Have you heard the buzz about our new database project?

The Early Intervention and Prevention (EIP) Initiative at MCCOY is working on an exciting new integrated database project. Essentially, we want to link together several social services databases, so that users can access all of this information through one online portal. It’s going to be like Expedia or Travelocity, but for nonprofit programs and services!

Check out our fancy new Prezi here: http://prezi.com/15afyy633ogi/mccoys-database-project/
It’s well worth a 60 second peek. We promise!

Real Talk from Real Students

As my time here with MCCOY dwindles, I find myself thinking about the things that we have done in my Americorps VISTA service year with this amazing organization. We have successfully motivated a group of professional volunteers, held some events, and devised a public awareness campaign around the importance of raising high school graduation rates. BUT, more often than those things, I think about the ways in which this work can continue after my experience with MCCOY has come to an end. Nothing and no one can keep this effort going strong like the very people we strive to impact, the students in Marion County.

With this in mind, we have been in talks in the past couple of months about creating a Youth Advocacy Council to help direct the organization’s efforts in the future and advocate for youth by youth. Then, as though timing could not be more perfect, our Director of Public Policy and Advocacy, Mindi, stumbled upon the fact that President Obama’s Youth Team has asked that 100 Youth Roundtables be held in communities around the nation. What an amazing opportunity! We can host a Presidential roundtable, give our city’s youth a voice in Washington, and identify potential candidates for our own Youth Advocacy Council all with the same event. Talk about 2 birds, 1 stone. To read more about the president’s plan, please visit www.whitehouse.gov/youngamericans

So, with generous donations and support from The Lumina Foundation for Education and Chipotle Mexican Grill, we are planning on conducting our first youth roundtable, REAL TALK: A Roundtable Discussion with Young Adults in Indianapolis on Saturday, May 14, 2011 at the United Way Building, RCI Room from 11am-1pm. The cost for youth to attend is FREE and they will also recieve FREE LUNCH from Chipotle and the chance to win raffle prizes! Not to mention the empowering experience of voicing their opinion on youth issues, helping to build solutions, and having a group of dedicated professionals listen and take notes!

I am so excited for this event. I am a true believer in youth voice and the potential that this event and the formation of the YAC has within MCCOY. We all want the best for our city’s youth, we all want to be involved in positive change in education and other youth issues, and involving young people in these solutions is VITAL to that success. I’m honored to be a part of an organization like MCCOY that realizes that these young people must have a say in how we do our work. Besides, who knows what works for young people better than young people!!

If you are or know of any young adults in Marion County who would like to participate in this roundtable event, PLEASE CONTACT ME at 317-921-1230 or visit http://www.rsvpbook.com/event.php?473135 to register. Please note, all participants under the age of 18 will need to print off the permission slip, have their parent/guardian sign it, and bring it with them the day of the event.

a different way to look at it

Was anybody else as amazed as I was at the story in the Indy Star earlier this week about the number of Americans who don’t pay any taxes? According to the story, “there are so many tax breaks that 45% of U. S. households will pay no federal income tax for 2010 according to an estimate by the Tax Policy Center, a Washington, D.C. think tank”
I recognize that there are many folks of limited income who don’t, and from my perspective, shouldn’t pay a lot of taxes–they need every cent they have to live. But I have a hard time believing that those folks make up 45% of U.S. households.

At a time when it seems like every program that provides supports for the most vulnerable U.S. citizens is being threatened by, if not already sliced by the budget cutting knives, we need to take a good hard look at this tax issue. I am no economist but I think it is a question of all doing their fair share to support the benefits that each one of us receives. My taxes support the brave men and women who support my freedoms; it pays for the interstates I drive on; the police and fire departments that keep me and my family safe; the folks who pick up my trash and recyclables; the schools that educate our children; and lots of other things that there’s not enough space to list. Those benefits serve all of us, not just those who pay for them. So shouldn’t all of us contribute toward them? If I am paying my taxes–and I did–then it would be nice to know that all my fellow citizens were doing the same. Note: I am not saying I want to pay more taxes; I am saying I want the playing field to be leveled.

We all tend to value more those things that we pay for–so would we value all the benefits we each receive if we all had some skin in the game? Maybe if everybody really were paying their fair share, we wouldn’t be facing the deficits we are confronting. If everybody were contributing, at least those deficits wouldn’t be so large. We have a lot of great minds in this country; it’s time we put some of them to work coming up with solutions instead of just bemoaning the problem. I am all for cutting waste and efficiency; I am also all for fairness.

