2011 General Assembly Recap

The 2011 legislative session is now over and the bills have been enacted. It was an incredibly interesting session to watch, especially for me as this is my first year getting involved in advocacy in Indiana. Some of the measures passed will do great things for youth and some will need to be watched to see what their full impact will be. Here is a brief summary of some of the bills that passed that MCCOY was following.

Education Reform
SEA 1 (P.L. 90-2011) Teacher evaluations and licensing – links the effectiveness of teachers, in addition to other factors, to student performance. Also has provisions defining “attend,” policies outlining excused vs. unexcused absences, parent notification and reporting of habitually absent students to Juvenile Court or the Department of Child Services.

SEA85 (P.L. 142-2011) Education issues study committee – establishes an interim study committee to look at the causes of low graduation rates, best practices to increase graduation rates and the impact of school counselors, teachers, administrators and parents on grad. rates.

SB497 Higher education scholarship – inserted into the budget bill – provides a $4,000 Mitch Daniels Early Graduation Scholarship for high school students graduating earlier than senior year for an approved post-secondary education institution within Indiana.

HEA1002 (P.L. 91-2011) Charter schools – increases the number and types of entities that can sponsor charter schools, adds accountability measures and delineates that only 90% of teachers must possess a license.

HEA1003 (P.L. 92-2011) School scholarships – provides a $1,000 tax deduction for parents who home school their children or send them to a private school and provides scholarships to help cover private school tuition to students in families meeting certain financial requirements.

Full-day kindergarten funding – provides schools access to additional full-day kindergarten grants.

Prevention
SEA4 (P.L. 93-2011) Suicide prevention training for school personnel – provides that teachers should be trained in evidence-based suicide prevention and recognition of signs that a student may be considering suicide. After June 30, 2013, any person applying for a teaching license must be trained in suicide prevention.

HEA1083 (P.L. 180-2011) Various criminal law matters – provides that schools may offer classes, instruction or programs regarding the risks and consequences of “sexting.” Also mandates that schools must include provisions against cyber-bullying in their discipline policies.

HEA1107 (P.L. 183-2011) Preventative programs for at-risk children – provides that a juvenile court may create a voluntary preventative program for at-risk children.

Over the next month, MCCOY will be watching the calendar of the Interim Study Committees and will post periodic updates as they progress. Please stay tuned. As always, if you have any questions or would like more information, please contact me. Thank you for your dedication to advocacy!

Walking for Dreams 2011

MCCOY staff: Shanna Martin, Mindi Goodpaster, and Alyssa Newerth enjoy the sunshine as they walk to support MCCOY’s Early Intervention & Prevention Initiative and Learning Network Programs.

On Sunday the 22nd, MCCOY participated in the 4th annual Walking for Dreams 5k family & pet walk. Hosted by the Sycamore Foundation, the event was held along the scenic downtown canal. Although the organizers and early-arrivers experienced quite a downpour around noon, by the time the walk commenced, the rain had gone away and the sun was out. (OK, at least intermittently) This was the 1st year for our participation in the event and thanks to our sponsors National Bank of Indianapolis and Huntington Bank, our donors, and over 30 MCCOY walkers, the event came off great and was a fundraising success.

MCCOY appreciates the efforts of all the volunteers that created this event and of our donors, volunteers, board members, and staff that joined in to make this event a success for MCCOY. We hope the event was a success for all of the nonprofits that participated. Thanks!

REAL TALK from Central Indiana Youth …And We Listened



“We must view young people not as empty bottles to be filled but as candles to be lit.” Robert H. Shaffer

This quote by Robert Shaffer could not be more correct, especially in light of this past weekend’s wonderful turnout for our Real Talk Youth Roundtable Event. We had over 20 youth come spend their Saturday afternoon with us here at the United Way building; brainstorming the issues, identifying resources, and sharing ideas for solutions. Youth from nearly every district in Indianapolis, as well as many from the surrounding counties, got a chance to voice their opinions about the issues facing their generation…and boy did we listen!

The morning started off with introductions, an icebreaker activity, an overview of MCCOY’s role in the community, and our vision for the role young people can play in what we do through involvement in our Youth Advocacy Council- a group that is newly formed and actively recruiting. After brainstorming the issues, significant time was taken to thoughtfully narrow down these issues into categories for breakout discussion. The top three issues youth felt needed attention were: Education, Youth Violence, and the Economy. Youth then broke out into groups of their choosing dependent on the issue they wanted to discuss. A productive discussion in these groups ensued while youth grubbed on burritos so generously donated by Chipotle. When coming back together for debriefing, these young people provided an overview of their small group discussion and worked together with MCCOY staff to devise an action plan. Pictures and a raffle drawing followed to end the day on an exciting note.

