From Networking to Coordination and Collaboration

 How often do we attend networking events, with the hopes of making that one connection that will skyrocket our careers or events into a place of success? How often do we capitalize on the opportunities and connections that we make at networking events or have networking events simply become  platforms for us to brag about our professional accomplishments? Networking is defined as a supportive system of sharing information and services amongst individuals and groups that have common interests,  in hopes of creating some sort of collaborative effort that will benefit all individuals involved. However, according to Einbender, Robertson, Garcia, Vuskovic, & Patti (2000) ” a dominate perspective on human behavior suggests that individuals( and by extension their organizations) are inclined to pursue their own self interests and thus are more prone to compete rather than to collaborate.” So organizationaly how do nonprofits move beyond networking, to coordinating efforts and collaborating on new projects as opposed to duplicating efforts? I leave this as an open ended blog for us to discuss.

I look forward to your comments!

References

Einbender, S.D., Robertson, P.J.,Garcia, A.,Vuskovic, G., & Patti R.J., (2000) Interorganizational collaboration in social service organizations: A study of the prerequisites for success. Journal of Children & Poverty, 6 (2), 119-140.

Accessible and Accurate Resources

Back in February MCCOY’s EIP team hosted a very successful community roundtable to begin to the lay the foundation for the creation of the EIP strategic plan. The plan, Early Intervention and Prevention: Building a Foundation for Family and Community Success, was launched in June of 2010. During the community roundtable a group of community stakeholders in attendance, including school personnel, students, front-line staff, health educators, and many others, focused on the following topics:
• Discuss the concept of a well‐functioning, coordinated early intervention system that promotes efficiency and avoids duplication.
• What ideal purpose or benefit does a well‐functioning, coordinated and efficient early intervention system provide a community?
• What are the strengths and weaknesses of the current early intervention system in Marion County? Is the current system coordinated, efficient and non‐duplicative?

Here is some of what was said:
• Our target population is going to self‐identify only when they’re in the crisis. We need to figure out how to access these folks with services before they’re in the crisis situation.
• We need a one‐stop shop. Shouldn’t make this so difficult for a parent trying to find help.
• Have you ever called for help, and you get the receptionist and you get passed down the line to many different people until you get to the last one and you never get any help at all? We need to make sure if we’re sending people to certain agencies that there is help, the need is met at the end of the line.
• We need to work together to solve this problem.
• 2‐1‐1 doesn’t list all the agencies. I don’t have any resources for other nonprofits where I could refer my own clients.
• We need to clarify what EIP services are; we need to understand who else is out there and what everyone else is doing. We need a clearinghouse.
• I think one of the reasons it doesn’t come together is because we’re all competing for the same funding. If there were some way we could all apply for funding together… lead organization with partner organizations that provide services.
• We need a big, master list.
• How do we get the services to our target population that may not have access to the internet?
• How can we get to the folks who are unaware about the possibilities and the choices available?
• Partnership and collaboration are the main themes
• How can we equip all providers with a centralized, comprehensive repository of information?
• A Database with centralized information to make sure we don’t duplicate. What you find in 2‐1‐1 you might not find in the EASY book. We need a comprehensive database.

The second edition of “We Can Do Better- Child Abuse Deaths in America,” released in 2010 tells a grim story about the 1,740 children who died as a result of abuse or neglect in our nation in 2008. It talks about the harsh reality that current child protection systems, charged with taking the lead on protecting our children, are stretched too thin as a harsh economy has resulted in many states slashing child protection spending at unprecedented rates, thus, putting more children at risk.

The EIP Initiative aims to change these grim facts for Marion County’s children by focusing efforts on preventing child abuse and neglect and placing responsibility for protecting children on ALL adults, particularly those who serve youth and families and have the opportunity to prevent and/or intervene early.

Folks in attendance at the EIP Community Roundtable made it clear that having resources that are accessible to both families and service providers is essential to protecting children from harm in our community. To that end, the EIP strategic plan includes a strategy, Strategy #3: Accessible, Accurate Resources, focused on integrating current systems that provide valuable information and resources to families and referring agencies. The implementation steps for the strategy are:
• Form a task force to lead the project.
• Convene local funders and database providers to discuss concerns shared during the community assessment process and determine appropriate next steps.
• Identify funding streams to assist in the capacity building of an integrated system.
• Develop a comprehensive plan resulting in the coordination of currently existing databases to ensure that the most comprehensive information is accessible.
• Promote the usage of the resource database to professionals, service organizations and to the community at-large.