Who knows? We might find some money to pay for home healthcare, good schools, better roads, out of school time programs, and all the other things we are being told “We can’t afford that!”

Legislative Update 4/15/11

Happy tax day! The pace has been fast and furious in the Statehouse. A major victory so far has been the amendment and passage of SB4 Suicide Prevention Training for School Personnel. The House Family, Child and Human Affairs Committee unanimously adopted the amended bill, which reinserted language regarding use of evidence-based programs and a requirement for all teachers who are pursuing their license to be trained. The House then passed it this week and the bill has gone back to the Senate.

Here is a list of bills that MCCOY has been watching and the actions that have happened recently. Bills coded with green text are bills that MCCOY supports; bills coded in red text are bills that have been defeated this session.

SB4 Suicide prevention training for school personnel – 4/12 passed House: yeas 88, nays 4 4/12 returned to Senate with amendments

SB85 Study of schools with low graduation rates – 4/14 passed House committee

SB93 Concussions and head injuries in student athletes – 4/12 passed House: yeas 78, nays 14 4/12 returned to Senate with amendments

SB101 Driver education issues – 4/12 defeated in House: yeas 26, nays 64

SB245 Prenatal substance abuse commission – no action

SB497 Higher education scholarship – 4/13 passed House: yeas 57, nays 38, returned to Senate with amendments

HB1002 Charter schools – 4/12 passed Senate: yeas 29, nays 20, returned to House with amendments

HB1003 School scholarships – 4/14 passed committee

HB1019 Training for child suicide prevention – no action

HB1042 Dissemination of sexual material – no action

HB1083 Child solicitation and child trafficking – 4/12 placed back on second reading

HB1107 Preventative programs for at-risk children 4/7 passed Senate: yeas 49, nays 0, returned to House with amendments

HB1566 School absenteeism and dropouts – committee report not adopted

Parental Involvement with Schools: What They Need

Parental involvement has been shown to positively affect student achievement, reduce delinquent behavior, and create a positive sense of self (Epstein & Sheldon, 2002; Hoover-Dempsey & Sandier, 1995; Van Voorhis, 2003). Since we know that student achievement and positive school adjustment, comes from the support of parents, we wanted to hear directly from the parents of Marion County their thoughts and feelings on engaging with their childrens’ schools.

Two lucky attendees won laptops donated by IU Health.

On March 10th, MCCOY’s Student Success Team, Indiana Partnerships Center, and Indiana Youth Institute hosted “An Evening Dedicated to Parent Voices.” 80 parents and educators attended the event and participated in a round table discussion. The expert panel, composed of 2 parents and 2 educators, each posed a question on parent engagement to the audience. The parents were able to discuss each question in small groups with a facilitator recording their feedback. With these detailed notes, we summarized the key factors that influence the level of parental involvement with schools.

Transportation- Parents do not always have access to affordable transportation, thus keeping them from attending school functions. Schools can overcome this obstacle by offering transportation or conducting home visits.
Work Hours – Working parents are often unable to attend school functions and conferences during school hours. Schools can help by offering conference times outside the traditional work day, such as evenings, weekends or scheduling a home visit when the parent can be present.

Parent Attitudes- Often parents have poor attitudes about school or their own abilities to contribute to their child’s education. Parents may not know what is expected of them. Schools can overcome this by letting parents know what is expected them.

Teacher/Principals Attitudes- Teachers and principals do not always encourage or have the time to engage with parents. Teachers need to be more available to parents. Schools can overcome this by having mandatory teacher parent conferences. Also, principals need to be a visible leader in the school. This can be done by principals attending all school events and being available to meet with parents.
Climate-The school can be an unwelcoming place for some parents. Schools must work to maintain professionalism while projecting a warm, inviting school climate. Schools can do this by having an open door policy and hosting fun family events.
Language and Culture-The 2009 census showed that the Hispanic population in Indiana has more than doubled. The population increased from 33,000 to more than 84,000 people. 10% of the Hispanic population resides in Marion County. Since the majority of school personnel do not speak a foreign language, Hispanic parents who do not speak English may feel uncomfortable engaging in school. Language barriers can be overcome with schools providing translators and ESL trainings. Cultural barriers can be overcome by schools educating school personnel on culture, race, and socioeconomic status of the parents they serve.
Community organizations- Parents feel schools do not utilize community organizations as a way to communicate and provide resources. Schools can overcome this by utilizing all resources and organizations the community has to offer.
Communication- Most schools communicate information via the internet. However, not all parents have access to the internet. Schools need to find creative ways to get information to parents. One way of doing this is by bringing the information to the parents: such as community centers, holding parent lead meetings, and open forums for parents. Parents want regular communication from the school on attendance and homework. Lastly, parents want to be informed from the beginning of the year what the requirements are for their children to attend college, and what the post secondary options are.


