Welcome to Viva-city and Downtown San Diego
Sandra Simmons

Life in the City

-by Sandra Simmons

It takes a village to raise a child. – African proverb

I recently had the pleasure of attending “Coffee with the Principal” at Washington Elementary. As I walked into the lunchroom that doubles as an auditorium, I could instantly feel a sense of community.

Children flock here to nurture their growing bodies and cultivate connections with their classmates. This building is home to their school assemblies, their recess on rainy days, their annual June promotions to the next level of education.

Now, parents gathered to connect with other parents and learn how they might work together with teachers to nurture their children’s minds.

It’s “Family Friday.” Parents spend a portion of the day in their child’s classroom assisting the teacher with reading and math lessons, and organizing special art projects to develop children’s spatial skills and wonderment of beauty. Teachers treasure this fresh perspective gladly shared by willing adults.

Here it becomes evident that so many people working together can produce a positive outcome. This room holds so much joy, happiness, love, and sadness, but most of all, it emanates the feeling of a village working together to raise our next generation.

Does a strong community lead to stronger young ones? Can a community be strong if our young people are not? Isn’t life easier when there is a network of friends, neighbors, and a community?

I ponder…Can we raise our community more quickly if we help to raise our children?

Many Downtowners understand the important role children play in creating a community.

Principal Gilbert Gutierrez and his wife Susan look forward to making Downtown their home upon completion of Alta.

Amy Pasko (Waterfront) and fellow parent showed her son’s first grade class how to create an origami box and bird and also sampled Japanese food. Amy is actively involved in the Parent Teachers Organization and helps organize activities that bring the school’s community together.

Felicia Watson (Green House on State) used her graphic skills to design the Washington Elementary PTO logo.

Gregg Maslak (Kettner Row) posted “This is Our Neighborhood Slow Down!” signs on State Street near the school to remind drivers of children present.

One Saturday morning each month, Kara Galasso Garcia (Villa Maria), Felicia Watson, Amy and John Pasko met with other Little Italy parents. As the parents form a bond, so do their children.

Todd Ruth (Pinnacle) provides a forum, www.SD-Fun.org, which helps families meet, play, and share information. Community members post family oriented events.

Julie Licari (Watermark) created Downtown Parents Connect, a resource connecting urban families. Among other activities, they participate in fundraising for the future Children's Museum and other local children venues in the community.

If you have the opportunity to give a little of yourself or your resources for the benefit of the community, do it! A good neighborhood starts when you decide to be a good neighbor. Make your neighborhood your village.

Visit the City Events page, Community section for opportunities to support Washington Elementary in raising our young ones. - January 2005

Return to Top