GIVING BACK: “HORIZONS”

Jane Stoddard Williams, Chair of Horizons National’s Board of Directors, is giving back by working to close the educational gap that often relates to income inequality.

Aired on November 13, 2017.

TRANSCRIPT

> IT IS NICE TO SPOTLIGHT THE GOOD WORKS OF PEOPLE AND ORGANIZATIONS IN THE METROPOLITAN AREA, ONE OF THE THEM, HORIZONS PROGRAM HAS BEEN PROVIDING OPPORTUNITIES TO LOW INCOME FAMILIES OVER 20 YEARS.

SIX WEEK PROGRAM EVERY SUMMER TEACHES STUDENTING CORE CURRICULUM AND NEEDED LIFE SKILLS.

THROUGH A MIX OF FUN AND EDUCATIONAL ACTIVITIES LIKE SWAIM SWIMMING AND CLASSROOM ACTIVITY, SUMMER HEAT DOESN'T DETER THE STUDENTS FROM A LIFETIME OF SUCCESS.

CHASING THE DREAM, POVERTY IN AMERICA.

LOOK AT SUCCESS OF THE HORIZONS PROGRAM AND HOW WE ALL CAN COMBAT THE EFFECTS OF INCOME INEQUALITY.

JOINED BY JANE WILLIAMS, GOOD FRIEND FOR MANY YEARS AND ALSO THE CHAIR OF HORIZONS NATIONAL.

I'M THRILLED TO BE HERE.

I KNOW THIS HAS BY IMPORTANT FOR YOU FOR NUMBER OF YEARS.

TALK IN A MINUTE ABOUT YOUR INVOLVEMENT.

BUT START WITH THE HORIZONS ORGANIZATION ITSELF.

HOW DID IT GET STARTED AND WHAT WAS THE PURPOSE INITIALLY?

ONE HORIZONS PROGRAM BY ITSELF FOR DECADES WAS LOCATED ON THE CAMPUS OF INDEPENDENT SCHOOL IN CONNECTICUT.

HAPPENED TO BE A PLACE WHERE MY MOM WAS A TEACHER.

IT WAS ALL BY ITSELF.

AND YALE PROGRAM RUN BY ED ZEIGLER STUDIED HORIZONS AND SAID TO US, CONSIDER REPLICATING THIS ELSEWHERE.

THAT'S WHAT WE'VE BEEN DOING.

DID A LOT OF RESEARCH AND STARTED CLONING IT.

NOW OVER 50 PROGRAMS AROUND THE COUNTRY.

YOU'RE RIGHT, WE DO OUR WORK DURING THE SUMMER BUT WHAT WE DO IS LONG-TERM PROGRAM.

CHILDREN CAN COME BACK K-12 SUMMER AFTER SUMMER AND THROUGH THE YEAR WE CHECK IN.

ACADEMIC ENRICHMENT.

TORTOISE VERSUS HARE, NO MAGIC BULLET WE'VE REALIZED.

OVER TIME THIS PROGRAM GIVES KIDS THE SKILLS THEY NEED TO BE SUCCESSFUL.

THESE ELEMENTS ARE DIFFERENT FROM A LOT OF OTHER PROGRAMS.

NOT TO DIMINISH OTHERS BUT JUST DIFFERENT.

ALWAYS STRUCK ME, IT'S CONTINUUM.

KINDERGARTEN ALL THROUGH HIGH SCHOOL AND EVEN BEYOND.

HOW DO YOU MANAGE THAT?

TO KEEP THEM WITHIN THIS CONTINUUM, ENGAGED FOR THIS PERIOD OF TIME?

SUCH A GOOD QUESTION.

WHAT APPEALS TO FIVE OR SIX-YEAR-OLD DOESN'T APPEAL TO 14-YEAR-OLD.

ONE OF THE THINGS OUR PROGRAMS DO IS GROW SLOWLY.

KIDS STAY YEAR AFTER YEAR.

RIGHT NOW IT'S AVERAGE OF SIX YEARS BUT IT'S INCREASING AS PROGRAMS GET OLDER.

START WITH TRADITIONAL.

KIDS THINK THIS IS CAMP.

SHOW UP, LEARN TO SWIM, FIELD TRIPS WITH FRIENDS, HAVE FUN.

BUT ALSO GO AHEAD TWO TO THREE EVERY SUMMER IN READING AND MATH.

BY THE TIME THEY'RE TEENAGERS, PUTTING TOGETHER RESUMES, GOING ON COLLEGE TRIPS TO VISIT CAMPUSES AND FIGURE OUT WHAT THAT LIFE LOOKS LIKE, DOING MOCK JOB INTERVIEWS.

DIFFERENT KINDS OF PROGRAMS FOR DIFFERENT AGE GROUPS.

WE TALKED ABOUT THIS NOTION OF COMBATTING INCOME INEQUALITY.

