advocacy

Reflecting on 40 Years

Dear Wu Yee Community,

This year is both one of action and one of reflection for me. To all of our recent and longstanding supporters, thank you for being part of our journey! We wouldn't be where we are today without you.

As Wu Yee Children’s Services celebrates 40 years of serving children and their families it has also been tirelessly advocating for Early Childhood Education (ECE) on the city and state level. As California prepares for next year’s budget, we are addressing the inequities in teacher’s wages which continue to grow, the difficulty in finding quality and affordable childcare, and the challenges faced by working families under the weight of the exorbitant cost of living in San Francisco.  As part of the CA Coalition for Equity in Early Care and Education (CCEECE), Wu Yee is shouting from the rooftops: This Is Unacceptable!

I am fortified by stories of Wu Yee’s humble beginnings, when in 1977  parents, grandparents, social workers, and community leaders saw an unfilled need and worked long hours finding creative ways to serve Cantonese speaking children at a temporary center in the Inner Richmond. While the agency has grown into a citywide organization with 12 child development centers and a comprehensive range of services throughout San Francisco it continues to hold true to Wu Yee’s original guiding principles: to serve and support those who need quality early care and education in a linguistically and culturally diverse manner, and to ensure that families throughout San Francisco find the support they need.

Unfortunately, there are still hundreds of thousands of working families in California who need access to ECE without enough spaces to accommodate their children.  As the early education funding drought continues in California, Wu Yee has been proactive in joining other early education agencies state wide to urge the governor and the legislature to invest in California’s future by making ECE available to more children, providing teachers with a living wage so agencies retain excellent teachers, and to assure quality facilities for the children. If the State of California is serious about addressing income inequality, intergenerational poverty, the appalling high school drop-out rate, and even the cruel path to incarceration—we must first be serious about whether we fully fund Early Care and Education in California.

So you can see, 2017 is both a year of action and reflection. The many common threads between 1977, when the founders of Wu Yee fought to provide a much needed service to an underserved community, and the present are not lost on us including threats to cut Federal funding, anti-immigrant sentiment and antagonism towards minorities. We will not be deterred and will continue to “shout from the rooftop” until we are heard. Like our founders we stand strongly committed to the diverse range of families in San Francisco who struggle to raise their families in the city by the bay.

Warm regards,

Monica Walters CEO

Monica Walters
CEO

2015 Walk Around the Block for early education

On Friday, April 17, Wu Yee staff and students went for a “Walk Around the Block” in various neighborhoods and at San Francisco’s City Hall to help bring awareness to the importance of early childhood education. This year’s focus was on supporting higher wages for early educators.

Walk Around the Block has become an annual event where teachers, directors, child care providers, parents, and advocates join together in a citywide advocacy campaign to bring awareness about early childhood education and to urge our local legislators to continue to invest in and support San Francisco’s

This year was the 5th annual Walk Around the Block, and its main focus was ensuring that early education teachers get paid what they deserve – not just the minimum wage, but a living wage. The average early educator in San Francisco has a degree, yet only earns around $32,000 per year – this is less than half of what a public school teacher in San Francisco makes ($78,000) and significantly lower than the city’s average self-sufficiency wage ($57,658).

Right now, San Francisco’s early educators and supporters are asking for signatures on a petition to ensure that the $1.5 million needed to implement the minimum wage increase for all ECE programs in San Francisco is fully funded.