There are so many awesome organizations within Marion County. Often times organizations work separately (or in silos) to achieve communal goals, however, as the old proverb says “it takes a village to raise a child”. This analogy holds true to youth serving organizations as well. In only my second month as a VISTA I have seen and experienced so much that speaks directly to this topic. I have had the pleasure of learning about and working with a wide variety of organizations throughout Indianapolis.
Last week I attended a “Call to Action” meeting held by Regina Marsh of Forest Manor. The purpose of this meeting was to address the escalating violence within the communities of Marion County. Not only was the intention to address the issue in and of itself but to draft feasible solutions to the outbreak of violence Marion County is currently experiencing. The ultimate goal of the call to action committee is to become proactive in these matters as opposed to reactive once they have already happened. Ms. Marsh reached out to a variety of individuals and organizations alike that serve youth to some capacity. There were representatives from the Chief of Police to clergymen, and everyone in-between dispersed throughout the space of this meeting. Although we were broken up into groups based on what our organization could best contribute to the call to action plan, an overarching concern every group brought to the table was a lack of unison among youth serving individuals and organizations.
For me this raised many questions as to how effective organizations could be in conjunction with other organizations as partners. Granted, this not a new idea. Nor is it something every organization has not discussed at some point or another is a staff meeting, with a co worker or even in their personal time. Organizations working together must to go beyond the helm of co-sponsoring events and tapping into one another for resources. In order for any substantial change to occur there has to be a collective sense of community among organizations.
In my opinion call to action was one step in a good direction. No, one meeting will not change the climate between organizations nor will it fix the issues youth are facing regarding violence. However, it does create an open table atmosphere for community leaders of varying capacity to come together and discuss who’s doing what, who needs what and who has what. Building more effective relationships among organizations and the constituents of those organizations begins with solid communication. MCCOY publishes a Youth Activity Directoryevery year where the majority of youth serving organizations are listed to some capacity. I urge organizations to utilize the Youth Activity Directory, and direct youth where they can get either the help they need or opportunity they are looking.
|“Never confuse movement with action”- Ernest Hemingway|