March 2019 BAW Social Justice Update: Beth Am Women and Equal Start Join to Improve Educational Opportunities for Underserved Preschool Children | Congregation Beth Am

March 2019 BAW Social Justice Update: Beth Am Women and Equal Start Join to Improve Educational Opportunities for Underserved Preschool Children

by Felisa Ihly, Viviane Wildmann and Laura Cohen

This year’s social justice theme for BAW is the Health and Well-Being of Youth, and we are partnering with Beth Am’s Equal Start initiative to offer BAW members a variety of exciting volunteering opportunities, ranging from working directly with young children, to helping develop the preschool teachers of tomorrow to advocating for more resources at the state and local governmental level.

Deborah Stipek, a professor and former dean of the School of Education at Stanford has shrewdly observed that the quality of the world in which our children inhabit will be determined by other people’s children. It is thus a matter of enlightened self-interest for all of us to do what we can to make sure everyone’s children will have the benefit of an “equal start.” All of the volunteer efforts listed below are focused on helping ensure that all children have access to high-quality early learning that enables social, emotional and intellectual stimulation when a child’s brain is developing most rapidly.

There are many different ways to get involved in projects that facilitate forming meaningful relationships not only within our congregation, but also with the neighboring (and sometimes underserved) communities of which Beth Am plays an important role. Here are some opportunities that are available to BAW members:

  1. Being a Sunday Friends volunteer – This offers a wide range of opportunities, such as hands on volunteering Sunday afternoon, making games at home, or just helping to collect items to donate.
  2. Working in a classroom at one of the preschools with which Beth Am Equal Start already has relationships. Alternatively, you can become trained in storytelling and volunteer occasionally, or work on projects such as website development or grant writing.  
  3. Participating as a family in onsite cleanup and improvement projects at the schools.
  4. Advocating for early childhood education legislation and local initiatives via the Beth Am Women Click My Cause App, or joining the Equal Start Advocacy Team.
  5. Attending the coffee sponsored by the Community Equity Collective on Thursday, May 2 from 10:30-12:00 at Beth Am. They will talk about the roll of preschool teachers and administrators, and ways we can help add to the need for preschool personnel in California.

If you are interested and want to learn more about what you can do, or have other ideas or suggestions, you can contact Viviane Wildmann or Laura Cohen. Learn more about Beth Am's Equal Start initiative on the Equal Start initiative webpage.

Congregation Beth Am
  • 26790 Arastradero Rd., Los Altos Hills, CA 94022
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We strive to live as a holy community whose study and practice of Judaism inspires and challenges us to "do justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly with our God" (Micah 6:8).