As the leader of one of the major nonprofit organizations serving children and families in Springfield and Holyoke, I feel I must comment on the recent Presidential campaign and election.  I have voted in more than 10 Presidential elections, and I cannot recall a time when there was such animus, disrespectful name-calling and extreme hateful language leading up to and following Election Day.

No matter how you voted, whether you are pleased or displeased with the results, we cannot deny that this process has brought about some outcomes we do not welcome. We are seeing and hearing reports of increased bullying, hate crimes and other acts of violence, directly linked to the campaign and its results. The public feuding on social media has caused friendships to crumble and families to divide. Calls to crisis hotlines have surged and the need for grief counselors in schools across the country is on the rise.  While some are rejoicing in anticipation of changes that were promised, others are fearful. 

At Square One, we are focused on our community’s most at-risk children and families and the impact the discourse has had on them.  We have been extra vigilant in our programs to ensure that our children and families feel safe and supported during this time of divisiveness in our country.  Our job is to offer every child at Square One an opportunity for a bright future and to know that they can depend on caring adults to help them grow and achieve.

In short, Square One remains committed to providing families with the highest quality early learning experience for their children and the greatest opportunities for a stable, healthy family life. We will continue to respond to the growing needs of our families in innovative and purposeful ways.  Although the language they see and hear may be hostile and angry, we want our children to learn to respect themselves and others and for families to feel that they are valued members of our community.

 

Joan Kagan

President & CEO