May 4, 2012
Orchard Gardens Elementary and Citizens School
On Wednesday I visited the Orchard Gardens Elementary School in Roxbury, which participates in the Citizen Schools program. This organization works with schools to expand the academic day for low-income children. At Orchard Gardens, the school day is extended to 5 PM. Citizen Schools staffers assist students with homework and provide additional instruction in math and English Language Arts. Students also participate in an apprenticeship where they learn more about a particular profession, such as computer programming, finance or design. Local professionals volunteer to lead the apprenticeship in conjunction with Citizen School staffers. I really enjoyed visiting the classrooms, seeing how engaged the students were with their apprenticeships, and learning more about Orchard Gardens' partnership with Citizen Schools. Citizen Schools' emphasis on both academics and career opportunities provides children with a solid foundation that will help them to succeed in college and in the business world.
East Boston Main Streets
Yesterday I delivered the keynote address at the East Boston Main Streets Spring Networking breakfast. East Boston Main Streets is a non-profit organization of local businesses, residents and property owners who work to maintain and enhance East Boston's commercial districts. I appreciated the opportunity to speak with attendees and to take their questions. Not surprisingly, participants had questions about the state of our economy, the current climate in Washington and how to best address the deficit. We had a lively discussion and I was glad to participate in the breakfast.
Leonard Florence Center
This week I spent some time at the Leonard Florence Center for Living in Chelsea. The Center offers both short and long term care for people who are living with ALS and Multiple Sclerosis (MS). The facility serves 100 residents, who have private rooms and baths, and access to health care services. The Leonard Florence Center is the country's only facility that provides specialized residential services for patients living with ALS or MS. I met with the staff and learned more about the services offered. I also took a tour of the facility with one of its residents, an architect who helped design the center. It is impressive. Thanks to new technologies, staff has created an atmosphere that gives their residents the ability to live with some independence.
I had the chance today to meet some of the 8th grade students who participated in an essay writing contest sponsored by the Cambridge Juvenile Court. This year's topic was "No Courts, No Justice, No Freedom". Students, parents and courthouse staff gathered to hear the finalists read their essays aloud and winners were chosen. Before the finalists read their submissions, I spoke with some of them about their efforts and why they chose to participate in the contest. It was an impressive group, and I commend them for their hard work.
What's Up Next
The House will begin consideration of FY 2013 appropriations bills. Next votes will take place on Monday May 7th.