Message From Co-Chairs

Children and youth across the Commonwealth need our help and support to become caring and productive members of our society. As Co-Chairs of this Special Commission, we welcome your input as we work together with our 36 members to craft recommendations on how best to support the healthy development of children and youth when they are in and out of school. In addition to the Commission meetings about this critical issue, we intend to hold at least nine public hearings across the Commonwealth. We are aware that not everyone will be able to attend and and invite you to use this blog to communicate with us about your issues and concerns. We look forward to your comments.

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We welcome and value your feedback and ask that you do the following in order to post your comments to this blog. 1. To provide your first and last name and the town or city in which you live to help us track the feedback statewide. 2. To label your comments so we can direct your feedback to the right Commission Work Group. The Commission's three Work Groups are: 1) Information and Access; 2) Quality, Workforce and Professional Development and 3) Sustainability. If your comments cut across all three Work Groups, please label that as "Crosscutting Issue". 3. To add constructive and professional comments - rude or profane comments will be deleted. Thanks and we look forward to hearing from you.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Special Commission Releases Report in Boston on Thursday, November 15

The Massachusetts Special Commission on After School and Out of School Time released its report "Our Common Wealth: Building a Future for Our Children and Youth" on Thursday, November 15 at the State House in Boston. Covered by WBUR, WBZ, the Neighborhood Network News, the Dorchester News, the Metro and editorialized in The Boston Globe, the time children and youth spend in afterschool programs was heralded as key opportunity to develop the future leaders and citizens of Massachusetts.

Co-Chairs Senator Thomas McGee and Representative Marie St. Fleur welcomed the crowd in Nurses Hall which included an opening icebreaker led by youth from the Center for Teen Empowerment. After acknowledgements were given by Representative Marie St. Fleur, Lynn D'Ambrose, from the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, spoke about the important role of afterschool programs from a funder's perspective. The Nellie Mae Education Foundation provided a matching grant to help support the Special Commission's work. Two youth speakers from WriteBoston and the United Teen Equality Center (UTEC) also talked about why afterschool programs were essential in their lives. The Co-Chairs then presented the initial findings and recommendations of the Commission. Fellow Commission members Senator Karen Spilka, Representative Alice Wolf, Representative Pam Richardson, Berna Mann, Lisa Pickard, Michael Cahill, Maryellen Coffey, Laurie Glassman, Carole Thomson, Debbie Kneeland, Rick Metters Joseph Gillis, Jr., Ben Lummis, Commissioner Ann Reale, Sally Fogerty, and Susan O'Connor were also introduced. Others who were deeply involved in the Special Commission's work were also on hand: Fran Barret, Kate Roper, Swapnil Maniar, Donna Trayhnam and Karyl Resnick.

Youth exhibits were featured from Express Yourself, Trinity Boston Foundation, Medicine Wheel Youth Group. Zumix provided two youth who played classical guitar at the closing reception.

The Boston Globe featured the Special Commission's work in an editorial published on November 17, 2007.

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