BCAC’s 28th Annual Breakfast Gathers and Inspires!
On May 7th, BCAC welcomed an exciting array of guests to its 28th Annual Breakfast. The morning was packed with energy, celebration, and urgency as we honored special people who have worked long and hard to promote the well-being of the city’s children and heard from leading violence prevention expert, Dr. Deborah Prothrow-Stith.
A huge thank you to our partner, Casey Family Services, to all the sponsors, volunteers, honorees, and to Dr. Prothrow-Stith. All these people, and everyone who participated, made the event a special morning—and have given us great momentum moving forward!
To see photos from the event, please visit us on Facebook.
Congrats to CT on Passing Groundbreaking Gun Safety Bill!
Congratulations to the state of Connecticut for courageously passing An Act Concerning Gun Violence Prevention and Children’s Safety—the nation’s most comprehensive gun safety legislation!
The bipartisan passage of this pioneering bill, signed into law by Gov. Malloy at 12:20 p.m. today, marks a new day for children’s safety.
BCAC thanks the courageous and tireless efforts of CT Against Gun Violence, March for Change, the entire Newtown community, and all those efforts from across the state of Connecticut! We applaud all the Democratic and Republican state legislators who voted yes on this bill and congratulate Governor Malloy.
Reach out. Tell Connecticut and our nation that we stand behind this legislation: Call your representatives and thank them today!
Jan Park, BCAC co-founder, honored for lifetime commitment to Bridgeport’s children
Jan Park, one of BCAC’s founding leaders, was honored by Congressman Jim Himes and City Council President Tom McCarthy at the Watermark Volunteer Recognition event in Bridgeport today. Park worked with others to create BCAC in 1985 to provide a voice for children living in Bridgeport. Park and the other founders believed that a coalition of organizations and individuals would be more powerful than working individually. Almost three decades later, we can say with confidence that they were right.
State Budget Should Employ Revenue-Raising Alternatives and Forgo Cuts
The state finance committee is considering the Governor’s 2013 budget and many programs that support the health and well-being of children and families will be weakened if the budget doesn’t use revenue-raising alternatives instead. We remind the Governor that he made a commitment to keeping our children safe: Now is not the time to cut funding for programs that fulfill that commitment. Read our testimony to the finance committee here.
House Bill Will Bring Accountability to Alternative Education Programs
HB 6504, An Act Concerning Alternative School Programs, is seeking to regulate alternative schools to ensure that all students in Bridgeport and elsewhere in Connecticut have equal access to quality education. Read our testimony supporting the bill here.
Connecticut Should Protect its Children’s Trust Fund and EITC
Proposed Increase in Education Cost-Sharing Grant Would Give a Boost to City’s Schools
Bridgeport Delegation Joins 5,500 Others at March for Change
Last Thursday, a crowd of over 5,500 people stood in the snow in front of the state capital to let CT legislators know that the time to enact stricter guns laws is NOW. Participants in the CAGV-organized “March for Change” wore green to show their solidarity with the people of Newtown and carried homemade signs that read “We are Sandy Hook,” “Change the Culture,” and “Close the Loopholes.” We extend special thanks to all the Fairfield County residents who came out to stand for peace and to BCAC board members Edie Cassidy and Tanya Smith for coordinating a bus from the Burroughs Community Center. To see photos from the march, visit our Facebook page.
Bridgeport Families Stand to Lose on Health Care and Tax Credits in Proposed State Budget
The state budget proposed by Gov. Malloy for 2013 – 2015 cuts into two critical programs for low-income families: HUSKY healthcare and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Cutting the EITC credit from 30% to 25% will effectively raise taxes on the lowest-income working families in our state. And the proposed changes to HUSKY would mean that tens of thousands of families would fall out of eligibility while others could face compromised services and benefits. We must protect the most vulnerable among us. Learn more about the proposed cuts and read BCAC’s testimony to the appropriations committee here.
