On Saturday October 27th, 2012 Pat Harbour was the honored guest at a book signing and charity fundraiser for the Harrison Museum of African American culture and the Que House in her hometown of Roanoke Virginia. Pat spoke to a group of over 100 civic leaders and educators and friends attending the event and then signed copies of her new book, Community Educators: A Resource for Educating and Developing Our Youth. The evenings program was moderated by City Councilwoman Anita Price and was attended by Mayor David Bower, an advocate for meaningful engagement of citizens in education.
In her remarks Pat talked about the role of the Kettering Foundation explaining that Community Educators explored the question: what does it take to make democracy work “in education." Pat talked about how for her the book did not come alive until she brought her own personal story about Roanoke into her writing. She also went on to tell the success story of Albion, Michigan, where the community came together to educate its young. She was quick to caution that the book does not attempt to offer a model for success like that which Albion experienced, nor does it suggest we should raise any model to scale. Pat explained that the book, in fact, asks more questions than it answers, because the answers to the questions lie with the citizens and within the unique communities where they reside and whether and how they choose to engage. She drew the greatest response from the audience with this: “We always say, somebody’s got a do it. Well if you just look in the mirror you will see that “somebody.”
In addition to interacting with Pat, this group of engaged Roanoke citizens was also introduced to the Kettering Foundation, our work with community educators and our overall work with communities across the country. The evening was a wonderful success for Pat, for Kettering and for the people of Roanoke who supported and attended this event.