Philadelphia— Department of Human Services Commissioner, Anne Marie Ambrose will honor Logan Elementary fourth grade teacher Jasmine Williams and her class today during a school assembly. As school draws to a close, most fourth graders are cleaning out their desks and longing for summer vacation to begin. But this very special fourth grade class is hard at work, saving the lives of other children.
When Jasmine Williams’ class learned about children affected by abuse, including two of their own classmates, they decided, “enough is enough!” and took matters into their own hands. After thoroughly researching the topic and meeting with staff from the Philadelphia Department of Human Services who provided information about the causes and effects of child abuse, this group of nine-year old advocates decided to make a public service announcement and develop a play about child abuse to perform for their school community and a neighboring elementary school.“What these young people have done is extraordinary. Their words are compelling and the message is powerful” says DHS Commissioner Anne Marie Ambrose.
The class project was part of a partnership with the non profit group Need in Deed. The organization contracts with schools to train teachers. They in turn enlisted the help of their community partner, Comcast Interactive Media, whose employees pooled their resources to help out. The Comcast employees called a producer for the children's television company Sprout, who agreed to lend her expertise. She worked with the students from concept through storyboard and script. A video crew from Comcast shot the PSA and Sprout did the final editing.
Ms. Williams and her students were amazed by the quality of the finished product, which was screened before the three performances of their play. The PSA was so impressive it won an award for Outstanding Project at an award ceremony sponsored by Need in Deed, an organization that prepares youth for civic responsibility.
While the class has enjoyed the recognition and award, their compelling work has had an even more profound outcome. After watching the performance and PSA, a child from a neighboring elementary school, found the courage to report the abuse she had been silently suffering to her teacher.
“The most important way we as a city can ensure the safety of our children is to take a stand against child abuse,” said Ambrose. “These extraordinary young people have demonstrated that every resident, no matter who they are or how old they are, has a voice and can make an enormous difference.”
Ambrose urged all citizens who suspect a child they know is being abused to call DHS’ 24-hour child abuse hotline at 215-683-6100.On behalf of DHS and the City of Philadelphia, Ambrose will present Miss Williams and her class with certificates and present a screening of their PSA and play. The event took place today at 12:15 at Logan Elementary School, 1700 Lindley Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19141.