If you want to:

• Maximize Your Resources
• Increase Referrals & Revenue
• Expand Your Network
• Collaborate For Success

Then race on over to the Jewish Community Center (JCC) on Tuesday April 12th at 8:30am for MCCOY’s EIP Race for Resources: Speed-Dating for Intervention and Prevention Providers event.

Speed-Dating Increases Your Chance of a Connection!! Through an interactive “speed-dating” process, attendees will learn about 20 organizations that offer early intervention and prevention services. Spending just a short amount of time at each exhibit table, attendees will learn key information that will allow them to better coordinate services and pursue partnerships.

In honor of Prevent Child Abuse month come show your support for organizations that provide child abuse and neglect prevention services in your community!

Register to attend: http://www.rsvpbook.com/event.php?470432

Family Safety: Prepare, Plan, Practice

By Stephanie Freeman

As everyone has notice lately – we are now officially in April, which means lots of bad weather including thundershowers and even tornados!

For family safety, it is important to be prepared, which means having a plan and practicing for the worst circumstances. According to the American Family Safety website, having a family communications plan and emergency preparedness plan is essential for every household.

If there is an emergency or disaster that takes place, it will probably take the Federal Emergency Response Agency (FEMA) or other organizations at least 72 hours to respond. And when a major disaster occurs there may be no electricity, gas, running water, or road access. With that being the case, all families should have supplies in their home to keep them self-sufficient until help arrives.

Often times when a disaster occurs, family members may be separated, that is why it is important to make a plan and make sure every family member carries the plan with them and knows it by heart. The communications plan should include key telephone numbers and addresses, a location to meet up together, as well as a secondary and third location if your first is not accessible. These locations should be a place a family visits frequently and all members are familiar with. The communications plan should also include medical information such as: doctors, pharmacist, and insurance information.

All families should also have an emergency kit, which includes: first aid supplies, whistle, light stick, duct tape, pocket tool, can opener, AM/FM radio, batteries, flashlight, solar blanket, food ration, water, poncho, respirator mask, gloves, and matches.

It is also important that at least one family member know First Aid and CPR in case there are medical needs, as well as learn how to use a fire extinguisher. Once these skills are learned, keep them sharp by practicing, practicing, and more practicing.

We never know an emergency or disaster will happen – but we can be prepared!

For more information, visit: http://www.americanfamilysafety.com or http://www.fema.gov/plan/prepare/commplan.shtm.

Urgent – Action Alert

The future and soul of our country is at stake this coming week in Washington. Now is the time to act to prevent Congress and the President from balancing the budget on the backs of babies and the poor. Congress has until Friday April 8 to pass a federal budget and negotiations are ongoing but uncertain. We could face a government shut down and devastating budget cuts for our children and families are looming. Please call Congress NOW. Help stop the budget massacre in Washington. Your voice is desperately needed to help Senators and Representatives make the right choices for children. Children of all ages are in danger! • 218,000 children would lose Head Start; 16,000 classrooms would close and 55,000 jobs would be lost. • 11 million children and adults could be denied health care from Community Health Centers. • Many of the 9.4 million low-income college students would have their Pell Grants eliminated or severely reduced. • Cuts are also expected to be announced soon in Medicaid, Food Stamps and other lifelines for poor children and families. Please do your part NOW by contacting your Senators and Representative TODAY. Call the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 or click here to find out who represents you. Tell Congress: Children did not cause the current budget problems. Cut billionaires, not babies. Cut corporations, not children. Don’t cut programs for the poor to continue to subsidize the rich. Cuts in early childhood and education will jeopardize our economic future. Invest in our children to strengthen our economy. Once you have called, please send this alert on to colleagues, friends and neighbors and urge them to call. Together, we can raise a ruckus to stop the budget massacre. Thank you for standing up for children! Members of Congress will be back home for the Easter and Passover recess. Stay tuned for more alerts and suggested actions in the coming weeks. – Children’s Defense Fund