The Hayward Promise Neighborhood (HPN) partnership will host a community festival and information fair beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 27 at Harder Elementary School in South Hayward to welcome families from the area and introduce new support systems to help improve conditions for student and community success.
As part of a federal initiative to coordinate health, social, community, and educational support from cradle through career, HPN will work initially with students and families living in a diverse South Hayward community that is being called the Hayward Promise Neighborhood. There are more than 10,600 residents in the Promise Neighborhood, with more than half from low or extremely low income families, as determined by federal standards.
Led by California State University, East Bay, the HPN partnership was one of only five programs selected for funding nationally in December 2011, receiving a five-year, $25 million grant from the US Department of Education. It is the only site on the West Coast and one of two led by a university.
The Implementation Team comprises representatives from CSUEB, Hayward Unified School District, the City of Hayward, Chabot College, Community Child Care Council (4 C’s) of Alameda County, Eden Area Regional Occupation Program, First 5 Alameda County, Tiburcio Vasquez Health Center and the consulting firm Hatchuel Tabernik & Associates. Other government agencies such as the Hayward Area Recreation and Park District (HARD), businesses, non-profit and faith-based organizations, as well as residents of the Promise Neighborhood area, are also participating.
The services and goals that HPN will support during the upcoming years were arranged during the planning stage at the direction of community members. Professor Melany Spielman, chair of CSUEB’s Department of Hospitality, Recreation and Tourism and one of the event organizers, said “It’s important that we are doing this with the community.”
HPN will begin with a focus on six Hayward schools, including Harder Elementary School, located near the CSUEB Hayward campus, where the university community recently spent a day of service to honor the investiture of CSUEB President Leroy M. Morishita. In a speech at his investiture ceremony, Morishita noted that partnerships like HPN are important to student learning and to community health, saying “We must build on these experiences as a University, working to increase our community engagement and service — a public University in service for the public good.”
Carolyn Nelson, dean of CSUEB’s College of Education and Allied Studies, serves as the principal investigator for HPN. She said, “Working this year with the HPN partners and members of the Hayward community has been one of my most rewarding professional experiences. The result of this cross-sector partnership will be increased educational opportunities for K-12 students, more engaged families and schools, and a stronger community-university connection — one that supports and contributes to a stronger community.”
As the first public event in the Promise Neighborhood, the festival serves as the official launch of HPN services that will continue over the next five years. Hayward Mayor Michael Sweeney and other city officials will join CSUEB President Morishita and Harder Principal Hector Garcia for a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
David Korth, neighborhood services manager for the City of Hayward, is one of several city representatives serving on HPN committees. He said the festival is an opportunity for an exchange of information across different service organizations and with community stakeholders.
“This is a great opportunity to benefit not just this neighborhood, but to build an infrastructure that optimizes use of available resources — as well as engage neighborhood stakeholders as partners in improving Hayward students’ education and the quality of life in their neighborhoods,” he said.
At the information fair, stations will be set up with materials for various ages and grade levels. As families pass through, parents will receive information about appropriate educational goals and support services for the target age group while children are occupied with activities. Those who visit the information stations will be eligible to enter a raffle for prizes such as grocery gift cards and an iPad.
Attendees will enjoy free food donated by Tacos Uruapan, a local Mexican taqueria. Lunch will be prepared and served by volunteer cooks from The Kids Breakfast Club, Inc., a local nonprofit organization serving low-income Hayward residents, with support from local businesses including CalPEMS.com and Land Home Financial Service, Inc. Radio Disney will provide entertainment.
Undergraduate students in CSUEB’s Special Event Management class are helping to organize the day’s program and will coordinate more than 100 volunteers that day, Spielman said.
Other CSUEB departments will also participate, with science experiments, nursing students demonstrating first aid, and students in kinesiology doing blood pressure tests, among others. To promote healthy lifestyles and physical activity, students from kinesiology and representatives from Pioneer Athletics will lead activities and dancing, and children from the community will receive hula hoops and jump ropes.