Additionally, MCCOY’s EIP staff continues to gather information regarding current assets and gaps in availability and accessibility for early intervention and prevention services for children and families in Marion County. To let us know what you think, please take 5-10 minutes to complete a brief survey by clicking on the following link:
http://www.survey.constantcontact.com/survey/a07e30sfei0gdxfqp95/start(if you are a youth serving professional) or
http://www.survey.constantcontact.com/survey/a07e317lpecgebrpjq8/start (if you are a community member not providing direct services to youth.).

To learn more about the EIP Initiative or to get involved in implementation of the EIP Strategic Plan, please contact Shanna Malott at 317-921-1233 or [email protected]

Developing the next generation of “experts”

I recently began reading a book called Fires in the Mind. Kathleen Cushman, the author, posed this question to a diverse group of young people: “What does it take for young people to get really good at something?” What does it take for young people to become experts in some area of life?
New evidence is emerging which seems to indicate that while talent is important, opportunity and practice have far more to do with performing at a high level than having a natural skill. And the young people interviewed for this book point out another critical factor to success: relationships. Even when young people have the chance to participate in new activities and the opportunity to practice those activities over and over, what really kept them striving for excellence was the encouragement of caring adults who helped them overcome the barriers, failures, and disappointments that come along in the process of developing expertise.
What hit me as I was reading the book is that those ingredients for doing well—opportunity, practice, and relationships—are precisely the ingredients of a high quality youth development program. Youth programs are a place where young people are exposed to new experiences; are given the opportunity to take on new challenges and risks in a supportive environment; and are surrounded by caring adults who encourage and believe in them. Establishing such an environment should be what every youth development program in our community strives to do.
MCCOY is working hard to help youth agencies increase the quality of their programs by bringing the Youth Program Quality Assessment/Improvement process to our community. The YPQA/I process gives agencies a tool both to measure the quality of their program offerings and guidance on how to increase that quality over time by building on the strengths that the assessment process discovers. Our Youth Worker Learning Network offers training and networking opportunities on a monthly basis to help individual workers build on the passion they bring to serving youth by increasing their knowledge, skills, and competencies. Visit our website at www.mccoyouth.org for more details on both these initiatives.
Young people in our community deserve the highest quality programs staffed by the most well-trained youth development professionals. If we all work together to bring that about, we won’t have any shortage of experts in the future.

New Indiana State Mandate Requires all Students to be up to date on Immunizations

To attend school, Indiana students are required to be up to date on their immunization shots, or have a medical exemption, written objection from the parents on religious grounds or have evidence of immunity. Because of the new state requirement, students entering preschool or kindergarten must have two varicella vaccines and all students in grade 6 through 12 must have three vaccines this year: TDAP, meningococcal and a second dose of the chicken pox.

Many of the students in Marion County are not currently up to date on their immunization shots and may not be permitted to attend school until they are. According, to a recent FOX 59 news article, IPS to exclude student without shots starting Tuesday, there are currently 5,000 high school students that are currently not up to date on their immunizations, and could be disqualified from attending school this Tuesday, September 21st. This number is nearly one-eighth of the district’s students that need to be immunized or be banned from attending school, which is not including an estimation of 10—15 percent of elementary students that may not be up-to-date on their immunizations.

Lack of immunizations could cause massive outbreaks, such as the chicken pox rash that occurred in the Zionsville Community School Corporation or other preventable diseases and infections to circulate quickly throughout the school community. In order to ensure that students have access to immunizations, the Marion County Health Department is offering many free immunization clinics around the city this weekend and next week.

According to a Press Release from the Marion County Health Department, “Because of the demand for school-related immunizations, the health department is expecting large turnout and those coming should be prepared to wait in long lines.

Immunization Clinics

What: Free Back to School Immunization Clinic
When: Saturday, September 18
Where: Perry Township Education Center Building Gymnaisum (6548 Orinoco Avenue)
Time: 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
*Parent or guardian must be present. If you plan to bring your child, please bring their current record of immunizations.

What: Marion County Health Department Immunization Clinic
When: Monday, Sept. 20 – Friday, Sept. 24
Where: Lafayette Square Shopping Center (3919 Lafayette Road)
*Immunization shots will be on a first-come, first-serve basis, and will cost $10 administrative per person. Parent or guardian must accompany the child at the clinic and must have current immunization record on hand.

What are your thoughts on school districts banning students from attending school, if they are not up to date on their immunizations? Let us know your thoughts by replying to this article.

For a complete listing of the Marion County Health Department’s Immunization Schedule, visit: http://www.mccoyouth.org/MCCOY/UserFiles/clinic_schedule.pdf

For more information on the state mandate, visit: http://www.in.gov/isdh/17094.htm.

