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Talk/Read/Succeed!

Duggan hosts open house at new Talk/Read/Succeed! center

Duggan hosts open house at new Talk/Read/Succeed! center

The banner above the apartment at 435 Goodwin St. proudly proclaimed the opening of a third location for Talk/Read/Succeed!, the early literacy program that unites families, schools and housing for an all-encompassing and unusual approach to the goal.

In bold, primary colors, the sign let it be known that T/R/S! is open for business at Duggan Park Apartments, in a partnership that includes the nearby Indian Orchard Elementary School.

The recent open house drew both residents and officials, all happy to see that the six-room unit at Duggan has become a hub of activity whose aim is to boost literacy among youth while guiding families towards education, jobs and ultimately, independence.

Sy Becker of Channel 22 News interviews Merary Espada and her children about T/R/S!

Sy Becker of Channel 22 News interviews Merary Espada and her children about T/R/S!

Parents like the Merary Espada said they are already planning to take advantage of everything T/R/S! has to offer, including literacy-based programs, family events at Duggan as well as Indian Orchard, nutrition classes, employment search sessions, and more.

“I want this for my family, my children,” said Espada, who has five children from the ages of 10 to two. “Everything they have – we’ll be here. I know it will help them to do better in school, and in their lives.”

Duggan is the newest location for the T/R/S!, a place-based early literacy program that focuses on entire families in an effort to boost literacy, and improve school performance among children and financial independence among parents.

Springfield Housing Authority Executive Director William Abrashkin cuts the ribbon, celebrating the new T/R/S! center at Duggan Park Apartments.

Springfield Housing Authority Executive Director William Abrashkin cuts the ribbon, celebrating the new T/R/S! center at Duggan Park Apartments.

T/R/S! began in 2010, connecting families at Sullivan and Robinson Gardens Apartments with their feeder schools, Boland and  Dorman. The addition of Duggan will mean that the 196 families living there will be beneficiaries of additional programming.

At the open house, SHA Executive Director William H. Abraskin spoke of his faith in the program he helped found, and his sense of excitement for the families at Duggan.

“We know this works,” Abrashkin said. “After seven years, we are pleased to say we are adding another site, and this is our largest family development. We are going to be able to reach out to many more families, many more children.”

SHA Executive Director William Abrashkin chats with residents at Duggan Park Apartments.

SHA Executive Director William Abrashkin chats with residents at Duggan Park Apartments.

“T/R/S! is not only helping our families, but it is growing to reach out to more. I am so delighted to be here as we expand this successful program,” he said.

Robinson Gardens has 136 families, and Sullivan has 96 families. At Duggan, the 196 families include a total 450 children.

In fact, Abrashkin said that the children at Duggan make up nearly half of the enrollment at Indian Orchard Elementary School, boding well for a strong partnership there. Principal Deanna Suomala is committed to working with T/R/S! and the Duggan families.

Abrashkin said the program will provide opportunities for families to live up to greater potential, educationally, professionally, and at home.

At Duggan, T/R/S! Outreach Coordinator Daisy Gomez greet guests, gave tours of the facility, and spoke of future plans for Duggan families. Already, she is lining up nutrition classes, family-programs aimed at literacy and fun, and more. She is working closely with SHA Resident Services Director Pamela Wells.

The open house at Duggan featured tours of the facility that includes programming space, offices and a computer lab.

The open house at Duggan featured tours of the facility that includes programming space, offices and a computer lab.

“We’ve already started our outreach and are meeting with families,” Gomez said. “I’m looking forward to being able to provide services that families want and need.”

She will work closely with Duggan’s after-school program, which is run by ADC Prevention Services and Associates. That program is located a stone’s throw from the new T/R/S! office.

Abrashkin said that watching T/R/S! succeed and now grow is a reminder that there is potential in every child, every family – no matter what limits they may have.

Looking around at the happy crowd, he said, “I see my own kids and my own grandchildren in all of you. I know that this will work for you in many ways. There is so much value to be reached, adding to what the community needs. From my heart, I know we can do this together.”

123 days ago / Talk/Read/Succeed!
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