Awards & Recognition
Springfield Housing Authority’s Talk/Read/Succeed! Program Wins National, Regional and State Awards
Talk/Read/Succeed!, the early literacy program that unites two Springfield Housing Authority developments with two city schools, has won state, regional and national recognition as an outstanding and innovative offering that targets entire families as it aims to improve reading skills among youth.
The National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials informed the SHA that it will receive the Award of Merit in Housing and Community Development at its annual convention in August. The program has also been entered in the National Awards of Excellence Competition.
The SHA also received an Outstanding Agency Award from the Massachusetts Chapter of NAHRO at a conference in May.
And in early June, the New England chapter of NAHRO, announced it will present the SHA with its 2012 NERC/NAHRO Regional Award of Excellence for Talk/Read/Succeed!
SHA’s T/R/S! Program is an innovative full-court press that seeks to break the cycle of disadvantage facing children who grow up in public housing. Most public housing children fail in reading by the fourth grade and eventually drop out of high school, leaving them without opportunity or hope for their future.
SHA Executive Director William H. Abrashkin said the program, completing its second year with a focused summer school program, is already proving itself in measurable results.
“People in communities across the country are looking for ways to help families and children break out of the cycle of poverty and disadvantage, become educated, and be positive members of society. Increasingly, T/R/S! is getting recognized as a very effective program for accomplishing these goals,” Abrashkin said.
Children who attended last year’s summer program showed measurable improvements in reading when they began school in September.
Patterned after the acclaimed Harlem Children’s Zone in New York, the TRS program is funded primarily by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and marshals a broad-based coalition to bring lasting and positive changes for SHA families and the Springfield community. The Irene E. and George A. Davis Foundation of Springfield administers the grant.
Families at John L. Sullivan Apartments and Robinson Gardens Apartments receive an array of services and assistance, with the primary goal of boosting literacy so that children are on-level by the end of grade three. Partnering are the Edward Boland and Hiram Dorman elementary schools, which are feeder schools for Sullivan and Robinson. There are also nearly two dozen local agencies involved, including the Springfield Education Association, United Way of Pioneer Valley and the Regional Employment Board of Hampden County.
MassNAHRO Outstanding Agency Awards give recognition to the achievement and innovation of member public housing authorities across Massachusetts. These awards provide opportunities to inform the public of the best in housing and community development, as well to create a resource bank of information on significant innovative activities being performed by housing and redevelopment agencies and community development departments.
“MassNAHRO awards Outstanding Agency Awards to member authorities each year in recognition of their exceptional effort at the community level to provide residents with decent, affordable housing and to improve the quality of life for local seniors and families with limited resources,” said Thomas J. Connelly Jr., Executive Director of MassNAHRO.