OCTOBER 23, 1943
HYDE PARK, Friday —Yesterday morning, I left my New York City apartment fairly early and went up to the colored orphan asylum in Riverdale, with some members of the board and interested friends. The school is run by the New York City school system, and it seems to me they are doing a very good job in adapting the regular curriculum to the needs of the children.
These children come, in great part, from broken homes where they have not always had every opportunity for health and proper medical care. There are far more boys than girls. They live in cottages grouped in a circle separated from the administration building which houses the school and infirmary and has an auditorium on the third floor.
The view of the Hudson River and the Palisades is very beautiful and must have a beneficial effect on these poor, frightened youngsters who find themselves in such beautiful surroundings. The children had worked and earned money to buy a War Bond, the third one I believe, and it was presented to one of the masters in my presence.
One little girl gave me a poem which she had written about the President. When I admired a painting done by one of the boys, he promptly gave it to me with characteristic generosity of children. They all sang James Weldon Johnson's beautiful song, which I always love to hear.
The board of managers of this institution not only cares for the children here at the Riverdale home, but places many more children in foster homes. This, of course, is in many ways a much more satisfactory existence for them, expecially for the little children, since they get more personal attention than even a good institution can ordinarily provide.
From October 25th through the 31st, has been designated as "Better Parenthood Week," and during this time, with the support of the U. S. Children's Bureau, many civic organizations, parent teacher associations, parent education and welfare groups, will work together to canvass the child care needs and decide on the methods of meeting these needs as adequately as possible in this country.
At the present time, work for our children is particularly important because of the rise in juvenile delinquency. One of the aims of Better Parenthood Week in 1943 is to: "Lend active support to all efforts in behalf of maternal and child health, improved nutrition, better schools and vocational training, friendlier relations between different origins and beliefs." If the above can be accomplished, we shall have gone far to solve many of the community problems throughout our nation.