Speak up for Children and Youth in our Community

As a society, we are now busier than ever. Most of us are committed to having a successful and positive family/career life balance, which means starting our day off before the sun comes up, and ending it after the sun has set. All this is wonderful, except most of us do not have as much energy and time as we would like to volunteer for our favorite non-profits.

What a lot of people do not realize is that non-profits don’t just need your time or money to survive, they need your voice. Your voice is a very influential instrument when it comes to advocating for needs and standing up for people or causes that do not have a voice.

MCCOY needs your help in advocating for youth and youth issues around our state. MCCOY is currently focusing our advocacy efforts on Early Intervention & Prevention, Drop-out Prevention, youth violence, education and safety issues, as well as youth-worker resources. Sign-up to receive our monthly eNewsletter The Real MCCOY to hear updates on how you can lend your voice and support to these issues.

There are several other non-profits that advocate for youth issues in our state. Many of these organizations belong to the Children’s Coalition of Indiana (CCI). Every February, CCI hosts Children our Best Investment – an all-day event geared towards youth and adults working with youth to learn how they can reach out to their local legislators and help to positively influence their votes on youth issues. If you would like to be a part of the planning committee for COBI, please send Stephanie an email.

Remember – you have something very important to offer to our community. Stand up and be heard!

Op ed: Child Sexual Abuse… the Silent Epidemic in Our Community

By Shanna Malott

Child sexual abuse is an issue that plagues the lives of 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys before their 18th birthday. Think about the number of children in your child’s classroom, the number of children that attend your church, the number of children involved in your child’s extra-curricular activities and how many of those children may be silently bearing the burden of child sexual abuse. Unfortunately, we continue to live in a society where child sexual abuse is a subject that is not talked about and as a result many children keep the abuse a secret, or if they do tell they aren’t believed.

Do you know the facts of child sexual abuse?
• 30-40% of children are abused by family members
• As many as 60% are abused by people the family trusts
• Nearly 40% are abused by older or larger children
• Approximately 40% of sex offenders report being sexually abused as children
• 70% of sex offenders have between 1 and 9 child victims; 20-25% have 10 to 40 victims; and serial molesters may have as many as 400 victims in their lifetime

The impact of child sexual abuse takes an emotional toll on victims, way beyond anything that most of us, who have not experienced sexual abuse, can imagine. Victims of child sexual abuse are more likely to become teenage parents, to engage in prostitution, to develop eating disorders, and to use substances to help numb the pain and memories.

The impact is costly, not just emotionally for the victim, but financially for society as well. The impact of child sexual abuse impacts us all, whether we are directly connected to the abuse or not:

• In Indiana, the direct and immediate costs of child sexual abuse are nearly $48 million dollars annually.
• Except for murder, child sexual abuse is the most expensive victim crime in the US.
• The immediate and tangible costs of intervention and treatment for a single incident of substantiated child sexual abuse are $14,345.
• In Indiana, the direct and immediate costs of child sexual abuse are nearly $48 million dollars annually.

Is preventing and reducing child sexual abuse worth investing in? The answer is yes. It only costs $10.53 to train an adult to improve their child-protective behaviors. Research suggests that the average trained adult will better protect at least 10 children from sexual abuse in the year after training. The money saved by preventing just one substantiated case of child sexual abuse would pay for prevention training for 1,362 adults; resulting in 13,620 children better protected from abuse.

The Marion County Commission on Youth (MCCOY) feels that an educated and vigilant adult community is the best resistance against child sexual abuse. Through the Stewards of Children training program, a revolutionary sexual abuse prevention program that educates adults to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse and motivates them to take courageous action, MCCOY will train organizations and businesses that serve, impact or come into contact with children and youth.

Protection requires action and MCCOY, Prevent Child Abuse, Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital and other partners are providing ways that you can act:

• Attend the Prevent NOW! Meeting on Sept. 27 from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. at United Way, Room D
• Recruit other groups to attend the Stewards of Children training
• Make a financial contribution to sponsor the cost of the training materials ($10 per person)
• Hand out the 7 Steps to Protecting Children booklets to someone you know

To learn more about the Prevent NOW! Meeting, Stewards of Children training program and how you can take action to end child sexual abuse, visit www.mccoyouth.org, or contact Shanna Malott at [email protected] or 317-921-1233.

Art of Youth

“The Art of Youth” event is dedicated to increasing and sustaining the supports and opportunities that influence young people throughout their developmental process. On September 24th at the Indianapolis Art Center, MCCOY will hold its annual fundraiser. The evening will feature dinner by The Chef’s Academy, live entertainment and a silent auction. The event will allow youth to showcase their artistic talents in various forms throughout the evening, demonstrating how art is a fulfilling, positive part of their lives. In addition the event will raise awareness about MCCOY’s role in championing the positive development of youth by providing leadership on key issues and supporting the youth worker community.