When the folks here at MCCOY learned of President Obama’s call-out for Youth Roundtables around the country, we jumped at the chance to engage an audience in which we have longed to reach. We were even more excited when we received word that White House Representative and Indiana Director of USDA Rural Development, Philip Lehmkuhler would attend our event.

Long talks of creating a Youth Advocacy Council definitely fueled the fire for MCCOY to host this event to hear what young people have to say about the issues. What a perfect opportunity for us to get in the business of engaging youth as much as we engage the people that work with youth! I am honored to have been a part of the planning of this process, and a special thanks to our White House Rep, Philip Lehmkuhler, our Executive Director, John Brandon, Our Public Policy & Advocacy Director, Mindi Goodpaster, our MCCOY student board member, Vincent Holloway, our MCCOY staff members and other volunteers who came to help, as well as all of the caring adults who came to listen… for all of their contributions to making this event a success. But the biggest shout out of all goes to all of the wonderful young people who participated in this event. You all are amazing, great examples of candles lighting a bright future!

For more info on being a part of MCCOY’s Youth Advocacy Council, please contact myself ([email protected]) or Mindi Goodpaster ([email protected]) .

To learn more about the President’s plan, please visit www.WhiteHouse.gov/YoungAmericans

Pledge $15 to MCCOY

MCCOY is joining 40 other central Indiana nonprofits and participating in the 2011 Walking for Dreams joint fundraiser on Sunday May 22nd. This 5K Family and Pet Walk takes place along the beautiful downtown Indianapolis canal, and we hope that you will support us.

MCCOY is raising funds for two of our most crucial initiatives:

The Learning Network: Providing high-quality career development training for local youth serving professionals

The Early Intervention and Prevention Initiative: Integrating systems, removing barriers, and reducing child abuse, child neglect, and juvenile delinquency

There are two ways that you can support MCCOY

OR

  • Join us on the canal and raise money on our behalf

We need your help to achieve our goal!

Location:

Walk begins at Buggs Temple, on the canal

(337 West 11th St. Indianapolis)

Date: Sunday May 22, 2011

Time: Registration at 1 p.m.

Walking at 2 p.m.

Celebration begins at 3 p.m.

Capstone Co-location Research Shows Benefits to Organizations and Clients

It’s been an exciting semester for the Co-location capstone team!  We completed our research and presented our findings to MCCOY last week.  I’m happy to say that we delivered a report that achieved our project goals.  As a reminder, co-location occurs when two or more organizations share space to provide services either temporarily or permanently.  We surveyed 100 organizations about current co-location trends.  Thirty organizations were kind enough to complete our survey, and the results show that co-location offers many benefits to both clients and organizations.
Benefits to Clients
Access to multiple services in one location
• Better programming because organizations are more efficiently staffed & have more financial
resources
• Limits the amount of time and money clients spend on transportation between services
• Successful use of referrals to other agencies
• Access to relaxation and recreation activities in addition to services
• Familiar environment over time creates a relationship where clients want to return
• Client privacy (no one can tell which services someone is accessing)

Benefits to Organizations
• Reduces operating costs
• Reduces duplication of services
• Increases the number of services delivered and the number of clients served
• Facilities and equipment are available to organizations who could not afford it alone
• Ideas are shared between organizations
• Physically co-located partners do not have to worry about building maintenance
• Partners can draw on each other’s expertise
• Common mission and vision offers an opportunity for organizations to participate in likeminded activities
• Co-location appeals to funders because of stability and opportunity to fund multiple organizations at once
• Provides opportunities for joint fundraising initiatives and events
• Community awareness of all the organizations in the project
• Volunteers can find opportunities with multiple organizations

Despite all the benefits, organizations who want to co-locate have to be mindful of pitfalls such as inter-organizational relationships, organizational identities and branding, competition for space and funding, and conflicting visions or missions.  To help MCCOY deal with these potential problems, we developed a general cost-benefit analysis, a SWOT analysis, a matrix showing the potential types of co-locations, and an adaptable business plan.  During our project, we recommended that MCCOY become a co-location convener, which means that they should become experts in starting these types of projects and bringing partners to the table.  These tools will help MCCOY analyze possible partnerships and site locations for a new co-location project.  We hope our project will provide a foundation for MCCOY to begin sharing valuable resources and knowledge about co-location with the Indianapolis nonprofit community. 

President’s Corner: Champions for Youth

Several weeks ago, I saw something that has been somewhat of a rarity in the last year or so—a help wanted sign. The economic slump which we have been enduring has cost people of all skill sets, backgrounds, and educational levels their jobs; no particular sector of the community has been immune from the tough times. Though the economy is starting to show hopeful signs of recovery, there is still one sector that is mired in what has been an even longer slump—young people.

