Changing face of Kirk Community Center
Subject: The changing face of Kirk Community Center
Date: September 22, 2004 11:59:30 PM PDT
To: Joan.Carrico@sanjoseca.gov, email@example.com, Sara.Hensley@sanjoseca.gov, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Cc: Tim.McCullough@sanjoseca.gov, Tona.Duncanson@sanjoseca.gov
Dear Councillor Chirco,
I am concerned about current trends and future plans for Kirk Community Center.
1. Kirk office staff re-location/redundancies and ramifications.
2. Plans for the front office to be the office for the Senior Center.
3. Ongoing concerns about the City-wide brochure and how it has undermined community and services. I have questions about:
a) The cost of it,
b) The fiscal ramifications of it,
c) The management staffing costs of it at the expense of services to the community.
d) The impact on the community.
This summer I had the worst experience I have EVER had as a result of enrolling my sons in a Spanish class at Kirk Community Center. Since the departure of Valentine Lewis from Kirk there has been a noticeable deterioration in class quality. Without someone paying attention to the class instructors and keeping an eye on things I predict the situation will deteriorate further.
The Spanish instructor arrived 20-25 minutes late every week. He was unprepared and quite frankly an apology for an instructor. This would never have happened under the watchful eye of Valentine. I don't even suppose he would have been hired. Parents dropped off their children expecting the instructor to be there. The children were unattended on many occasions.
- The City-wide guide took away her job, damaging community services.
- The City-wide guide is anti-community, promotes centralisation and loses the local voice.
The squeeze on money and the vast expense of the City-wide guide has resulted in a lowering of the quality of instructor.
My chief concerns are that the Community Center at Kirk is starting to look like it will become exclusively a Senior Center. I am not impressed by assurances that Camden will service my needs and those of my children. It is not my community.
San Jose has a slogan "Building Strong Communities" My experience of City policy is the opposite in this regard. The demographics of this area are changing - as old people move out of the larger homes into sheltered or residential accommodation, more families with children are moving in. I wonder if the people who have recently moved here with young children realise that the Community Center is being reshaped to exclude them.
I'm sure it is just coincidence that Carole Ferris-Greer Director of YPT is under pressure and her good name and standing are currently threatened. Without Carole the YPT program would be altogether different and probably in a different location perhaps?
When changes are proposed that affect the current quality and level of service to families and the elderly in this community, I propose that a well-advertised Community Meeting is held to discuss the issues.
I am writing to the Mercury News to make them aware of my concerns.
I look forward to hearing from you to discuss the concerns I have.
More concern expressed by Rosie
Subject: Letter in support of YPT at Kirk Community Center
Date: September 21, 2004 8:46:38 PM PDT
Cc: Judy.Chirco@sanjoseca.gov, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Ms Hensley,
I recently received a survey to complete to convey my satisfaction with the three Boot Camps my son Andrew attended at Kirk Community Center and the two Boot Camps my son Christopher attended at the same venue this summer.
After receiving it, I realised that it had been a long time since I had written to express my thanks and gratitude to the staff at Kirk for delivering such a first class program which goes out of its way to build community spirit and nurture the individual needs of the children.
This summer I was particularly impressed how the needs of a Downe's Syndrome little boy called Matthew were met at a Boot Camp my boys participated in. With the care and attention he received, he was able to be integrated into the program. On the performance night it was clear that he had really enjoyed himself.
Carole Ferris-Greer and the YPT team really excel at meeting the needs of individuals. Considering the climate of budget cuts and redundancies it is a delight to be involved with such wonderfully creative and optimistic individuals, particularly Carole.
It is my understanding that currently aspersions are being cast on Carole Ferris-Greer's professionalism. At this time there seems to be inexplicable, ineffective Management support for her. I'm surprised that an asset such as Carole Ferris-Greer is not being more carefully nurtured protected and supported. I hope that in the coming weeks matters will be resolved to reduce stress on the YPT group and in particular Carole, to enable her and the team to fully apply themselves to the their current production of Peter Pan Jr. It would be tragic if current events meant the team were unable to focus completely on their current cohort of children.
Please feel free to call me to discuss my experiences with Carole and the program. Myself and many other members of the YPT Parent's Support group would be only too happy to testify in support of Carole's exemplary character and professionalism. Her tireless and selfless devotion to her work, combined with amazing creativity, bring out the best in the children and the YPT families in our community. Families with hundreds of children returning season after season to be part of the productions and events can't be wrong. Carole Ferris-Greer's track record is outstanding and remarkable.
Thank you for your continued support of the YPT program and I look forward to meeting you personally at a YPT performance possibly in November. Councillor Chirco enjoyed the recent production of the Jungle Book and it was wonderful to have her there in person to support the program.
September 20th 2004
Dear Carole, (Cassie, Kelly,Donna, Julia, Matt, Kenny and Jack)
When I received the survey I realised how long it has been since I’d actually taken the time to write and thank you and the YPT team for all your hard work.
There have been many occasions when I have been so impressed by your dedication to the program and to the children. You take the time to really get to know the children and are sensitive to not only their needs but also to the needs of the families involved.
We are entering our third year with YPT and over the years we have experienced nothing but joy and happiness with the program. I have seen my children grow and flourish under your kind, caring and watchful gaze. I have seen what you teach them extend to their everyday lives. Through your program they have become more confident and self reliant. They adore you. I feel that Andrew and Christopher are so privileged to have you and your team in their lives, as a role models and mentors. We as a family are enriched by knowing you. You are an inspiration.
Every production or boot camp we have participated in has been been hugely successful. We love to return to YPT, as we know that we will continue to nurture our friendships within the community. So many families come back season after season to work together on the new production. What a tribute that is to you Carole. The Theater program at Kirk is one of the few things I have been involved in which genuinely nurtures community spirit. The support the program receives on Parent Preview Nights reflects the commitment of the participants not only to the program but to you and your team.
It is astonishing to me that in these times you have managed to keep together and motivate such a truly wonderful group of people in the YPT team. There have been no staff changes in the time we have been part of YPT. Thank you for providing continuity. It is wonderful to see the older members come back to help with the younger ones at Boot Camps.
It is your drive, imagination, kindness and charisma which enables the community to come together to enjoy the successes of each event.
I never fail to be impressed by the professionalism of every production. Your passion for your work shines through every production. The children’s faces are a picture to behold.
I would also like to mention how wonderful the new seating is in the main Theater. I know how hard you all worked in the summer to make the necessary changes. The outside courtyard is also very attractive and adds to the ambiance of the program, particularly in the summer.
Only people who work with children and parents understand the real demands of the job. As a teacher myself, I have nothing but admiration for you.
You and your team have an unenviable task ahead to maintain the very high standards you set yourselves. The pressure increases as high standards are also set as a result of participants high expectations. Keeping morale high must be challenging in the face of actual or threatened budget cuts.
I know you do not like to draw any attention to yourself or receive personal praise but I would love to forward this letter to Donna Lovell at the Mercury News (Editor of local news) and Judy Chirco to let them know what an outstanding job you are doing for the children and the youth in our community. Your work and dedication is very much appreciated.
I hope the fall production of Peter Pan Jr. brings excitement, joy and success for all. May you receive all the support you need to continue to work your magic.