40th Anniversary Appeal Letter

Dear Friends,                                                                                                        

This year marks Parent Services Project’s 40th anniversary—four decades of successfully providing for families in need!  We write in celebration of everything this remarkable organization has achieved; and in recognition–and continued need–of your generosity and support.  Without it, these many long and successful years would not have been possible, and the future would look a little less bright.  

When Ethel Siederman founded Parent Services Project in 1980, she created a nonprofit agency that would quickly rise to become nationally recognized on the strength of its unique organizational model.  By providing whole family programming and engagement, PSP was built to support more than individuals:  it strengthens whole family units, guiding them to lead for the well-being of their children, and for the larger community, too.  Each of PSP’s programs— Raising a Reader, Leaders for Change, and Aprendiendo Juntos—is a testament to the wisdom of Ethel’s original vision: with the right foundation, families become leaders; our schools and communities create more equitable partnerships rooted in mutual respect; and children reap the benefits, as they rise to their fullest potential surrounded by caring and newly engaged communities. 

Today, Balandra Fregoso carries Ethel’s original vision and spirit forward as PSP’s Executive Director.  Under her guidance, PSP’s commitment to its original mission has strengthened, and new collaborations with valued partners are underway. Through these partnerships, PSP has vowed to participate in the critical work of designing a more equitable educational system in Marin.  One that lifts up those of us left behind, and holds existing systems accountable for this work.

Although much has been accomplished, our work remains far from done.  Today, we witness in disbelief the disruption of our economic and educational systems, and watch as gaping inequities are revealed and exacerbated.  The difference between those who are able to financially weather this crisis and who can address educational gaps with resources like pods and technology, and those who cannot, is stark.  This is as true in Marin as anywhere else.     

  • Latinx make up just 16% of Marin County residents, but account for nearly 80% of Covid-19 cases and 51% of hospitalizations. The largest racial disparity of any Bay Area County.
  • Over half of Marin County cases are located in the Canal.
  • The Canal has a positivity rate of 20%, three times higher than that of the rest of Marin.
  • 57% of Canal residents do not own a computer at home compared to 10% of residents outside the Canal.
  • 44% of those living in the Canal report that it is difficult to connect to the internet compared to only 10% of those surveyed living outside of the Canal.
  • *Canal Alliance/H&HS Statistics (as of August 2020)

    These statistics highlight the unfathomable challenges many of our local Latinx families are facing.  They are expected to be teachers and caregivers for children, even as they grapple with the targeted health effects of COVID-19 and the economically devastating impact the pandemic has had on the community in terms of job loss, housing and food insecurities, rising debt, and reduced quality of life.   

    PSP is here for those families just as it has been for countless families over the last 40 years. Our incredible staff has risen to meet the needs of this moment at every turn, going above and beyond to help.  They have coordinated the resource response that our families need, including financial and rental assistance, food, supplies, and PG&E assistance.  They have worked to promote census reporting, so that our families can make their presence known and visible, and increase the power of their collective voice. And thanks to their hard work and dedication, PSP staff has also creatively modified our family engagement, literacy and child development, and community outreach programs.  These modifications allow us to provide essential training and support for families navigating a new online learning environment, as well as fun and educational bilingual home school connections through online activities and storytimes.

    We have never been able to do this work alone; and today, we ask you to join us by donating.  Join in celebration of our past 40 years.  Join in recognition of the extraordinary times we are living and the profound need experienced by the most vulnerable among us.  Join in the shared belief that our work is just as important for the next 40 years as it has been for the past 40 years.  

    Please, donate today and together, we will prove the maxim that has and will always guide us: when families lead, kids and communities succeed.

    In gratitude, 

    The Parent Services Project Board

    Kate Joiner

    Board President

    Claudia Wilson

    Treasurer

    Annie Su

    Secretary

    Erica Archambault

    Member

    Jessie Latch

    Member