LifestyleMothers and children's welfare discussed at White House meeting

Mothers and children’s welfare discussed at White House meeting

The day after Mother’s Day, community organizations such as MomsRising and Room to Grow gathered for a serious conversation on the welfare of children across the country with the White House Gender Policy Council. While many organizational leaders shared their work to address families’ needs, mother-son duo Terri and Destin Davis were able to share firsthand the importance of programs to help parents and children.

“It’s a thrill and an honor to be here at the White House, especially during this time, under this administration,” said Terri, an alumna of Howard University.  “I feel warmth in my heart when I think back to when I was pregnant with my son and when I came to learn about Room to Grow, the support that it gave me and the friendship I developed with Julie, the founder.”

Room to Grow empowers families through their centers in Boston and Harlem. There, families meet one-on-one with program staff every three months until their children turn three. 

For the past 20 years they have faithfully served over 1,000 families including the Davises. 

Last weekend, Destin followed in his mother’s footsteps, becoming a second-generation Howard alum. As he spoke at the White House Gender Policy Council meeting alongside longtime benefactor and actress Uma Thurman, RTG founder Julie Burns, and RTG CEO Akilah King, Destin used his platform to thank his mother for her continued selfless love. 

“She is the hardest working woman I’ve come across and she would do anything to not only be successful but also make sure that her children are successful,” said Destin. “I respect her for that every day.”

King said Destin is the best of what Room to Grow has to offer and she looks forward to seeing other families receive the same benefits.

“When Julie founded Room to Grow, she identified that families not only needed material support and resources to offset hardship but they needed someone to talk to and they needed a network of support. And those are the three pillars of Room to Grow that still hold fast to today,” said King. “As the CEO, it’s important that as we grow we don’t lose sight of that. We have to make sure that we treat each family with dignity and respect.”

King also shared Room to Grow’s work would be expanding to new territory with plans to open a location in Chicago soon. The organization has also partnered with Columbia University for a randomized control program to review the strength of their programs. 

Past Room to Grow participants like Terri are convinced the organization is on the right path. 

“There’s almost an embarrassment when you’re approaching organizations that help mothers in need, but it was just such a warm, friendly environment that removed that whole feeling,” she said of her time as part of RTG’s program.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and Shalanda Young, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget also offered testimonies, speaking to the joy and trials of motherhood. 

Thurman reaffirmed her commitment to advancement by highlighting policy efforts like the Women, Infant and Children Program in addition to the Child Tax Credit, which she wants to see expanded under the next administration.

“As I was preparing to bring my first child in the world, I had a lot of advantages,” said Thurman. “I imagined very personally what it would be like to be stripped of any resource and the inability to buffer my fear with things. I grew up myself in a household with a lot of economic stress.”

Source: Washington Informer

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