The goal of Hayward Promise Neighborhood initiative is to provide the resources and support young people need to succeed.
California State University, East Bay is one of five organizations nationwide selected by the U.S. Department of Education to receive an implementation grant for more than $25 million to support the university’s Hayward Promise Neighborhood initiative.
The grant, distributed over a five-year period, will help the university dramatically improve educational opportunities and services for the youngsters growing up in the economically disadvantaged Jackson Triangle neighborhood of South Hayward, according to Sue Rodearmel, the lead investigator for the grant. It follows a planning grant of $500,000 awarded to CSUEB in 2010.
Senior officials from President Barack Obama’s administration announced the award Monday, Dec. 19. The grant will expand preschool and after-school programs, health care, parent education, and other services for families. CSUEB will begin implementing the Promise Neighborhood program in January.
“I commend all communities that are putting education at the center of efforts to fight poverty in urban and rural areas,” said Melody Barnes, domestic policy advisor to President Obama. “The goal of Promise Neighborhoods is to provide the resources and support young people need to succeed while transforming distressed neighborhoods into communities of opportunity.”
The government’s announcement was applauded by the university’s leadership and Rodearmel, a Cal State East Bay faculty member and principal investigator for the Hayward Promise Neighborhood initiative.
“We are thrilled by their decision to award this grant for the Hayward Promise Neighborhood,” said Rodearmel, an assistant professor of kinesiology at CSUEB. “It demonstrates that our concerns about the educational outcomes and community support for kids in this low income neighborhood will be effectively addressed.”
Leroy M. Morishita, interim president of Cal State East Bay, praised the efforts of Rodearmel, the City of Hayward, Hayward Unified School District and all the community partners in securing the federal grant.
“As a strong regional steward for education, Cal State East Bay is uniquely qualified to implement the grant. This grant will greatly enhance the educational services and opportunities for the children and their families who live in the Jackson Triangle,” said Morishita.
Along with her colleagues and community partners, Rodearmel has spent nearly one year working through the previous planning grant awarded to CSUEB analyzing the needs of the Jackson Triangle neighborhood, getting acquainted with many of its families, and preparing for how the educational futures of the area’s youngsters can be improved. Her work also was helped by a grant from the San Francisco Foundation and matching resources from eight other community agencies. Additional community partners providing resources and planning assistance include the Hayward Unified School District, Community Child Care Council of Alameda County, Eden Area Regional Occupation Program, Chabot College and the City of Hayward.
According to Rodearmel, the Hayward Promise Neighborhood initiative “seeks to transform the lives of those who live in the Jackson Triangle neighborhood.” It is modeled after the Harlem Children’s Zone, which was created to give that New York City neighborhood’s children the social and educational boost they need to rise out of poverty.
Jackson Triangle is home to 10,662 residents, 957 children under the age of 4, nearly 2,200 school age children, and nearly 1,300 transition age youngsters (18-24).
“Close to half of the Jackson Triangle residents are 25 years of age or younger,” said Rodearmel. “These are the kids we are charged with serving under the Promise Neighborhood initiative.”
The neighborhood is bordered by Jackson Street, Harder Road and Whitman Street.
Promise Neighborhood implementation grants also went to Westminster Foundation in Buffalo, N.Y.; Northside Achievement Zone in Minneapolis, Minn.; Berea College in Kentucky; and United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County in Texas.