Some of the items to be auctioned off: photography packages, original artwork by local artists, wine baskets, gift cards, fitness packages, sport items from the Pacers, Indians, Fever, and Colts.

We would like to thank our sponsors:
The Chef’s Academy, Creative, Rogers Marketing & Printing, White Owl Winery, State Farm, Huntington Bank, Children’s Bureau, Quality Interiors, Ice Miller, National Bank of Indiana, McCrosson & Associates, Girls Inc., Baker & Daniels, AYS, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Quinn Clark, Gauthier Kimmerling, ADESA, Indigo Real Estate Services, Volunteers of America, Apparatus, Sponsel & Company, National Youth Advocate, and Lilly Endowment.

Improving Student Success in Marion County

Since the beginning of this school year many changes have been made, or proposed to be made, in order to help improve the graduation rate and student performance. Dr. Tony Bennett, Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction, delivered the first State of Education address outlining his thoughts and plans to improve Indiana’s education system by evaluating teachers and administrators based on the performance of their students. Research shows that the top two factors for student success are a high quality teacher and attendance, so it’s important that both of these issues rise to the top of our priority list.

Dr. Eugene White, Superintendent of Indianapolis Public Schools, proposes that one of the best ways to address student absences and/or tardiness is to contact Child Protective Services to report the parents for educational neglect. This may be a scare tactic, but is it really going to lead to increased attendance? White was quoted as saying, “If we report it, then that puts the ball in their court.” What responsibility are the schools taking for lack of student attendance? What efforts are being made to engage parents to find out why students are late or tardy before CPS is contacted? Weekly reports on attendance are being made available to parents online. Have all parents been made aware of this resource and how they should respond if they discover their child is chronically absent or tardy? And what about those parents who don’t have easy access to the internet?

In the same article where Dr. White talks about contacting CPS, Northwest High School is highlighted for the efforts they have made to maintain an attendance rate of approximately 97% for several years. They have accomplished this by implementing weekly in-school court to handle tardiness cases, hall sweeps to ensure students are in class, and providing an environment to make students feel safe and cared for. Why are these strategies not being implemented throughout other IPS schools?

The Marion County Commission on Youth (MCCOY) is heading up two initiatives—Early Intervention and Prevention (EIP) Initiative and Drop-out Prevention/Student Success—focused on improving outcomes for children, including reducing and preventing child abuse, neglect and delinquency, and increasing student success and graduation rates. The work of both of these initiatives has focused on identifying best practices, highlighting assets in our community, and noting the things that are proving to be effective in our school systems.

There are many youth serving organizations in Marion County that are able and willing to partner with school systems to focus on attendance and other behavioral issues. For example, Reach for Youth collaborated with a middle school last year to operate a Teen Court program on-site monthly to address behavioral issues that would have typically resulted in suspension. Using Teen Court as an alternative to suspension yielded outstanding results. Throughout the school year 19 youth were served and the school reported that 17 of the students completed all consequences and had no further school behavioral problems and in most cases academic performance improved. Parents and youth participants indicated over 90% satisfaction with the program on the post-evaluation survey. In fact, the program was so successful that officials from the middle school have asked Reach for Youth to increase programming in the 2010-2011 school year to serve 54 students. Are other schools interested in having this model replicated in their school?

The Early Intervention and Prevention (EIP) Initiative has been working with a group of school representatives since January 2010. The school representatives have provided the EIP staff with invaluable insights into the positives, strengths, and challenges faced by the school systems. They have highlighted best practice models, as well as discussed practices they would like to see implemented that would ultimately impact their students positively. A three-year strategic plan has been developed including a strategy and task force specifically recognizing the very important role school teachers, administrators, and staff play in keeping kids safe, engaged, healthy, happy and successful.

Terry Spradlin from the IU’s Center for Evaluation & Education Policy has put forth several recommendations from an April 2010 report on truancy from the Finn Institute for Public Safety:
• consistent attendance policies, known to all students, parents, staff and community agencies;
• a continuum of prevention and intervention services;
• meaningful parental involvement;
• data-driven decision making;
• quasi-judicial proceedings; and
• public awareness campaigns

Between the EIP Initiative and the Student Success Team, MCCOY is making efforts to ensure that all of the above is implemented throughout all of the school systems in Marion County.

To learn more or join in MCCOY’s efforts please contact Shanna Malott, Early Intervention Community Coordinator @ [email protected]

Congratulations to the 2010 Excellence in Summer Service Award Winners!

