Mia Daugherty lives in a neighborhood where poverty is nothing new and school is often an afterthought, but from the moment her daughter was born she was determined to forge a bright future here for her daughter.
Daugherty serves as one of the organizers of the Village of Moms. She, along with other moms, came together early last year to think of problems within the black community that they can address. They started with literacy.
“When you look at it, black children in our community read at least two grade levels lower than the other children in different neighborhoods,” said Daugherty. “So something needed to be done about it.”
The organization hosted its second annual Reading Village at the O’Fallon Park Recreation Center on Saturday, June 29. They filled the gym with 50 vendors such as Paraquad, Women and Infants Center, YWCA, St. Louis Public Library, Family Forward, Barefoot Books, Affinia Healthcare, and Operation Food Search. They handed out free books, food, and advice.
“It takes a whole village,” Daugherty said. “If we weren’t going to do it for our children, then who would?”
The Village focused on hunger and healthy eating within the community, as well as literacy.
“We have Operation Food Search here to demonstrate how to prepare a healthy meal,” said Daugherty. Operation Food Search provided meals for over 200 people who attended the event.
Healthcare providers also were available for parents to seek advice.
“St. Louis has one of the highest infant mortality rates for black babies, and a lot of people do not realize that,” said Daugherty. “It is just another statistic about black kids that live in the city.”
But literacy remains the groups focus.
“Black kids are just being passed along, and no one is doing anything about it,” Daugherty said. “The reading levels are low, and we as moms need to start first to fix the problems within our community,” she said. “I can’t ensure that this program will help, but I will do my best to combat it, to fight it, and bring awareness to the black community that suffers trauma and to break the cycle.”
For more information, visit the Village of Moms STL on Facebook page.