LOOK AT PROGRAM LIKE THIS AND OTHER THINGS TAKING PLACE, I GUESS THE QUESTION A LOT OF PEOPLE ASK, WE TALK ABOUT A LOT, ARE WE DOING ANYTHING ABOUT THAT.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

BIG PICTURE, I HAVE TO BE HONEST, I DON'T THINK WE'RE DOING NEARLY ENOUGH.

SYSTEMICALLY AS YOU SAY, WE'RE IN A PLACE WHERE THE INEQUITY SITUATION IN MY OPINION IS INTOLERABLE.

AS A COUNTRY I DON'T THINK WE CAN ACCEPT IT.

SMALL PICTURE, WE'RE DOING PRETTY WELL.

PROGRAMS EVERY SINGLE DAY, HORIZONS IS ONE OF THEM AND THERE ARE OTHERS WORKING TO ADDRESS THIS.

IN LIVES OF INDIVIDUAL CHILDREN WE'RE MAKING GREAT CHANGE.

BIG PICTURE JACK, WE'VE GOT TO DO SO MUCH MORE.

WE CANNOT HAVE COMMUNITIES WITH ABUNDANT RESOURCES, GREAT SCHOOLS, WONDERFUL FOOD, TRANSPORTATION ET CETERA, THEN PLACES WITH NONE OF THOSE THINGS AND EXPECT SOMEHOW KIDS ALREADY BEHIND AT TWO TO BE ABLE TO FIGURE IT OUT AND COMPENSATE FOR ALL OF THAT BY THE TIME IN SCHOOL AT FIVE OR SUPPOSED TO BE IN HIGH SCHOOL.

YOU KNOW, IT'S NOT RIGHT.

WHAT DO YOU SAY TO FOLKS OUT THERE, USING YOUR OWN EXPERIENCE.

20 YEARS AGO, SMALL SCHOOL, MOM THERE AS TEACHER AND WHAT HORIZONS AS BECOME SINCE THEN.

SOMEBODY IS WHO SAYS I UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU'RE SAYING AND IT'S PROBLEM BUT WHAT CAN I DO ABOUT IT?

ANSWER IS I BELIEVE TO FOCUS LOCALLY.

EVERY COMMUNITY HAS OPPORTUNITIES.

WHETHER IT'S HORIZONS OR ANOTHER PROGRAM, YOU CAN WORK TO CHANGE THE LIVES OF INDIVIDUAL KIDS.

AND YOU AND I KNOW AS PARENTS, GET OUR KIDS INVOLVED.

OUR DAUGHTER AND SON WORKED IN THE PROGRAM.

THOSE EXPERIENCES CHANGED THEIR LIVES AND THEY'RE MEETING YOUNG KIDS INSPIRING THEM AND GOING TO CHANGE THE WORLD.

FOCUS ONLY ON THE BIG PICTURE YOU BECOME DISCOURAGED.

BUT IF YOU BECOME A MENTOR OR GET INVOLVED IN PROGRAM AND FIND WAYS TO GET RESOURCES TO PROGRAMS LIKE OURS, OPENING NEW SCHOOL OR FINDING A FUNDER, YOU'RE CHANGING INDIVIDUAL LIVES AND END OF THE DAY THAT'S GOING TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

THESE KIDS ARE GOING TO GROW UP.

THEN WE'RE GOING TO BE ABLE TO CHANGE THE SYSTEM.

YOUR DAUGHTER ALLISON WILLIAMS, MARVELOUS ACTOR, 'GIRLS,' RUNS FOR SO LONG.

I REMEMBER SEEING HER IN COLLEGE IMPROV.

HOW WELL SHE DID.

TELL ME ABOUT HER INVOLVEMENT IN THE PROGRAM.

SHE'S AMBASSADOR FOR HORIZONS AND ALWAYS BEEN INTERESTED IN THEATER AND DRAMA AND FILM BUT ALSO LOVES KIDS.

NOT ONLY HELPED US RAISE A BUNCH OF MONEY THROUGH TEN DAYS OF GIVING, BUT GOES OUT AND SPENDS TIME WITH THE CHILDREN.

I THINK THAT'S THE BEST PART FOR HER.

SHE GETS SUCH A KICK OUT OF BEING WITH THESE KIDS.

THEY INSPIRE HER AND SHE LOVES IT.

DANCES WITH THEM, THEY CRACK HER UP.

HAVE A LOT OF FUN.

HORIZONS FROM SMALL START TO WHERE IT IS NOW ACROSS THE COUNTRY AND GROWING GIVES US SOME HOPE.

REALIZING YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE, DO SOMETHING.

HORIZONS HAS FOR 20 YEARS AND I KNOW IT WILL CONTINUE TO DO THAT.

JANE, ALWAYS NICE TO SEE YOU, THANK YOU FOR SHARING WHAT IS GOING ON.

THANK YOU JACK, IT'S A PRIVILEGE.

REMINDER, IF YOU WANT TO LEARN MORE AND SEE HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED, VISIT METROFOCUS.ORG FOR LINKS AND INFORMATION.

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