Betty Mallott is a member of the Memphis City Schools Board of Commissioners:

All of Memphis will be tested in these coming lean years.

Scarcity of resources will force us to reevaluate and change. Individuals, families and organizations must do more with less. We will be forced to reconstruct our habits and our institutions. Hopefully we will do so in a way that ensures a better future for the generations to come after us. For the children of Memphis, the future is in our hands.

As we plan for 2009 and 2010, I urge all citizens to train your sight on a vision for the future of the children of Memphis. We have to think more long term and less about today. We have to plan more for the future of our children

They are counting on all of us.

Providing for the future means taking better care of all our children. We must support and nurture every child, especially those whose parents do not have the resources to do so. We must be intentional and proactive about their health and safety. We must be deliberate and strategic in preparing them for the future world in which they will live, a world that will demand more training and education than ever before. Every child will need skills in reading, math, and science that will open doors to future job opportunities.

We must instill in all children a mindset that equips them for life long learning. The world is changing rapidly and our children will be faced with conditions that we cannot predict. We can prepare them to meet these challenges. We can encourage them to always work hard to achieve; to continue to acquire new skills and knowledge; to turn mistakes into valuable lessons; and to become resilient and resolute when facing obstacles and setbacks.

We need the commitment of all adults in this community to work toward a better future for the children. I encourage everyone to make 2009 the year that you personally commit to making a difference for the children of Memphis.

Their future is in your hands.