Opinion: What Are You Doing to Help the Village?
Councilwoman Alicia Hughes calls for more mentoring throughout the city to help organizations such as A Space of Her Own and others.
We all know that our children are our future. As a result, we wisely invest vast financial resources into efforts we hope will benefit them. But money does not replace the value of time. I write “our children” as a single, childless woman to underscore to others like me that the children of Alexandria belong to you, too. As the African proverb goes, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Please actively engage in our village by mentoring a child.
Few people will argue that their individual success in life is not correlative to the presence of an adult, be it a parent, extended family member or community member who has encouraged and supported the best in them. While our community outpaces the state and the nation in terms of education and economic prosperity, that is a symptom of our past and our present. Unfortunately, indicators for our collective future are not keeping track (though there are improvements), if we look at school data. While education opportunities have increased over generations, the inverse occurrence has happened with success outcomes. Arguably, that is due to a void wherein adults are working more and making more, but available less to spend time with our future the way our parents and our communities took time with us. This makes the community its own worst enemy when trying to build a future.
I recall sitting on the Council dais one Saturday at a public hearing by a band of former school board chairs, regaled by the esteemed Ferdinand Day. The chairs challenged City Council to engage as much on the issue of our children as our future as vigorously as we have campaigned. These chairs called on the council and the community to change the face of education one child at a time by giving of our talents and of our time. More than a year later, I stand echoing that sentiment.
A Space Of Her Own is an exceptional program done in collaboration with The Art League that provides a unique opportunity to have a place in the life of an impressionable young woman by helping her change her personal space. The last orientation to attend to qualify as a mentor is Aug. 9 at The Art League Annex from 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. I recently received an email advising that as the last orientation nears, there is a substantial shortage of mentors to work with our wonderful girls. I plan to attend mentoring orientation on Aug. 9.
Will I see you there? Please go online to register today! If this opportunity does not suit you, in addition to the remarkable work done by so many faith and non-profit organizations, the City of Alexandria’s Mentoring Partnership has a host of programs, too. Remember, “it takes a village to raise a child.”
Please invest your time in the village.
Alicia R. Hughes
Alexandria City Councilwoman