PHOTO: Grand Prize winner Pranavi Gollamudi is from Marlboro Memorial Middle School.
Students recognized for promoting awareness of fair housing
EATONTOWN, NJ – The Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders presented awards to 25 fourth grade students who have created awareness about fair housing and the elimination of housing discrimination at the County’s 27th annual Fair Housing Poster Contest luncheon on Sunday.
Freeholder Director Thomas A. Arnone presented an award to grand prize winner Pranavi Gollamudi, from Marlboro Memorial Middle School; Freeholder Deputy Director Serena DiMaso acknowledged students from St. Catharine School in Spring Lake and Marlboro Memorial Middle School; and Freeholder John Curley recognized students from St. Rose of Lima School in Freehold. A special recognition certificate was presented to Matthew Dovedytis, a student volunteer from South River High School, who generously donated his time helping students and teachers.
“The artwork is outstanding and shows the talents of students at a young age,” said Arnone. “The teachers at all schools who make fair housing a part of their curriculum are to be commended for making an important subject part of education. All the winners should be congratulated, not only for their artistic ability, but for learning issues which make fair housing a topic which is often overlooked.”
The theme for this year’s poster contest was “Shared Opportunity in Every Community.” Each year, the County’s Fair Housing Board publishes a calendar with the winning drawings.
Since 1969, the month of April has been designated as National Fair Housing Month throughout our nation, and during that time the Monmouth County Fair Housing Board has provided community education of fair housing issues, and encouraged activities that address fair housing rights.
“For more than 40 years, Monmouth County has been committed to ensure there are fair housing choices for our residents,” said Freeholder Deputy Director Serena DiMaso who also serves on the County Planning Board. “The Fair Housing Office and Housing and Urban Development have worked tirelessly to eliminate discrimination in housing based on race, color, national origin, religion or disability. It is gratifying to see these young artists show an understanding of this important issue.”
The Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders created the Fair Housing Board and charged it with the responsibility of making policy recommendations to the Freeholder Board. The Fair Housing Board encourages equal housing opportunities and providing assistance, support and information to anyone pursuing the rights allowed by law related to fair housing.
“The students’ have demonstrated their understanding of a topic that is a concern for counties, New Jersey and the country,” said Curley. “Education is best demonstrated when students understand the factors of an important subject. The ability to communicate them through art, in verbal or written form is part of education. All mediums afford the opportunity to express thoughts that challenge people to take an in-depth look and not scratch the surface.”
The Federal Fair Housing Act governs housing discrimination and includes seven protected classes: race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability and familial status. New Jersey is one of several states that also include sexual orientation as a protected class.
The County’s Fair Housing Office is part of the Monmouth County Division of Planning that works to educate residents about diversity and eradicate discrimination in housing.
The Monmouth County Fair Housing Board’s meetings are held from January through October on the third Thursday at 2 p.m. in the Hall of Records Annex, 2nd floor Planning Board Conference Room. Public participation is welcome.