“The President’s Perspective”
By Alderman Ashanti Hamilton
Common Council President City of Milwaukee
Right now in Milwaukee, many families across the City are sending their young people back to school. As we think about the upcoming school year and how to make it a successful one for all of our students, it is important to keep in mind that education is not just about the classroom. It is about what happens before the student leaves the house, when the student gets home from school, and how their weekends go. Having a successful school experience is a holistic endeavor and we owe it to our young people to take advantage of all of the resources out there to make this year a successful one. Milwaukee has a lot of great organizations doing work with our students and taking advantage of these opportunities can reap dividends for our families.
One thing we know is that role models play a major part in a young person’s life. Mentoring programs like Be the Change and Pearls for Teen Girls have shown results not only in our youth’s personal lives, but also in their academic ones. When our kids believe in themselves and their value, it translates into everything they do. MENTOR Greater Milwaukee was created by the Bucks, MPS, and the City to make mentors available to every young person who needs one. Taking advantage of this resource can truly make a difference to our young people as they deal with the stresses and struggles of the school year.
Our public libraries also provide great opportunities for students to excel. The Teacher in the Library program resumes on September 9 and provides opportunities for teachers to help students and parents.
Students will be given assistance with their focus, learning strategies, homework assignments, and selecting books to improve their literacy skills. The teachers will also help parents with strategies for assisting their child with school assignments at home. This service is available at the Washington Park, Mill Road, Mitchell Street, Atkinson, Bay View, Capitol, Center Street, MLK, and Villard Libraries.
Our young people also need safe places to enjoy themselves and pursue their interests. That is why places like the Ma’Ruf youth innovation center are so important. Young people can play ping-pong, basketball, air hockey and other games in a safe space. At the same time, they can learn martial arts, coding, and get counseling as needed. These spaces are incredibly important as our children grow into their own unique selves and de-stress from their school environments.
These are just some of the examples of what our young people need to be successful students. We know that education, especially in today’s world, is one of the pillars of a bright future. As we think about how to manage the coming school year as parents, grandparents, older siblings, and guardians, it is important that we take advantage of the various opportunities that exist to support our students. For more information, reach out to some of our partner organizations:
• Lighthouse Youth Center – lighthouseyouthcenter.com, 414-477-8379
• Ma’Ruf Youth Center – marufcenter.com, 1-888-646-2783
• Milwaukee Public Libraries – 414-286-3000
• MENTOR Greater Milwaukee – milwaukeementor.com, 414-908-1081
• Pearls for Teen Girls – pearlsforteengirls.com, 414-265-7555
• Running Rebels Community Organization – runningrebels.org, 414-264-8222