Dear Friends and Partners,
I am beyond grateful for your support and commitment to our mission as well as your faith and trust that partnership is how we achieve it. Many of you in the trenches are helping young people across Pima County "beat the odds" but more importantly this work we are doing together is changing the odds for those particularly burdened by our current systems. This year was certainly our most impactful yet.
- The Cradle to Career Partnership along with five other communities from across the country, was selected to participate in the Prenatal to Age 3 (PN-3) Impact and Improvement Network being led by StriveTogether in partnership with the National Institute for Children's Health Quality (NICHQ). Working with home visitation programs managed by Casa de los Niños and Child & Family Resources this project sets out to improve kindergarten readiness by focusing on child development from birth to age three.
- Six public school districts are participating in our recently launched 8th grade math network and have agreed to collectively improve professional development for middle school math teachers.
- 361 16-24 year-old opportunity youth are now actively enrolled in re-engagement services through Goodwill Metro, close to a 39% increase from this time last year. These young people are receiving support, connections and coaching to obtain secondary and post-secondary education credentials and employment.
- Our United Youth Leadership Council has stepped up their involvement and leadership in the opportunity youth movement this year more than anyone could have foreseen. Joining with Fostering Success Arizona, they created and co-led The Backpack Project, the largest art installation and donation drive, as far as we know, to raise awareness and humanize the data regarding opportunity youth in our community.
Everything the partnership achieved this year, we've achieved together because of your commitment to helping every child, youth and young adult succeed in school and life, regardless of race, zip code or circumstance. Together, we are breaking down barriers, changing systems and improving outcomes for as many young people as possible. Dismantling long-held systems of power, oppression and privilege does not happen overnight. If I have learned anything this year, it's how essential it is to not only give voice to those from the very communities we aim to serve but to give them access to power and authority in making decisions that most affect them.
We made a conscious effort to both let our youth leaders lead and give them opportunities to grow their leadership capacity. Pictured above is Delisa Patricio (with the mic) alongside C2C staff member, Ashley Janicki, delivering powerful insights on how to engage youth in this work at the opening plenary session of the StriveTogether National Network Convening. Earlier this month, we sent Delisa and fellow opportunity youth leader Mercedez Marquez to the annual
Opportunity Youth United
Convening in Washington, D.C. along with our Youth Engagement Project Manager. There they learned more about the goals of the national Opportunity Youth United and made plans on how to incorporate them into their local work to re-engage opportunity youth in Pima County. Mercedez states of her experience, "So many eyes surrounded me, each had their own story, eyes that were eager, eyes that had seen a bit too much, but all were eyes that were not willing to look away from the reality we live in. Even more so, we are not willing to look away from the solution we have come to find."
This is where we are choosing to deepen our work in 2019 -- co-developing solutions with those we are serving to improve outcomes for young people and their families.
Thank you for your continued commitment as we strive to prepare every child, in every school, in every neighborhood for success cradle to career. I wish you the best this holiday season and look forward to working with you in the new year.