Springfield Housing Authority opens another literacy program

Aug. 17, 2017 | G. Michael Dobbs

SPRINGFIELD  – The Springfield Housing Authority (SHA) is bringing the Talk/Read/Succeed! program to the Duggan Park Apartments in Indian Orchard, one of the largest complexes in the city operated by the SHA.

The SHA hosted an open house on Aug. 10 for the new location of the program.

Daisy Gomez, the outreach coordinator for Talk/Read/Succeed! said the new office would serve 196 families with more than 450 children at the housing complex.

The goal of Talk/Read/Succeed! she explained is to promote literacy from birth through fourth grade and to engage the entire family in the effort for children to read at grade level.

Additional programs the program offers are in nutrition, financial literacy, job searches and resume writing, Gomez added.

“Strong families can raise strong kids,” Gomez said.

She added there would be a back to school event on Aug. 21 at which children would receive backpacks. The Springfield Library is also partnering with the program to distribute books.

Talk/Read/Succeed! began in 2010, serving families at Sullivan and Robinson Gardens Apartments with their feeder schools, Boland and  Dorman. At Duggan, the Indian Orchard Elementary School is a partner, with programming already underway at both locations.

Outgoing SHA Executive Director William H. Abrashkin said that half of the children in the Indian Orchard Elementary School live in the Duggan Park complex.  

He added he sees Talk/Read/Succeed! As a “prep school to Springfield Public Schools.”

Abrashkin, who announced his retirement in July, is working though next spring, which will give the SHA board adequate time to find his replacement. He said at the time of the announcement, “This work can be demanding, but it’s also encouraging, even uplifting, to try to help realize the potential that’s there in the organization – the people who live and work here,” he said. “It is often said, but I really mean, that working here has been an honor and a privilege.”

Speaking at the open house, he said he was happy to give the board additional time, but added, “It’s time to go when there is still gas in the tank.”

Abrashkin served nearly 10 years as the executive director after a 22-year tenure as the First Justice of the Western Division of the Housing Court.

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