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By Mary Flynn
Larry Romer wants a better future for his son and his hometown in Hayward. The 44-year-old grew up in a neighborhood known as the Jackson Triangle, a diverse and low-income area. Larry stays involved in the community – he tutors school children, coaches baseball and sits on a school committee at his son’s school – but despite his own efforts or the efforts of others, the schools and the neighborhood have deteriorated.
But thanks to the successful collaboration of several civic and community agencies, Romer’s old neighborhood, one of Hayward’s most vulnerable, has been awarded a momentous grant from the Department of Education that will provide nearly $25 million dollars in support services and programs over a five-year period.
The community of Boyle Heights has been selected for a federal grant that could lead to $1 million or more to improve education in the area by focusing intensely on children’s needs from the time they are born until they graduate from high school. The idea, tried most famously in New York City’s Harlem Children’s Zone, is to give kids all the support they need – inside and outside of school – to succeed academically. Joy Hepp has the story.