This evening at 6 p.m. at Laurel Hall, MCCOY and the partners of the Summer Youth Program Fund will honor 23 local young people with the Excellence in Summer Service Education Award (ESSA).

Craig MacFarlane, Founder of the 20/20 Inner Vision Foundation, will be the keynote speaker at the ceremony honoring the work, commitment and service young people provide our community as full-time staff or volunteers in Marion County summer youth programs. The mission of 20/20 Inner Vision Foundation is to increase high school graduation rates and create positive employment futures by instilling a sense of pride and dignity in the youth of America. MacFarlane, a victim of a tragic accident that left him totally blind at the age of 2, is a superstar in the hearts and minds of anyone who has watched him take on of life’s greatest blows and turn that into a tower of inspiration for the world to see. He founded 20/20 Inner Vision Foundation to inspire a sense of value for high school completion as well as to motivate young people to have a high degree of self worth.

Summer programs are essential to decreasing the learning loss that occurs when students take time off from studies, as well as helps to keep youth engaged and busy with positive activities. The young people that work in these summer programs work hard to ensure that their programs are of the highest quality and hold a constructive role in the summer schedule of youth. Whether our award winners are working as camp counselors, program manager, lifeguards or educational staff, they serve a very important role for their organizations and to their peers and the youth they serve.

“At a time when young people are often criticized for being concerned only about themselves, the Summer Youth Program Fund partners and MCCOY are pleased to recognize and honor these 23 young women and men who have given so much of themselves to our community and its young people. Through their efforts, literally thousands of young people in neighborhoods across our city had the chance to participate in summer programs that taught them new skills, gave them new experiences, and exposed them to new opportunities. Most of all, what these exemplary Summer Service Award winners showed the students that they worked with is that somebody cares about them and is interested in their growth, well-being and future success.” said John Brandon, MCCOY President.

Elizabeth Gore, President of the Indianapolis Public School Board and retired US Airways Reservation Supervisor, served on the Excellence in Summer Service Award Selection Committee for the second year in a row. Gore says, “I enjoyed reading about the experiences these young people had during their summer work and volunteer time, and how their interactions with other young people and the staff members of their organization made a true difference in their lives.”

Gore along with seven other community leaders served on the ESSA Selection Committee. The committee, led by Anne Hudson of Good Seeds Consulting, met after the application deadline, to read through the applications and select the 23 winners. The committee shared a tremendous responsibility of choosing from such a high caliber of applicants.

Award winner Jessica Wolfe, a senior at Butler University and captain the of Bulldogs volleyball team had an inspiring summer working with the young women from Girls Inc. of Greater Indianapolis. “I am somebody who feels they were born to help others; I find myself responsible to others in the community because I think everyone deserves a chance at a bright future. I found pleasure working the girls this summer, and helping them become independent women with success in their minds and love in their hearts,” said Jessica of her experience working with Girls, Inc.

Forty-nine young workers from summer programs submitted applications for the Excellence in Summer Service Education Award. At the awards ceremony, the 23 winners will receive a certificate of recognition and $1000 to be used for education-related expenses such as buying books or equipment, paying tuition, or making a deposit in an educational savings account.

The 2010 Excellence in Summer Service Education Award winners are:

Damilola Awonusi, Anglican Church of the Resurrection LEAP Summer Camp
Ronald Frye, Concord Neighborhood Center
Dylan Wallace-Maxwell, Concord Neighborhood Center
Calasia Williams, Coppin Chapel African American Episcopal Church
Bridget Price, CYO Camp Rancho Framasa
Claudia White, Dayspring Camp Discovery
Gavin Rucker, Dayspring Camp Discovery
Marc Hardy, Fay Biccard Glick Neighborhood Center
Paige Leigh Thomas, Fay Biccard Glick Neighborhood Center
Jessica Wolfe, Girls Inc. of Greater Indianapolis
Amber Remeeus, Herron School of Art & Design
Austin Crawford, Indianapolis Algebra Project
Jasmine Dominique Walton, Indianapolis Algebra Project
Brie Anderson, Indianapolis Algebra Project
Katherine Janowski, Jameson Camp
Joanie Dawson, Marian University Math & Science Club
Lauren Graham, Martin Luther King Community Center
Mandy Walker, National Junior League of Indianapolis
Riley Phillips, The Y
Courtney Coleman, Westminster Neighborhood Ministries
Mandisha Wells, Westminster Neighborhood Ministries
Warren Stokes, Y-Press, Inc.
Jessika Officer, Y-Press, Inc.

View more information on our award winners.

For more information on the Summer Youth Program Fund and the Excellence in Summer Service Awards, please visit www.mccoyouth.org.