Reflections on Hope by Shondra Marshall on behalf of Team Hope
Our world has changed as we once knew it.
We all spent the latter months of this past unpredictable year being responsive to the needs of early childhood educators and caregivers, children, and families. There has been a tremendous amount of work and progress made by Hope Starts Here, imperative leads, leadership, and community partners. Hope Starts Here believes in putting children and families first in the city of Detroit. We care about the community holistically and we are here to serve; it’s what we are called to do.
Investing in high-quality early childhood education is critical in uplifting and revitalizing our community. If we’ve learned nothing else during the pandemic, it is this. Meaningful investments in early childhood are indeed the first steps to ensuring children are successful, our communities thrive, and our workforce is strong. Amidst the health emergency, we came together, pooled our resources, and made great strides, however, there is still more for us to do…together. Martin Luther once stated, “Everything that is done in this world is done by hope”. We have evidenced hope and remain steadfast to achieving our goal of a coordinated and responsive early childhood system that will meet the needs of Detroit children and families.
The Hope Starts Here team is purposeful in its attention to the intersection of policy, research, data, and practice as a guide for our collective efforts. The most meaningful practice is founded on active data (our stories and learning) and documented data (research). And without policy and legislation to scale and sustain that practice, the ground we gain will be lost. For these reasons, we must continue building the awareness and will of our legislative leaders and decision-makers to enact and invest in effective and equitable policies for young children, their families, and educators. This is where we need your voice. Your advocacy efforts as community partners amplify the need for policy changes and inform research, data, and practice for the early childhood sector. As an advocate continue to use your voice to share what is working, what is not working, and what still needs to be done.
As we reflect, share our stories, and advocate for a healthy and strong educational foundation for our youngest citizens let us remember to keep the hope alive through cooperative and strategic partnerships that shift the conditions holding systemic barriers in place. Entering yet another year, we know there is no time to wait as our future – our children, depend on what we do now. All children deserve to reach their fullest potential through access to high-quality, equitable opportunities. We encourage you, the collective, to not lose heart, but to stay the course. “Hope is one of the principal springs that keep mankind in motion” (Thomas Fuller).