By Sharon Bonney, COABE CEO
On June 12th, I moved to Bradenton, Florida. A couple of weeks later, I reached out to my new mayor’s office and requested a meeting with the mayor. After two postponed meetings (one of which was postponed due to Hurricane Elsa), Mayor Brown and I finally met. I was excited because I know that the old saying “all politics are local” is true!
My goal was to share with him about the value of adult education and to ask him if our city was taking advantage of their share of the $70 million in CARES/GEER funding that Governor DeSantis had set aside for Adult Ed in Florida.
To my surprise, my mayor was not at all aware of the funding that was available, so it was a great learning opportunity. The mayor took a lot of notes and went so far as to say that he would assemble a task force to ensure that the local programs had a smooth process for accessing the funds. He was extremely interested and wanted information on the national, state, and local level. I shared with him about Adult Education and Family Literacy Week, our legislative awards, our national initiatives, and much more.
After the meeting, I sent the following email to him:
Dear Mayor Brown,Thank you so much for taking the time to meet me today! As a follow-up, I wanted to share a few resources that may be of interest to you, in addition to the handouts that we discussed during our meeting.“Success Files With Rob Lowe” created a short video about adult education, and our award-winning public awareness campaign, called “Educate and Elevate“. The link to view the video is HERE.State and county data regarding literacy levels and adult education figures can be found HERE. There are many additional resources I would be glad to share with you, but most importantly, I hope that you will view me and our local programs as a partner and resource to you in your efforts to serve the city of Bradenton!Thanks again, and I look forward to staying in touch!
I want to encourage you to meet with your mayor, and if you can, bring an adult learner with you. Share with him or her about how you are helping transform lives through literacy and helping the learners to get jobs and into community college. He’ll want to hear about the economic investment that adult education provides for your community! You can also invite him to attend your graduation ceremony so he can see the graduates receive their diplomas. Your mayor can become one of the biggest supporters of your program!
Will you accept the challenge to reach out to your mayor?
Could this be a way to celebrate National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week, September 19-25, 2021?