APRIL 15, 1944
NEW YORK, Friday—Yesterday morning I spent a few minutes at a small club which is visited by members of the Allied Forces passing through this country. It is run in connection with a small book shop on Park Avenue. Because it is so small, there is personal contact possible which makes it more homelike. Rooms are found for the men if they spend the night in New York. I think they must often find their hosts friendly people who try to make them comfortable.
I was pleased to see this club, because it is the kind of thing that I saw being done for our men by Australian and New Zealand women, and I like to think that their boys go home after having had a contact with some of the homes of our people here.
After a short meeting, I took a train to Poughkeepsie where I had a little business to attend to, and then I went to the Poughkeepsie High School for a parent-teacher meeting. During the winter they have been discussing the need for a youth center in Poughkeepsie.
It is interesting to find that the people in this country are increasingly conscious of the questions involved in child care, both for small children and the older young people. There was a time when we thought the home, the school and the church were the only agencies concerned with young people, and one was expected to take an interest only in his own young people. Now there has been developed a feeling that all the people of the community have not only an interest, but a responsibility, in our modern and complicated civilization, for all the young people in their community.
Whether we start child care centers for young people depends on the interest of the young people themselves and the need that their elders feel for such activity. If opportunities for recreation are not plentiful, I think we will find these centers springing up in private houses, in rooms in existing organizations, or in buildings sponsored by the community. But in every case, the need and the young people's enthusiasm will have to be plainly demonstrated.
You may have heard the radio talk given by Miss Dorothy Thompson on a Sunday night some weeks ago on the subject of community responsibility for child care. She particularly spoke of the school lunch program. This program, of course, grew out of a real need. We found here, as the Scandinavian and other European countries found out long ago, that the school lunch program was of value from the point of view of good health for the children and education for the parents. What the children learned in school resulted in better nutrition habits in the home. I hope this program will grow until every school in the country provides a hot school lunch for its children.
Miss Dorothy Thompson's talk was recorded and can now be heard by many of the women's groups which have received copies of the recording.