It Takes a Village

Essential to the diversity we are rightly proud of in Rockville is the inter-generational nature of our neighborhoods. I am proud that I helped establish our Village several years ago with a very insistent mentor and friend.


East Rockville’s first Village holiday party was fun for all ages.

Today at the Rockville Senior Citizens Commission’s Candidate Forum, one of the other candidates brought up my friend and mentor, who needs a little more help than she did several years ago, and inadvertently described my son and some of the things he helps her with. I’m glad he appreciates my family’s commitment to service. The pairing of teenagers with senior neighbors is one of the best things that a Village can do for a neighborhood. I see the self-esteem my son has developed in part because he knows how impactful it can be to help others, and having an older friend makes him feel like a real community member. I know their visits do her good, as well, and not just because her lawn gets mowed or her snow shoveled.

Some of the specific ideas I shared this morning at the Senior Center are things we can do to foster inter-generational diversity so that we’re caring for one another at every age.

Things like:

  • Encouraging job sharing between teenagers and seniors who want a part-time job. School has become so demanding it can be hard for kids to have a job, so why not share a part-time position with a senior who can mentor them as they enter the work force.
  • Advocating with MCPS to offer yard work for seniors as a P.E. credit as other districts around the country have done.
  • Offering service-learning hours through the neighborhood Villages.

The City of Rockville is rightly committed to diversity, and that commitment should be reflected in how we translate diversity into inclusion both within the senior population and between the senior population and the broader community. Diverse needs don’t end at 60, and our seniors continue to have much to contribute to Rockville.


Rockville Forward Coalition at the Senior Citizens Commission public forum on October 10, 2019.

What I’m reading:

Bliss, Laura. “7 Reasons Why Aging Riders Need Better Transit.” CityLab, 4 Aug. 2017, www.citylab.com/transportation/2017/08/older-people-will-need-much-better-transit/535806/.

Goodyear, Sarah, et al. “What Does ‘Livable’ Mean to Older Americans?” CityLab, 15 May 2014, www.citylab.com/solutions/2014/04/what-does-livable-mean-older-americans/8968/.

Henkin, Nancy, and Emily Patrick. “Intergenerational: Grantmakers in Aging.” Intergenerational | Grantmakers in Aging, Grantmakers in Aging, https://www.giaging.org/issues/intergenerational-strategies/.

Back to School!

When our son was tiny, my husband and I were both new teachers with more commitment than pay.

We relied heavily on community-based nursery schools, and these positive early experiences were fundamental to Matt’s success. When we moved to Rockville on only one income, the staff at the Twinbrook Community Recreation Center made sure “Matty Ice” felt welcome, did his homework, and honed his cooperation and teamwork skills. Having a safe, supportive place to be after school where he was mentored and held accountable set him up for success in other parts of his life. That it was affordable was a huge relief.

Quality, community-based childhood experiences, especially when rooted in play, are one of the greatest socio-economic levelers at our disposal, and a well-educated city is a catalyst for a healthy economy. Internships and opportunities for experiential learning at City Hall for high school seniors and MCC students is a way to bookend quality early education with immersive leadership training.

These experiences welcome our kids into the broader community, and pave the way for an educated, involved citizenry down the road.

Here’s what we’ll do:

  • Prioritize an Education Commission that includes MCPS and Montgomery College, including student leaders, as our partners.
  • Strengthen and expand our existing city-based early childhood and kids’ programs.
  • Create an ex-officio position on most Boards and Commissions for student leaders.
  • Protect the current school capacity limits included in the Adequate Public Facilities Standards as good partners to MCPS and good stewards of our children’s education.
  • Explore ways to make the City of Rockville more teacher-friendly through tax and housing credits.

Here’s what I’m reading:

Superville, Denisa. “In Some Cities, Closing Achievement Gaps Is Not For Schools To Fix Alone”. Education Week, 2019, https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2018/09/12/in-some-cities-closing-achieving-gaps-is.html. Accessed 8 July 2019.

White, Gillian B. “Better Schools, Better Economies.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 9 Dec. 2015, www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/12/fixing-public-schools-for-a-better-economy/419526/.Accessed June, 2019

Gonzales, Ron. “The New York Times > College > College Specials > Mayors On Education | San José: 10 Ways A Mayor Can Help Improve Public Education”. Archive.Nytimes.Com, 2019, https://archive.nytimes.com/www.nytimes.com/ref/college/collegespecial3/coll_opinion_gonz.html?8bl.

Gross, Betheny. The Future of Education: How Cities Can Leverage Community Assets, Social Networks, and Personal Passions in Extending Their Learning Systems Beyond the Classroom, 2019, www.the74million.org/article/the-future-of-education-how-cities-can-leverage-community-assets-social-networks-and-personal-passions-in-extending-their-learning-systems-beyond-the-classroom/.

Do You Remember the First Time You Voted?

I was a sophomore at LSU in Baton Rouge when I had my first opportunity to vote. That year’s gubernatorial election featured a three-way race between incumbent Buddy Roemer, convicted felon Edwin Edwards, and KKK leader David Duke. Governor Roemer lost in Louisiana’s “jungle primary” and the choice was narrowed to Edwards and Duke, with Edwards, an early civil rights advocate, eventually winning in a landslide. It was an experience I’ll never forget.
 
Later, when Governor Roemer was a regular at the coffee shop I managed, I learned a few things from him that are as unforgettable as the first time I cast a ballot. As we talked about how to get a minor league baseball team to come to Baton Rouge and generally solved all the world’s problems, I noticed how much he cared about the people he had served and, for someone in their twenties who was unsure of what should come next, he gave me a sense of belonging to the broader community. Some of the best lessons I’ve learned over the years began with those conversations—success is measured by what you do for others, dignity stems from humility, and belonging starts with inclusivity. Governor Roemer reached out in a small way, but his welcoming and positive influence has impacted my life for over two decades.
 
The Together for Rockville campaign has one more project to accomplish—mailing a welcome postcard to newly registered voters. It’s a small thing, but by extending a hand to thousands of newly registered voters and including them in this election we make the Rockville community stronger.

Visit the “Join Us” page to learn how to make a difference.

Family date night at the poll. Matt’s been voting with us since he was in a baby carrier.