This is both an exciting time in Austin as well as one frought with challenge. With the passing of TAP’s esteemed co-founders, Elspeth and Walt Rostow–two pillars that catalyzed a generation to think bigger, broader–in ways that still compel us to emerge from our silos to connect, link, leverage one another’s efforts to build the Austin that is a model of democracy, with social justice becoming the river that binds our sectors, instead of dividing us. TAP and the community look to new emerging leaders along with new grassroots efforts to continue the eternally vigilant fight for access to equity in schools, healthcare, affordable housing, living wages. In these “tight times” that offer a glimmer of hope on the horizon, we emerge leaner with more awareness of what it takes to create and sustain community systems that lift up the strong and the weak, the gentle and those with fire in the belly.
TAP carries forward the legacy and commitment to the bigger picture, the initiatives that honor the inspiration of not only Elspeth and Walt Rostow, but also the community champions we honor each fall at the Rostow Awards Event. TAP takes the baton and convenes community groups, walks neighborhoods with our school partners, promotes healthy lifestyles through the Dove Springs Health and Wellness Academy. We foster social/emotional and physical healthy lives for children and their parents as they move from elementary school to middle school/childhood to adolescence through major Transition Workshops held each year with 12 campuses. Each year TAP also recruits, trains and supports Tutor/Mentors from UT Austin to serve elementary children for an entire year to ensure they are successful in school.
Please join our work; come to one of our Community/School Alliance Meetings, to see hope in motion. Volunteer to help us research the next emerging challenge. The Austin Project is 21 years old this year; as an adult organization we know enough now to look to youth for their voice and to our elders for their wisdom and to you, our community to join us as we soldier on with this important work. We do our part and invite you to walk with us, to catalyze individuals, organizations, and agencies to work collaboratively to better integrate services that support neighborhood revitalization, early literacy initiatives, strong public education, and resilient families.
It is an honor and privilege to be the executive director of TAP. I look forward to working with the TAP Board and the Austin community to build on the spirit of the Rostows’ legacy to positively impact our community’s children and families for years to come.
– Donna Hagey, Spring 2013