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Editorial: ABQ efforts get a good rap

Sometimes it’s hard to keep a good idea under wraps.

In the case of Albuquerque’s homegrown Homework Diner, the word of its success has spread far and wide.

Educators from across the nation in town for the Coalition for Community Schools National Forum got an up close and personal look at the unique program that brings students, parents, teachers, volunteer tutors and culinary students to the same table to help kids with homework and to enjoy a weekly evening meal. Homework Diner is an example of how schools can serve as hubs for their communities. The innovative program began at Manzano Mesa Elementary and has been emulated in several other schools in the city, and in other states.

It was launched in the spring of 2012 with the support of the Rio Grande Community Development Corp., the ABC (Albuquerque/Bernalillo County) Community School Partnership and Central New Mexico Community College, whose culinary students prepare the meals. Roadrunner Food Bank donates food and several business partners also support the program.

Albuquerque has had its share of bad publicity, but it also has become known nationally for innovative initiatives, such as Heading Home, which gets homeless people off streets and into their own apartments; There’s a Better Way, which lures panhandlers off street corners by offering to pay them for cleaning up the community; and Running Start for Careers, a public/private partnership that gives high-school students access to industry expertise.

And that is a good reputation to have.

This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.