Members of the West Philadelphia Alliance for children (WePAC) recently hosted a discussion “Budget Battles: A Conversation on Philly Schools” at the Haddington Branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia.
WePAC provides literary programs to young students. It’s funded by private dollars and offers all of its services at no cost to schools or to the School District of Philadelphia. They only work with schools run by the district and promote childhood literacy by engaging volunteers in Philadelphia public schools by re-opening and staffing libraries, academic mentoring and after school enrichment.
“I care about all of the communities and I want the best for children, despite of what’s going on with the government,” said Library Programs Coordinator, Mica Navarro-Lopez.
WePAC wants people to connect with organizations within the community. They also focus on connecting interested members to advocacy groups.
Volunteers of WePAC discussed the impact of the budget crisis on students. Topics included kids asking about the government shutdown, a depleted teacher supply budget and that many teachers are transferring and quitting.
“Our Schools Are Not for Sale” is a short documentary about the school crisis was used to start up the conversation between employees and volunteers of WePAC. The video was produced by the Media Mobilizing Project and The Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools. It presents from the perspectives of parents, teachers and students.
The Philadelphia School District has closed its top school libraries due to the budget crisis. WePAC is currently working with the Media Mobilizing Project to tell the story about these library closings.
“We are fortunate to work with people across the country on the issue of the library closings,” said Volunteer Recruitment Coordinator Morgan Rogers.
Members of WePAC also discussed their outlook for the rest of the year and strategies for delivering successful programming in a resource-strapped school environment.