Tulane VISTA Blog

Fighting Poverty with Passion

Rare Albino Salamander Skin


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)

  1. Not all children and youth have access to a primary care and/or behavioral health providers.
  2. Not all children and youth have consistent access to healthy, nutritious food.
  3. Not all youth and families have access to sexual and reproductive health education and services.
  4. Not all children and youth are free from acute or chronic trauma.

ECONOMIC STABILITY (sustainable careers and quality of life)

  1. Not all children and youth have the foundational and critical thinking skills needed to succeed in postsecondary education and the workforce.
  2. Not all children and youth have access to diverse high-quality postsecondary opportunities.
  3. Not all children and youth are exposed and connected to career pathways.

LEARNING (Cognitive, vocational, and social-emotional)

  1. Not all children and youth have access to high quality early care and education programs.
  2. Not all children and youth have learning opportunities that include arts, enrichment, culture, and social emotional learning.
  3. Not all children and youth are prepared to successfully transition between developmental stages.
  4. Not all schools are able to intervene quickly when children exhibit behaviors (chronic absence, truancy, behavioral incidents, etc.) that are predictors of negative academic outcomes.
  5. Not all children and youth receive fair disciplinary treatment in schools.

SPACE AND PLACE (Physical environment)

  1. Not all children and youth have access to safe spaces in which to play and exercise.
  2. Not all children and youth have safe, stable housing.
  3. Not all neighborhoods have adequate transportation options for youth to get to work, after-school activities and school.

SAFETY AND JUSTICE (Protection and fair treatment)

  1. Not all children and youth are safe from direct and indirect forms of violence.
  2. Not all children and youth are safe from abuse and neglect.
  3. Not all children and youth are free from the impacts that over incarceration have on family stability, economic opportunity, and the safety nets that support children.
  4. Not all children and youth are treated fairly and with respect by the justice system.

YOUTH VOICE (Empowerment and opportunity to participate)

  1. Not all children and youth are actively engaged and empowered to participate in decision making processes that affect them.
  2. Not all children and youth are adequately supported to have a voice and be actively and equitably engaged.
  3. Not all young people have opportunities to apply leadership skills in a positive way.

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.



About januzzinews760

Born and raised in San Diego County, my passions are baseball and youth civic agency.


This entry was posted on January 21, 2015 by in VISTA Field Reports.



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