APRIL 17, 1950
HYDE PARK, Sunday—I have just received tangible proof that the United Nations really begins to mean something to people all over this country. From the Northwest headquarters of the American Association for the United Nations, a letter has come telling me that they are planning to build up in the Northwest a committee of 5,000 women to sponsor the fifth anniversary of the United Nations. General Frank E. Stoner, who is to work with them on this project, has told them that women suffer and give so much in any war that they should work now harder than ever to help the United Nations succeed.
If they achieve their goal of 5,000 women to work on United Nations Day, they hope they will be able to keep these women working on the programs of the United Nations Association. They have chosen April 26 as the day on which to begin enrolling women, since it is the day the San Francisco Conference was convened five years ago when the war was not yet over. They feel they will have time in the intervening months to get across in the states of the Northwest what the United Nations has been able to do in these five years in spite of the difficulties under which it has labored. I congratulate these women. They have done a good job before, but this will be an all-out effort to get a greater number of women interested and I am sure it will bring them great satisfaction.
Now I am wondering whether other cities in the United States have tried out the program that some of our public schools in New York City have found so remarkably successful. The Chelsea Citizen's Committee of New York City write me of the work that they have done in Public School 33, Manhattan, at 418 West 28th Street. This is an all-day neighborhood school. They look after the children of working mothers, from nine to five during the school year and all day in the summer play school.
One of the most valuable things done in this school, I think, is to teach children what democracy means by actually living it. The school is run as a small community and the children are in charge of such jobs as the milk service, the school library, the distribution of supplies and the operation of film machines, all of which gives them useful experience in other service jobs. Through a trained social worker who visits the homes, difficulties are explained, parents understand what the school is trying to do and the teachers understand home conditions from which their children come.
All the resources of the community are used by the school to meet the needs of the children. The school works with as many community agencies as are available. Once a year they make an appeal to the public to help them carry the extra expense of the all-day, all-year school. The summer play school, of course, is paid for entirely by the Chelsea Citizen's Committee. The social worker is provided by this committee. Supplies not provided by the Board of Education and cots for the youngest children for rest after the lunch period are all bought by the committee.
This is a good way to help prevent child delinquency, and I am sure cities all over the country will gradually follow out the same program.