger for what may lay ahead. To be sure, Councilperson-elect Jones pledged to interact with people of all ethnicities as he declared that "I am your brother and I plan to work with you" and urged the parents present to teach their children to be leaders via providing them with positive role models.
We congratulated Councilperson-elect Jones on his speech as well as his recent electoral victory. We gave him our contact information and told him to contact us over at "Margaret W. Wong and Associates" in case our assistance with specific projects was needed.
From there we headed over to the "Cleveland Print Room" in the Artcraft Building in the Superior Arts District because on this day a new photography exhibition would be opening entitled "Cuba Now" which will run until November 25th.
Unfortunately, due to our schedule, we were unable to attend that evening's reception and thus would not be able to meet the gifted photographers like Ms. Sandra Ramos (renowned visual artist from Cuba)Ms. Pilar Rubi (from Bolivia and living in Cuba) and local Clevelanders who have visited Cuba like Mr. Greg Martin, Mr. Billy Delfs, and Mr. Herbert Ascherman, Jr.
However, Ms. Shari Wilkins, the proprietor of the gallery, was present and was more than happy to show us around. We loved looking at the photographs of ordinary people in Cuba going about their everyday lives and there were also some good ones featuring automobiles of the 1950's that the Cubans are famous for restoring and preserving.
Later we looked up the website of the "Cleveland Print Room" where we learned that its goal it the establishment of "a photography cooperative in which photographers work together in our community darkroom and communal workspace. Cleveland Print Room strengthens the community by elevating the art and appreciation of photography."
Ms. Wilkins gave us some information about upcoming exhibitions and we hope we can work stopping by into our schedule because we really like the ambiance of the "Cleveland Print Room" and wish it well.
We ended our Friday at the Ariel Center on East 40th Street where we attended the 20th Annual "Microbrew Extravaganza" put on each year in support of "Circle Health Services" a comprehensive medical, dental, and behavioral health services center in University Circle.
Its mission statement reads that that purpose of "Circle Health Services" is to "address vital community health needs by providing high quality health care and related services to individuals and families, regardless of their ability to pay, and by advocating for policy changes that promote greater access for the underserved and improved community-wide health and wellness outcomes."
On this occasion, we got to sample perogi dishes as well as various combinations of chips and salsa provided by "A Taste of Excellence" a catering service headquartered in Strongsville. Naturally, there was plenty of beer to sip from small glasses (which we got to take home) from such local burgomeisters as the "Great Lakes Brewing Company", "Platform Beer Company", "Hansa Brewery", "Masthead Brewing Company", and "Western Reserve Meadery". We chatted for a moment with Mr. Ron Bergman from "Hansa Brewery" who told us that creating a good beer was a combination of art and science.
Most of all we enjoyed dancing to the music of a local band called "Abby Normal and the Detroit Lean" which we did several times over the course of the evening. At first we were the only ones dancing but as the evening wore on, we inspired other couples to join us.
"Margaret W. Wong & Associates" was one of the sponsors for this event and even though there was no souvenir program booklet for the evening, our name was flashed across the screen quite a few times during the event along with the other sponsors. We liked finally getting to meet the people who helped us set up the sponsorship and obtain tickets for us like Ms. Angela Fielding, President of the Associate Board of "Circle Health Services" that organized the event , Mr. Duncan Tanner who we confusedly addressed as "Dr. Tanner" but that was okay because he loved it, and Dr. Reza Khoramshali, the Grants Manager.
From a conversation that we had with Mr. Dan McGreevy, another member of the Associate Board, we learned that the future for "Circle Health Services" is very promising because a new association has recently been formed with the "Center for Families and Children" and the combination of talents is expected to benefit all concerned. Thus many people wore buttons which read "Together for All".
Accordingly, the prevailing attitude for the evening was best expressed by Dr. Khoramshali who said that "it is exciting for all of us each day to give back to the community."
On Saturday, November 11th, it was Veterans Day and even though we did not partake in any ceremonies we were very glad to see that it was being observed in different venues like the Madison Library where we stopped off to do some writing. We noticed that there was cake and punch there all day in honor of our veterans and a neat display featuring a variety of books that documented the heroism and the sacrifices made by veterans on behalf of the United States.
On Saturday our only event was the 5th Annual Gala "Breaking the Chains of Human Trafficking" given on behalf of the "Renee Jones Empowerment Center" that took place at the City Club of Cleveland. Many men wore tuxedos and women wore evening gowns so it was quite an elegant affair for an outstanding cause and, once again, "Margaret W. Wong & Associates" was one of the many sponsors which ranged from prominent lending institutions in Cleveland to a roofing company in Willoughby.
As for ourselves, we enjoyed once again encountering Mr. Peacock (who puts on a different multi-colored coat every few minutes) who was acting as auctioneer for the night. We didn't bid on anything but we were tempted to try to win a personal musical performance by young Mr. Xavier Walsh (bids started at $100) who is a remarkably talented young musician (age no more than twelve) who played all sorts of selections on the piano during the reception.
During the ceremonies, Ms. Renee Jones thanked everyone for their concern and noted that it was a sold out affair and that there were more sponsors than ever before and vowed that the Center would continue on its pathway of doing everything possible to help human trafficking victims restore their lives.
Along these lines, we watched films about what human trafficking is and how it destroys lives. We also listened to testimonies by several human trafficking victims whose lives have been altered much for the better due to their involvement with the "Renee Jones Empowerment Center" and well-deserved awards were given to Professor Maureen Guirguis, Co-Director of the Human Trafficking Law Project at the CWRU School of Law; Ms. Kathleen Hackett, RN from the Pediatric Sane Program at "UH Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital" who has created a program that enables nurses to recognize human trafficking victims; and the "Church of the Gesu" in University Heights.
Best of all, we loved sharing a table with former Cleveland Board of Education member Mr. Ted Carter; Ms. Carla Lovejoy who serves on the Center's Board of Trustees and her husband, Mr. Sheldon Lovejoy who gives educational seminars for young men about the perils of human trafficking; and Sisters Cecilia Liberatore, Margaret Gorman, and Maureen Spillane of the "Sisters of Notre Dame" .
We have seen Sister Cecilia at several events regarding human trafficking over the years and on this day she told us of how she spoke at "St. Mary Church" in Painesville about the dangers of human trafficking particularly as it relates to immigrants who are especially vulnerable particularly the undocumented.
Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC