Fighting Poverty with Passion
January is when everyone starts their gym routines, downloads the newest dieting app, and buys their new rare albino salamander skin hardcover journal. Grand plans and ambitious goals, we hope this year will be different. (I’m guilty too. I’d like to learn to cook 7 new meals and read 52 books – I’m already 7 books in!). Yet, nothing happens over night and change only comes with consistent habits and having others hold us accountable to our goals. An example of this is the Children and Youth Planning Board.
Last Tuesday the Children and Youth Planning Board (CYPB) held their monthly meeting. The topic of conversation was the relationship between the YouthShift project – A community based effort to develop a master plan for children and youth in New Orleans- and the CYPB 2015 priorities. The next phase in the collaboration between the two, solution mapping, is my primary job over the next two months.
YouthShift was finalized late last year. The document has 6 priority areas and 22 local conditions.
HEALTH AND WELLBEING (Physical, behavioral, and social health)
ECONOMIC STABILITY (sustainable careers and quality of life)
LEARNING (Cognitive, vocational, and social-emotional)
SPACE AND PLACE (Physical environment)
SAFETY AND JUSTICE (Protection and fair treatment)
YOUTH VOICE (Empowerment and opportunity to participate)
Solution mapping is about cataloging what youth programs and services exist throughout the city and how they fit into the YouthShift framework. For example, the Youth Empowerment Project’s Community Reintegration Program addresses the Health and Wellbeing, Safety and Justice, and Youth Voice priority areas as well as six local conditions. After cataloging 100 other programs we will be able to tell which organizations address similar priority areas and local conditions. We will also know how many are served, where service happens, how success is measured, etc. These insights can begin aligning organizations’ actions. The next two months will be about holding 1:1 meetings, small workshops, and speaking over the phone with organizations to assist them in defining their programs in this new way.
The insights and data we will draw from solutions mapping are profound. I would love to share more but that will have to wait until next month.