Child Advocates to Obama: Establish a National Commission on Children
BCAC has joined over 150 advocates nationwide in calling on the President to establish a National Commission on Children. The need is clear: The United States ranks 20 out of 21 industrialized nations in measures of child well-being and relative child poverty. A National Commission could annually assess the performance of the US, make recommendations, and bring the needs of children where they belong—at the top of policymakers’ agendas. Read the letter to the President and learn more here.
BCAC Op-Ed Calls for Better Protection for Our Children
Here in the United States, violence has somehow become culturally acceptable. Nowhere is that fact more evident than in Bridgeport. That's why we're supporting the legislative agenda put forth by Connecticut Against Gun Violence that calls for stronger gun safely laws. Read our op-ed in the Connecticut Post, based on BCAC Executive Director Mary Pat Healy's testimony for the state hearings to learn more. Then, join us on February 14th in Hartford at the March for Change (see details below).
Meeting on Violence as a Public Health Issue Fosters Productive Dialogue
We had a terrific evening at Congregation B'Nai Israel continuing our community dialogue regarding Violence as a Public Health Issue. About 70 people participated over the course of the event, including some terrific teens! Thanks to everyone who attended and helped further the discussion in our efforts to create a community solution.
Read the Connecticut Post coverage to learn more -
"Forum seeks ways to reverse culture of violence"
To see more photos from the event, visit our Facebook page.
FCCF Supports BCAC Campaign Against Violence
The Fairfield County Community Foundation has granted BCAC $10,000 to continue developing a community-wide response to violence in all facets of our community. BCAC is applying the funds to lead a grassroots effort to address the impact of violence on education, healthcare and the community as a whole.
The campaign began last summer and includes: hosting a series of open meetings to examine the causes of violence in Bridgeport; research on best practices for curbing violence from other cities across the country; and the development of a city-wide response model.
Norma F. Pfriem Foundation Awards $50K to BCAC
The Norma F. Pfriem Foundation has awarded BCAC $50,000 to implement three research and community education initiatives aimed at improving the lives of Bridgeport’s children and families, particularly those living in poverty.
BCAC, an alliance of more than 80 member organizations, parents, and concerned citizens, is applying the funds to: research and document trends in student discipline and special education in Bridgeport; provide community assistance to help low-income families obtain health care coverage through the state HUSKY insurance plan; produce and distribute the 27th edition of its signature publication, the State of the Child in Bridgeport.
“The Pfriem Foundation has once again demonstrated its longstanding commitment to Bridgeport families,” said Mary Pat Healy, Executive Director of BCAC. “This gift is vital to BCAC’s work to promote the rights of Bridgeport’s children to good health and a quality education – and, at a time when so much is in flux here in Bridgeport, in Connecticut, and in our nation.”
“The Foundation is proud to support BCAC as it does such wonderful work with so many families,” said Paul Miller, Trustee of the Norma Pfriem Foundation. “This past year has been very difficult for many and we are glad we could be of help.”
Our Hearts and Prayers are with the Newtown Community
Our hearts and prayers go out to the families of Sandy Hook Elementary School and the entire Newtown community. This tragedy has had a profound effect on all of us who care about children; we know that adults everywhere hugged the children in their lives a little longer the past few days.
In this time of grief, we hope that everyone takes the time to recognize the beauty of the children in their lives and the dedication of the adults who work with them daily. As an organization committed to improving the lives of children, BCAC believes that every child deserves the chance to grow up in a warm and supportive environment. We must renew our commitment to the youngest in our communities and recognize that we all share the responsibility of ensuring that they have the opportunity to grow up in a safe and healthy environment.
2012 State of the Child Released
The Bridgeport Child Advocacy Coalition (BCAC) today released its 2012 State of the Child in Bridgeport report. The report, which is released annually and compares the well-being of children in Bridgeport to children statewide, calls attention to a dramatic rise in the city’s rate of child poverty.
The State of the Child reports that the number of children in Bridgeport living below the federal poverty line rose from 31 percent in 2010 to almost 40 percent in 2011—two and a half times the statewide rate of 15 percent and three times the Fairfield County rate of 12.8 percent.