For the last four summers, America’s teens have been employed in record low numbers, and this summer will apparently be no different. The number of teens working has declined precipitously over the last decade, falling from 45 percent in 2000 to 26 percent in 2010, a major employment crisis for youth. The Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University estimates that only 25% of teens between 16 and 19 will have a job this summer. This means about 12 million of our country’s young people will be idle. If they are not working, many of these teens will waste three months being non-productive or, worse, involved in dangerous or criminal activities.

Things are even tougher for young people of color. In June 2010, black teens of all socioeconomic levels had an employment rate of only 15.2 percent, making them 53 percent less likely to work than white teens. Low-income black teens fared far worse, with only 9 percent of them employed. Although Hispanic youth were the most likely minority group to work, they still lagged behind whites. Black male teenagers living in urban communities are the least likely to obtain summer employment. They are also the ones most at risk for engaging in perilous activities due to lack of connection to positive summer opportunities. The teens who need employment and stand to gain the most from the experience are the least likely to get it.

Summer employment is known to result in multiple benefits for youth, particularly low-income youth, including academic gains in mathematics and reading, experience in the world of work which results in higher earnings in early adulthood, an enhanced self esteem, personal and social skill development, and decreased involvement in violent or criminal activities. Many low-income youth contribute their earnings from summer jobs to supplement family income, to buy necessary clothing and school supplies for the upcoming school year, and to support their recreational activities that parents just cannot afford. Work is not an option for these youth—it is necessary for their survival.

Over the past several summers, funds provided to the states by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act were used to provide employment for over 300,000 youth; but those funds have been expended and those jobs have gone away. ARRA dollars, while helpful, were only a band aid that temporarily covered a very large wound. If we are going to genuinely help young people prepare for the world of work, we must do a much better job of providing opportunities for them to gain that vital employment experience in their teen years.

The Center for Law and Social Policy recommends that:

“Federal policymakers should focus on a more intentional, thoughtful, and sustained approach to youth employment that seriously weighs the value of investing in the future of America’s workforce. They can put in place policies and resources to promote a comprehensive youth employment strategy that includes the reinstatement of federal funding for summer jobs and other paid work experience opportunities such as service and youth corps, transitional jobs, internships, and on-the-job-training. This critical first step will ensure greater labor market outcomes for youth. The federal government, states and communities also should invest in year-round employment opportunities for youth, particularly for older youth and those who are currently disconnected from the labor market and do not have a high school credential. Their future success depends on a strategy that reengages them in learning and training to put them on a pathway to successful and sustainable employment. Finally, resources must be targeted to low-income and minority communities where the need is greatest.”

Young people don’t need or want temporary solutions that don’t really address the problem. They want to work and they are willing to work. They just need the opportunity and the support to build the skills that they will use all their lives. It is up to us—the trusted adults in their lives—to do our best work in making sure that all youth are well-prepared for school, for work, and for life.

John Brandon, MCCOY Inc.

We Are ALL Mandated Reporters!!

The month of April was Child Abuse Awareness Month. There were lots of activities focused around raising awareness about the prevalence of child abuse in our community. What most events did not include was information about what to do if you suspect that a child is being abused or neglected. In Indiana the law says that we are ALL mandated reporters! Indiana code states the following:

• Any person who has reason to believe that a child is a victim of abuse or neglect must report (Ann. Code § 31-33-5-1).

• A report is required when any person has reason to believe that a child is a victim of abuse or neglect (Ann. Code §§ 31-33-5-1; 31-33-5-2)

What does that mean? It means that as an adult you have a duty, obligation and legal responsibility to contact the Department of Child Services if you have concern that a child is being mistreated or is in an unsafe situation.

There are many signs and symptoms of child abuse and neglect, some very obvious (i.e. bruises, soiled clothing) and some not so obvious (i.e. anger, “too perfect” behavior). It is not your responsibility to determine if the child is or has been abused or neglected. You are not required to provide proof of child abuse or neglect. Just call the Department of Child Services to anonymously report your concerns…immediately!

Department of Child Services Statewide Hotline: 1-800-800-5556

Remember you will remain anonymous. An accused abuser may say they “know” you reported them, but in actuality they may be calling out lots of people in an effort to make the reporter tell who made the report. Don’t fall for it! Information about who made the report is not shared.

