A note about the work I have been doing for the last several weeks:
C. E., I am so pleased that you asked me once again to be an exceptional reader for your grant evaluation process. I enjoyed this experience and learning all about the volunteer work on behalf of children in our state. Thank you for taking the time to remember me and asking for my analysis. I felt like a detective searching for hope and successful outcomes on behalf of children.
It does my heart good to think of all the volunteers who put in endless hours promoting the welfare of our children. It is exciting to think that we know why the teen birth rates, trauma rates, gang violence, and dropout rates are falling. We need to sing the praises of the entire network efforts, all the council’s efforts, and our legislature’s foresight in creating these grants.
This year as I approached the process I discovered a new sadness, that the funding had been reduced and will be diminished once again and that so many good efforts, programs, and outcomes might not be possible. Then I read the reports a second time and when I had put my sorrow on the shelf I began to see all the love and energy that still would be initiated and followed through on by these wonderful networks of volunteers. Several of the reports were so full of love and positive energy; one knew they would still succeed in producing positive outcomes for their children. Many of the networks have learned how to leverage their funding, train new volunteers and leaders, and bring out the best in their communities.
One of the reports made me so sad and angry it took me several days to complete it. After I stopped wanting to punish those people, I was able to see that some children did benefit from their programs. I could complete the process only by letting go of my hope for the children in need. I also think that networks need more skill in dealing with groups which create brick walls. I was delighted when L. P. from your board shared with me that the specific network I was concerned about was busy learning new strategies and detours in dealing with their stop signs. Oh how lucky we are to be able to learn new paths and directions — flexible in our experience and endeavors.
Re-localization is such a powerful tool .These boards, these networks, these volunteers make me feel so proud of my state and all the hopes and dreams for our children — may they come true.
My favorite quotes:
“This is a community that really steps up to challenges and comes together… we are very creative in solving problems.”
“We are looking beyond the indicators to the causes.”
“While such confidence is a strength, it also leaves us vulnerable to reality, particularly to the manner in which problem behaviors are exacerbated by economics stressors.”
“We are a story telling people, — we collaborate and don’t compete — that’s one of our core values.”
“This community ’hit its stride’ and stepped up to the commitment.”
“Developing young people who care about communities because they know those communities need them and care about them is a prerequisite of a sustainable healthy community.”
“This community has not had a high school dropout in 10 years.”
As I travel this state and see some of the results of all these efforts I smile, because I know at that particular school there are dozens of parents signing up for parenting classes and coming back for more, that this senior health/daycare clinic is staffed by teens who truly care, that youth in this region want to help their peers stay in school and break the alcohol cycle and that the reduction of violent youth crime is happening because of early invention and new successful options from the juvenile justice system.
The FP council for the state deserves a huge round of applause. I honor the work and energies that you produce and recognize how difficult it is to address the needs of 38 network groups and their diverse problem-solving communities; building tools and resources that they need. With such grace and fortitude, you greet each challenge that comes your way and with great finesse you are witness to incredible outcomes on behalf of our children. Thank you for your hard work. Thank you for so many successes.
Do you know how your community is volunteering? Are schools being empowered to meet the needs of this century for your youth? Who offers oversight and tools of learning? What are the strategies that work in your community?