“These numbers, and the disparities, are alarming,” said Mary Pat C. Healy, BCAC’s executive director. “As the region slowly climbs out of the recession, we have to make sure that Bridgeport’s children aren’t left behind. Living in poverty puts children at risk of so many other challenges, it’s critical that the community comes together on this issue.”
The full press release is available here.
Read the 2012 State of the Child Report.
BCAC Names New Director of Policy and Research
The Bridgeport Child Advocacy Coalition's (BCAC) Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Robin Lamott Sparks of Hamden, CT has joined the nonprofit organization as the new Director of Policy and Research. She will replace Director of Research Barbara Edinberg who has announced her retirement, which will begin at the end of the 2012. Edinberg will serve as the Director of Research Emeritus for the rest of this year while she and Sparks work together to ensure a seamless transition.
Sparks brings extensive knowledge and experience in public policy, community relations, and communications to BCAC. She has a long history of working in a variety of public policy areas and worked in Washington, DC for over a decade. During her time in Washington, Lamott Sparks worked for Senator Dianne Feinstein and Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey, as well as at NASA and the FBI. Lamott Sparks has a Bachelor of Arts in history from Ball State University, and a Master’s in Public Administration from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs Syracuse University. Most recently, she served as the Head Women’s Volleyball Coach and an Adjunct Faculty Member of the School of Communications at Quinnipiac University.
Jane Norgren, BCAC’s Board Chairwoman, says, “Barbara’s contribution to this organization and to the city over the last 27 years is truly immeasurable. Our sadness at losing such a committed advocate is tempered only by our excitement in bringing Robin onboard. Her depth of experience and energy for the issues will prove to be a great asset.”
“I am thrilled to be joining such a significant organization and look forward to contributing to its continued success,” Lamott Sparks says. “Working with Barbara in the next few months will ensure that my transition is smooth and the critical work at BCAC continues uninterrupted. I am very excited to be back working in the public policy and nonprofit arena on issues that are important to me.”
Mary Pat Healy, BCAC’s Executive Director, added, “While Barbara’s departure is certainly a huge loss for BCAC and the advocacy community, we wish her all the best in her much-deserved retirement. And, we are delighted to be working with Robin to continue pursuing positive systems change for Bridgeport’s children and their families."
Director of Research Barbara Edinberg Honored
Congratulations to BCAC's Barbara Edinberg for her recent Community Advocacy Award from Connecticut Voices for Children. The evening was recently highlighted in The Bridgeport News.
BCAC's Civic Engagement 101
On July 10, BCAC presented an exciting training workshop, Civic Engagement 101, designed to help parents develop their advocacy and leadership skills.
The goal of the workshop is to give participants specific tools and strategies to effect meaningful change regarding issues important to them. The workshop provides parents with the skills and hands-on experience of sending emails, letters of support, and making phone calls to policymakers and legislators. The training is a powerful tool to help residents learn how to voice their concerns to policymakers and work mutually toward solutions.
Top photo : Helen Wasserman (right), a community leader and BCAC board member, and Bridgeport resident Millie Sequinot write an email at BCAC’s most recent Civic Engagement 101 training program. Bottom photo, two workshop participants practice their telephone skills.
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Upcoming Events & Meetings
BCAC Children's Health & Family Economic Empowerment Task Force Meeting, Thursday, April 4, 2013, 5:15 pm - 7:00 pm, **CANCELLED**
BCAC Violence as a Public Health Issue Meeting, Thursday, April 4, 2013, 4:30pm - 6:30pm, Mount Aery Baptist Church, 73 Frank Street, Bridgeport, 06604 ** CANCELLED**
BCAC Board of Directors Meeting, Thursday, April 11, 2013, 8:15am - 9:30am, Burroughs Community Center
BCAC 28th Annual Breakfast, Tuesday, May 7, 2013, 7:30 - 9:30 am, Bridgeport Holiday Inn. Visit www.bcacct.org/2013breakfast for more details and to purchase your ticket.
full calendar »