Hope Springs Eternal
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before the start of the Democratic National Convention, Kropenske
is slightly frazzled after another hectic day dealing with the logistics
of holding a convention-related event at Hope Street.
started out as a small reception for convention delegates hosted
by Sallie Mae, the federal educational loan provider, to highlight
literacy, has escalated into an all-day affair beginning with a
press conference featuring Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) and actor/director
Rob Reiner, two of Hope Street's biggest supporters, and celebrities
reading books to the children.
try to serve as a model, so we have a lot of visitors from other
parts of the city, state and nation who may be interested in replicating
this program," explains Kropenske. She is used to people observing
Hope Street, which has caught the eye of many key policy-makers.
"I see us expanding in terms of providing technical assistance,
including staff development, to other communities and agencies that
would like to start a center like Hope Street."
the passage in 1998 of Proposition 10, the California state measure
that levies a 50-cent-per-pack tax on cigarettes to provide funding
for health, education and support services for preschool children,
many counties are looking to the Hope Street Family Center as an
important model for delivering these early-childhood services.
notion, too, of home visiting for children, is gaining currency,
says Halfon, and Hope Street provides two successful models: Early
Head Start and a nurse visitation program for first-time pregnant
and many universities around the country have invested enormous
resources in creating innovative model programs to better provide
health and human services," says Halfon, who has been asked by the
Proposition 10 commission, headed up by Rob Reiner, for ideas on
how to "franchise" Hope Street, and by the federal government to
develop a series of reports on this notion of platforms for early-childhood
he says, translating a pilot program to policy has been enormously
difficult. That crucial issue is something that Halfon and a new
campuswide Institute for Children, Families and Communities will
be working to resolve.
only does Hope Street serve as a model for other communities, it
also benefits UCLA faculty and students as a place to engage in
research, service learning and fieldwork, another way the CERC initiative
is eager to connect UCLA with the center.
Kropenske and Halfon envision the partnership as a way for the university
and the center to learn from one another. "We could be developed
as a field-placement site for a variety of departments. This center
is a good setting for helping students see the connection between
the academic and the practical application of what occurs within
a natural setting," observes Kropenske.
teach classes here. I have my public-health students go and do a
couple of sessions at Hope Street, and they want to go back and
do internships," says Halfon. "It piques their imagination about
what's possible." vThis, then, recapitulates the university's missions
in a new light, one in which research, teaching and service are
replaced by knowledge production, knowledge transmission and knowledge
application, the same ideas driving the Institute for Children,
Families and Communities.
is allowing us to be out on the street where things are happening,
rather than working only in a laboratory setting," explains Halfon.
"It also allows us to develop collaborative learning experiences
with our community partners." The lessons learned through such programs
as Hope Street, he continues, are transmitted to public-policy makers
and to the public at large, greatly broadening the scope of societal
a university to remain vital, it has to be innovative. It will die
on the vine if it keeps on doing the same old thing. Even great
ideas can get stale if not acted upon," suggests Halfon.
stale is certainly not part of Halfon's vision for the future.
you look around the country," he says, "there's probably nothing
in this arena as innovative as the Hope Street Center."