By Tricia Hall
The Truth Reporter
The Mosaic Family Zone organized its Beat Poverty Banquet, an annual free celebration, which was held at The Premier on November 9, 2023, and featured guest speaker Seth Kaplan, PhD.
Guests were officially welcomed by David Kaiser, executive director of the Mosaic Family Zone, then dined and participated in a silent auction. Auction items were donated and would benefit the Mosaic Family Zone, attendees had up to 40 different auction items as a selection: a coffee set, bird and flower painting, baking set, Dooney & Burke purse, fire pit set, portable grill and Toledo Zoo family membership.
“I want to welcome each of you to the Beat Poverty Banquet. Thank you for coming out tonight and I encourage you to support the silent auction and donate towards this cause,” shared Kaiser.
The annual banquet provides an opportunity for organizers to share a verbal and visual report on progress, share resources, inspire, and celebrate milestones. Mosaic Family Zone noted four milestones that were highlighted as significant growth in the past year:
- Mosaic Early Learning Center, a preschool, opened in April 2023.
- Mosaic Classical Academy, a new charter school, opened in 2023.
- Nature+, an outdoor education program, in collaboration with Partners In Education completed one year of programming.
- The While Crew, a male teen mentoring program, initiated programming.
Additionally, the banquet provided an opportunity for Mosaic Family Zone to share progress towards the long-term investment and alignment with Geoffrey Canada, the founder of Harlem Children’s Zone/William Julius Wilson Institute. The Institute created “cradle to career pipeline,” through partnerships in 24 cities, four of which he is personally invested. One of those four cities is Toledo.
“We wanted to bring a proven method to Toledo after I attended a conference in 2009. There are ways to address poverty, food, clothing and shelter, but what else can be done to support those ways? We adopted a model, based off the Harlem Children’s Zone called Pregnancy to Purpose and it all started in Toledo with Baby University,” shared Kaiser.
The guest speaker, Seth D. Kaplan, PhD spoke about poverty. Kaplan is an expert on fragile states. He is a professorial lecturer in the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopskins Integrated Transitions, and consultant to multiple organizations such as the World Bank, U.S. State Department, U.S. Agency for International Development and others. The speaker is also an author and he provided free copies of his book, “Repairing American Society, One Zip Code At A Time, Fragile Neighborhoods.”
“It’s hard to follow David, he lives and breathes this work, because neighborhoods matter,” said Kaplan. “This book provides a framework for the problem, please take the book because how well a country does is all about relationships. We didn’t have all of these problems two generations ago, relationships changed. Back then people lived in little societies that included churches, shops, markets and schools. They created networks that overlapped with systems and people felt responsible for each other.”
Mosaic Family Zone exists to enrich every family in the Old South End has access to services which are both wholistic and longitudinal, providing everything a family needs over a 20+ year continuum. The major focus is to beat poverty over a generation through education. In addition to the early learning center and academy, Mosaic Family Zone also includes Baby University which provides support for parents.