Sunday, July 21, 2024

Most young students in Cambridge get out of school before 3 p.m., so after-school activities play an important role in providing a safe place for kids until adults get home from work. Last year the Department of Human Service Programs used a new lottery system and our third-grader did not get a spot in the Community School Afterschool program. We couldn’t find other affordable options in Cambridge, so we drove to Arlington or Somerville three days a week for after-school care. As full-time working parents, we were able to do this because we have the privilege of flexible and hybrid work schedules, but many in our city do not have that flexibility.

Working families need reliable child care for afternoons, early release days and other days when schools are closed but workplaces are open. Cambridge DHSP provides high-quality after-school options, but current capacity is only half of what is needed. The city can expand after-school programs to serve all families. After-school is more than just child care; it’s a key learning environment for children and youth to gain important social skills and grow as members of a community. Cambridge DHSP’s after-school provides equitable experiences for kids across the city through highly trained staff and fun, creative and enriching activities. It’s an excellent program that can be made available to all kids in Cambridge.

Universal after-school is a priority for many voters in Cambridge, but whether it becomes a reality depends on the persistence and effectiveness of City Council members. The details and follow-through matter, which is why we are asking readers to vote Jivan Sobrinho-Wheeler as the No. 1 choice for the council by Nov. 7. Jivan has a proven track record of nailing down the details and following through on promises from his time on the council in 2020-2021. Jivan’s first-term successes include a bike safety ordinance creating 22-plus miles of protected bike lanes throughout the city, co-sponsoring the Affordable Housing Overlay to create hundreds of new units and allowing restaurants to have acoustic music without first having to apply for a permit. 

For the past two years, Jivan has served as the New England progressive governance director for the Working Families Party, where he has worked on universal child care legislation to help providers reduce child care costs, strengthen funding for families and add wage supplements for child care workers to address the staffing crisis – policies we can bring to Cambridge to ensure that all families have access to affordable child care and after-school programming. In addition, Jivan will work on updates to the city’s charter to make the city more democratic after the charter review process (the first review in 80 years) and on municipal broadband to end Comcast’s monopoly.

Jivan knocks on thousands of doors even before the campaign starts and after the campaign ends, seeking input from diverse residents across the city. He is a committed organizer and coalition builder with a strong capacity for policy details. During Jivan’s previous term and election campaigns, we have witnessed firsthand how this commitment encourages civic participation from working families like ours.

We hope you’ll vote Jivan No. 1 for Cambridge City Council!

Derek Etkin and Rebecca Bailey, Clay Street, Cambridge