Gina Verdibello Helps Education Matter
What do you do?
I am a Parent Advocate for the children of Jersey City and I'm also a Girl Scout Troop Leader in Jersey City. I am a parent to three wonderful children.
Why do you do it?
When my children started attending public school I became involved. I started to attend monthly Jersey City Board of Education meetings and it evolved to my attendance at State Board of Education meetings and State Development Authority meetings. Speaking at these meetings gave me a voice to fight for better outcomes for our schools and my community.
How did you start?
Personally, I dove into learning more about education in general. Parents have a strong voice. When I'm not advocating, I teach young girls to aspire to be the best that they can be through my Girl Scout Troop 12026. In 2013 at James F. Murray Public School 38, I started my troop with 17 girls from that school, which includes my two daughters. In 2014, I moved my troop to where we currently meet at St. Paul's Episcopal Church.
Being at another location afforded me to accept girls from all areas of Jersey City. In the past few years, my girls have marched in parades, participated in a flag ceremony for the 2016 OCA National Conference and have also donated to the Liberty Humane Association by making dog toys and by using their earned cookie money to purchase supplies that were needed. We've also visited nursing homes and donated cookies to seniors.
Who do you do it for?
I try to empower my girls with having guest speakers attend our meetings so that they can learn while also having fun. In the past we had Thyson Halley Sign Language Advocate teach the girls the basics of sign language, Shana Givens Parent Activist give a lesson in crocheting and Takeria Clark H.O.N.E.Y Bees founder to teach the girls how to double dutch.
What do you love about it?
I love being a Parent Advocate and a Girl Scout Troop Leader because I value education. Growing up my parents didn’t speak fluent English and they owned a restaurant which limited time to focus on our after school programs. I always felt like I needed more guidance especially with my homework but my parents couldn’t help me so I started to fall behind. As an adult I worry about the children that fall behind or have obstacles that deter them from learning. Education is everything and so essential to strive in this world. Afterschool programs are also essential to continue the love of learning and socializing with peers. I love Girl Scouts because it brings girls together that don’t know each other and builds new friendships and sisterhood.
How do you / would you make learning awesome?
I would make learning awesome if we could bring back the things I learned in school as a child such as cursive, shop classes, civics, geography and typing classes. This would include extended time during recess. Giving more time for children to play. The State is so concerned with over testing our children to the point that children forget what it’s like to be a child. I believe in a teaching to the whole child and not just certain areas. I never tested well in school and believe not every child is the same and can be discouraging when you don’t do well. As an advocate I will continue to push for better in our classrooms and schools.
I have the best jobs in the world and will continue to do what I can for my community.