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A letter from NSLA’s CEO about recent events in Baltimore

Friday, May 1, 2015  
Posted by: Sarah Pitcock
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I'm writing today on behalf of the National Summer Learning Association's (NSLA) staff, who are not just advocates for summer learning, but residents of Baltimore City, parents and volunteers in its schools, and voices for social justice in our community.

Our hearts are hurting for Baltimore and for the countless other cities like it around the country where opportunity, health, and well-being are limited by the zip code into which you are born.

We know that while Freddie Gray's tragic death might have sparked this particular unrest, decades of unequal access to a quality education and opportunity have bred a simmering discontent and hopelessness in many neighborhoods in Baltimore and nationwide.

We can't disconnect ourselves and our mission from the events we see unfolding here and across the country. A community where young people are hungry, lonely, and disengaged in the summer is a community without hope for a better future. So, we're asking ourselves, what more can we do?

Funding for summer learning and recreation are inconsistent and insufficient in Baltimore and in many cities, despite the fact that these programs consistently show benefits in school and career success, juvenile crime, and health outcomes.

What will it take to convince our city and state leaders that these programs are not inconsequential, but rather the fabric and connective tissue of our communities and the springboard for opportunity? We are committed to helping Baltimore City leaders weave a web of summer supports for all young people, supports that help them stay safe, healthy, and engaged in learning and building their futures, year-round. We will continue to be actively engaged in advocacy and support here in Baltimore to ensure that opportunity prevails.

I'm writing today to thank you for your thoughts. We've heard from so many people across the country who are concerned for our community. What we know is there is work to be done.

If you are interested in making a donation to support Baltimore's restoration, we encourage you to visit the Baltimore Community Foundation's Fund for Rebuilding Baltimore, which will raise funds to repair the physical and emotional damage caused by recent events and help to strengthen our community for the future. Learn more at www.bcf.org.

With hope and warm regards,

Sarah Pitcock 
Chief Executive Officer  
National Summer Learning Association


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