Seeking Answers and Inspiration at the Working Families Summit

These two participants are taking something home.

Posted: 06/23/2014 07:17 PM EDT

Tasha Prosper on the left, Rachel Walton on the right (Photo: Joyce Jones/BET)

Tasha Prosper is earning a doctorate degree in counseling psychology from Columbia University's Teachers College. She attended the White House Summit on Working Families as a representative of student activists. Prosper also wanted to support President Obama's efforts to include issues from working class families in his administration's agenda. Her dissertation is currently her only child, but she is troubled by what she sees as less and less access to childcare for single and working parents seeking advanced degrees in the New York university system.

Prosper told BET.com that hearing from so many powerful women at the summit was inspiring.

"It was amazing talking with them about integrity and not giving up and stretching yourself as a woman to take leadership positions even in the face of being told it's not for you," she said. "You have to assess the situation and keep going forward. There are so many women here who are so powerful, it was like maybe I can do it, too."

Rachel Walton works with youth offenders, ages 12-18, as a case manager for the district attorney's office in Queens, New York. Most of her clients, all repeat offenders, come from middle-class, home-owning families. Because they're not getting enough attention from their hard-working parents at home, they find other ways to get it.

"I feel like I am a care provider for these young men, so I wanted to be able to lend my voice and also hear some of the solutions to the issues we face on a day-to-day basis with some of these families," Walton said.

It was good to hear discussions about flexible work schedules that will enable parents to spend time with their children.

"I grew up having family time. Nowadays, a lot of my parents are so busy, they're not going to parent-teacher conferences; I am," she said. "Having the option for a day off and stronger benefits will help create a stronger nation because families are really falling apart."

Follow Joyce Jones on Twitter: @BETpolitichick.

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