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Letter: Community schools make big difference

Community schools make big difference

How could one read “In Buffalo’s children, wounds no one sees” and not have an emotional reaction? Each act of violence compounds and, as pointed out in this deeply researched article, touches multiple lives, often the lives of our most vulnerable, the children of our city.

The article suggests that the Buffalo School District has come late to the game of identifying trauma as a factor hindering student progress. I would suggest that a spotlight be placed on the positive initiatives by the district in conjunction with Say Yes and funded by the state that are taking place to give students and their families security and support. The initiative is fast becoming a game changer for Buffalo families. Over 20,000 individuals have taken part in one of the community school offerings at 13 different schools with Bennett, East, Lafayette and South Park serving as high school anchors. Programs are for all ages and include adult and community education, health and wellness, parent programs, mentoring and youth activities. Programs run daily after school and on Saturdays throughout the year.

There is no teacher, administrator, guidance counselor or superintendent who can erase the effects of trauma on a child. The schools can, however, serve as a community hub where families can feel safe and secure and where they can participate in activities that hold the promise for a brighter future. Community schools are a place where hope and action can replace fear and trauma. Children, parents and citizens should use the many opportunities to their full potential. Community schools can be an effective tool to help break the cycle of violence in our city.

Marilyn Wittman

Board Member, Bennett Alumni Association

East Aurora

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