April Newsletter | The Priority: Centering Children, Youth and Families

Deaconess Community,

Two weeks ago, we collectively witnessed the outcome of years of work to build a more inclusive democracy through approval voting, a measure supported by a broad network of our partners. In an historic victory, Mayor Tishaura O. Jones is the first Black woman to serve the residents of the City of St. Louis as mayor. Mayor Jones, who took her oath of office today, has promised to build a St. Louis that centers children and youth. Some commitments from the campaign include:

  • Adequate funding for schools and expansion of Pre-K options
  • Expansion of the College Kids Savings Program
  • Paid Family Leave for city employees
  • Year-round Youth Jobs
  • The creation of a “St. Louis Baby Box” to support mothers, specifically Black women and women of color, and their children.

These are real policy changes that align with Deaconess Foundation’s vision of a community that is just for kids. We look forward to Mayor Jones’ leadership and remain committed to investing deeply in civic infrastructure so that youth and child advocates are better positioned to move systems.

One major way that Mayor Jones’ administration will be able to support children and families is through the allocation of more than half a billion dollars that the City of St. Louis will receive through the American Recovery Act. Budgets are moral documents: a written declaration of priorities. We are pleased that Mayor Jones has invited feedback from residents as to how the stimulus funds should be invested.

We encourage you to review Mayor Jones’ plan to implement The People’s Agenda, and take a moment to submit your feedback. Together, we can help build a healthier, more equitable St. Louis region for our children.

In closing, I invite you to join in my prayer for Mayor Tishaura O. Jones: May God continue to protect you and order your steps. May you be motivated by your journey here and energized by our ancestors and their sacrifices so that you can “be”. May your unwavering love, compassion and dedication for people and service remain your guide. May the spirit of discernment continue to surround you in all that you do. May your leadership and excellence inspire others to action and light a path for those alongside you and those who come after. May you be motivated by the spirit of kuumba “to do always as much as [you] can, in the way [you] can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than [you] inherited it”. …Amen…

In love and service to our children,

Cheryl D.S. Walker
Interim President and CEO
Deaconess Foundation

To read the rest of our April Newsletter, click here.