Child abuse and neglect continues to occur in our community because adults refuse to take action to protect children. Don’t be one of those adults. Make a conscious choice to protect the children in your care and in your community:

• Ask daycares, schools and organizations that your children attend if they have clear reporting procedures and sexual abuse prevention policies in place.
• Support legislation that protects children.
• Attend a Stewards of Children training to learn how to protect children from child sexual abuse (visit http://www.mccoyouth.org/ or call 317-921-1233 to learn about upcoming trainings).
• Contacting Prevent Child Abuse to learn more about prevention efforts in your community (http://www.pcain.org/ or 317-775-6439).

Breaking Down Barriers So You Can Share Your Story

Each day, you work hard – trying to do so much for the kids you serve. You care so much. So, it’s surprising when others don’t get it!

Your neighbors don’t understand why you work such long hours. Your friends think you shouldn’t be so emotionally involved. Your family wishes you would stop talking so much about your job.

You try to explain it. You rattle off the latest statistics about children raised in poverty. You share the intricate details about your new program about suicide prevention. You try to tell them just how important your work is!

May I suggest another approach? Empower others to tell your story for you!

Ask parents, volunteers, kids, board members, civic leaders, and community members for positive remarks. Who else can better sing your praises?!?

Write down their quotes verbatim, so their personality shines through. Even consider getting quick video interviews.

Remember to get their permission to use their words in promotional materials. Make it easy by including a release in the in-take process for your clients and in the orientation for volunteers.

How else can you better tell your story, so that others are interested in kids’ issues? Please leave a comment with your idea!

Read more from Guest Blogger Jessica Journey on her blog about nonprofits, fundraising, and marketing: www.jessicajourney.com

A Study in Public Awarness Campaigns

As MCCOY’s Communications Director and also a student at IUPUI’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs, I was thrilled when I was able to complete my graduate Capstone Project with MCCOY. Myself with a group of four other Masters’ students were asked by MCCOY to research how to create and implement an effective Public Awareness Campaign. As a strategy of MCCOY’s Early Intervention and Prevention Initiative, MCCOY plans to run a child abuse and neglect prevention campaign later this year into early next year. My group’s Capstone Project is sure to be a huge stepping stone for MCCOY to venture into this big project, but also for other organizations that hope to run successful campaigns to motivate the community to action.

Below is a synopsis of our project and findings:

An effective campaign includes the following characteristics: grabs the attention of the target audience, communicates a clear and trustworthy message, delivers a message that changes the behavior, attitude, and knowledge of the audience, and brings about actions from audience toward desired outcomes (Weiss & Tschirhart, 1994). MCCOY has asked the Campaign Advisory Board (CAB), graduate students in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at IUPUI, to:

• Create a working definition of the term “at-risk”;
• Determine the location of the “at-risk” population within Marion County;
• Establish best practices needed to create the strategies and messaging for a campaign;
• Ascertain the most effective form of distributing the message; and
• Develop a tool to evaluate effectiveness after the completion of the campaign.

To perform these tasks, CAB conducted significant primary and secondary research. Once the term “at-risk” was defined and the population was located, the team conducted key informant interviews with marketing executives at non-profit organizations to confirm research findings regarding effective campaigns. Finally, CAB conducted surveys among at-risk clients utilizing services at EIP partnering organizations to determine which services and outreach methods are being used and the reasons for preferences.
CAB used the analysis to produce a list of steps necessary to create and implement an effective public awareness campaign, providing groundwork for MCCOY to determine the type of campaign, objectives, audience, messaging, strategies, tactics, budget, and evaluation. Finally, CAB developed a campaign plan for MCCOY and the following list of short-term, intermediate, and long-term recommendations for MCCOYwere to:

Campaign Objectives
• Increase awareness of prevention and intervention services and providers in Marion County.
• Motivate people to seek out these services and spread the word to others about these services.

Phase One Recommendations (Short-term)
• Utilize a campaign logic model similar to the one CAB provided.
• Develop Partnerships with other local organizations.
• Secure funding for campaign through corporate sponsorships, grant dollars, and fundraising.
• Determine whether a PR firm is monetarily feasible based upon funding.

Phase Two Recommendations (Intermediate)
• Build a consistent brand identity for the Early Intervention & Prevention Initiative as well as the organizations that provide these services.
• Create a sense of urgency in the community to seek intervention and prevention services through campaign messaging.
• Educate the community about the issues and consequences of child abuse and neglect.
• Define and describe intervention and prevention services.
• Utilize social media, radio, direct marketing, collateral material, and outdoor advertising as outreach outlets for the EIP campaign.

Phase Three Recommendations (Long-term)
• Utilize television as another outreach method.
• Apply the evaluation tool CAB has developed for evaluation purposes.

View our Sample Campaign Plan and Evaluation Tool.

Have you found this project helpful and want additional information? Contact me at [email protected] or 317-921-1226.