State of the Kids
By Sean Telles
Pasadena, Ca -2nd Annual “State of the Kids” panel discussion at Flintridge Center bought together public and private groups working with children to share struggles, achievements, and opportunities. Dr. Eric Walsh gave the most important take away for the day: Public health is a community aspect.
In his welcoming address, dressed in blue jeans and tie, Mayor Bill Bogaard set the tone for the afternoon informational session: business on top and ready for tough work on the bottom. The featured panelists included a varied mix of speakers from the public and private sector, including Jon R. Gundry the Superintendent of Schools for PUSD, Dr. Eric Walsh the Director of Pasadena Public Health, Mercy Santoro the Director of Human Services & Recreation Department, Cliff Marcussen the CEO & Executive Director of OPTIONS/CCIS, and Pastor Jean Burch of Community Bible Church.
The idea of the event is to bring together all the people who work with children in Pasadena and surrounding areas and share how kids are doing in this current climate. This includes the latest demographic trends, school and health statistics, and what has changed since last year’s report.
Topics included a review of Pasadena’s survey on itself, successes such as the John Muir farm on its High School Campus, and the overarching concern that demands to help children are increasing as funding – through state and federal budgets, and private donations – are decreasing. Cliff Marcussen commented the situation is the worst he has seen in his career. Pasadena deserves credit for openly sharing information, holding itself accountable, and actively pursuing solutions.
In a moment of inspiration and hope, Pastor Jean Burch shared a local student’s recent success. This honor student attended a local program as a child, later volunteered through his church at that same program, and continues to give back to his local community through working with local children – Kevin Seymour is now playing football for USC as #23.
The Flintridge Center is a community-based non-profit that works to develop practical and collaborative solutions to reduce community violence and provides learning and enrichment opportunities that support the positive development of children and youth – among other great activities and opportunities. For more information go to http://www.flintridge.org