I remember fondly those long summer holidays of childhood spent outside with friends and sibling; riding bikes & playing ball. I would stay out until it got took dark to see. Now as a grandmother of four beautiful children it is important that they too will grow up with memories made from playtime in our community.
Here are a few ways I’ve worked to ensure Arlington’s youth will have fond memories of their community. Worked on the Stilly Valley Youth Project, to successfully acquire $2 million in state funding which added a major expansion to the Boys & Girls club, including a teen center for older kids and a new gym. The newly developed Youth Council was able to guide the activity development to things that would interest their peers.
An overhaul of the Bill Quake ball fields include putting in artificial turf, upgrading lighting and fencing and paving walkways around the fields and bleachers to make them wheelchair accessible. Establishing kid’s quality and lasting play space.
No organization hosts more youth events than our Sno Isle Library. It was so exciting to have my grandkids join me for the ribbon cutting of the Smokey Point Library which opened January 2018 and had over 41,000 visitors in the first year. The Library is a place they are making anchor childhood memories.
One of the most transformative changes is the playground equipment and splash pad at Haller Park. I received daily calls from the kids as they anxiously awaited opening day. In May the kids and I joined a throng of Rotary Club members, Tribal representatives who partnered with the City and other community members to make this dream a reality. The sound of kids splashing and squeals of delight was perfect.
Attending the many downtown events that the City partners with the Business Association has created great stories of fond memories for my family. The hometown holiday events are perfect for families to add to their holiday celebrations. The Santa Parade and tree lighting ceremony add to the special memories for my grandkids and many other Arlington youth.
I am proud of all we done to continue to make sure there are play spaces for our kids and grandkids. The youth council exceeded expectations this year as they engaged in talking to parents about the challenges of teens and engaged in planning about Arlington’s growth, their voice is important to me.
Working with schools as your Mayor is one of the most rewarding parts of my efforts. I love supporting Lily my third grade partner in the Nurture Every Student Together program. Visiting the school weekly is a great way to absorb the state of our youth and to hear what’s important to them.
I have a strong commitment to ensuring these precious young people have a place to live, work and play in the community they are growing up in. Expanding education options locally is being done by partnering with Everett Community College for workforce training at Weston, or working with School District Administration on internship and apprentice programs. To me every child deserves options for pathway to success.