Important Message to Families and Community

We want to thank all of you who have contacted us in support of our community impacted by the violent tragedy. The power of our community is inspiring. We are a very small school community and are working to keep up with the influx of people and organizations contacting us. We appreciate your patience as we got through this last week of school with our celebrations and maintenance of routine as we simultaneously address what we can in response to the tragic event and its aftermath. Most of the needs of our families (including Charleena and her children) were present long before Sunday and we are committed more than ever to supporting them as well as the broader Magnuson Solid Ground community.

Thanks to community support, we have provided gift packages for each family in Solid Ground housing as well as providing critical care items for two of Charleena’s children. We are in the process of setting up a Minor’s Trust for Charleena’s children that can be used to meet their immediate needs as well as provide for them over the long term. This process takes time as we work through the legalities with the family to ensure that they are equal parts of the process. The Trust’s purpose is to ensure that there are funds available to current and future guardians of the children for support and, ultimately, to the children themselves when they come of age. If you wish to contribute to this fund once it is set up, please let us know and we will keep you posted as we progress.

There are two other ways financial contributions will be accepted at this time. Specifically, we as a school, want to ensure that we set up opportunities for Brettler Family Place and Sand Point Housing students, regardless of age or where they go to school.
1) We will accept funds to expand our existing Family Support Fund, which directly supports scholarships for after school care/enrichment/sports, as well as emergency food, rent, utilities, clothing etc., to support all children in family housing in our catchment area.
2) We, in collaboration with Solid Ground and the Community Center and Recreation providers in the park, are willing to accept designated donations to support and expand the Sports Fund operated by the Sand Point Elementary PTA. This fund will support broad coordination of coaches and enrollment of kids in these activities. The Sports Fund at SPE PTA accepts designated contributions for scholarships, uniforms, coaching, fees, etc. for all of our low income kids. The focus is on elementary school age children but will be open to all low income children in our catchment area.*

For non-financial contributions, which are critical, we are in need of support for:
1) Advocacy for expansion of space and programming at the Community Center at Magnuson Park, which has extremely limited space, programming and support. There are city/county/state wide efforts to expand this and other critical community centers as they are desperately needed to provide arts, culture, sports and other recreation activities. Without it, our kids and adults have little to no recreational access. Advocacy for this must happen with the City of Seattle Parks Department, Metro District, City Council and Mayor’s office and letters are requested from the broader community in support of this important expansion.

2) Advocacy for affordable housing that INCLUDES comprehensive services. Our City and County political candidates need to address how they will advocate for affordable housing that also includes important wrap-around services like mental and physical health needs for our most vulnerable populations. We are an affluent and remarkable city and we can do better. Housing in isolation is not enough. Families need access to transportation, food, vocational support, children’s services, and mental health support.

3) Advocacy for equity in education within the District and full education funding at the state level. Our schools do not have financial or professional capacity to meet the needs of most of our children, and people of color, like Charleena’s family, are disproportionately affected by the education gap in our school district. We have the fifth largest education gap between our white and black students in the entire country. This is unacceptable. We failed Charleena’s kids for lack of capacity. We need to acknowledge our failures and be accountable.

4) Advocacy for policing policies that promote de-escalation in policing. This is of extreme importance. We also encourage you to look critically at all ways in which our systems failed this family. Advocate with your elected officials regarding ALL of the institutions that failed. Consider attending the City Council’s Public Hearing on the topic at 6pm, Tuesday 7/27,Kane Hall Room 130, UW campus.

5) Advocacy for improved transportation and solutions for greater access to food beyond 7-11, an unsafe and insufficient source of food for residents. Access to quality nutrition, especially for early childhood is well documented and we need to increase access to broader grocery options.

For those who would like to make monetary contributions:

Finally, we ask that you minimize the presence of media and onlookers at the housing unit and at our school. Above all, we are promoting routine and normalcy for our students who are already severely affected by this tragedy.

We thank you tremendously.
*All PTA financials are available to the community we serve. With Solid Ground families input the PTA voted 7/19/17 to hold every other Board Meeting at Brettler Family/Santos Place to facilitate broader participation and greater transparency. All General Membership meetings will be held at the School. The alternate Board Meetings will also be at Sand Point Elementary.

Permanent link to this article: http://sandpointelementarypta.org/2017/06/26/important-message-to-families-and-community/