With a two-generational approach, the goal is to move vulnerable families toward educational success, economic security, and family well-being; it has a proven track record through the Harlem Children’s Zone, the Ascend Network, and in other communities around the nation. There is a recognition with this approach that families are defined in a myriad of ways—single mothers, young parents, single fathers, grandparents, aunts and uncles, even older siblings caring for their younger brothers and sisters. This work seeks to establish economic security for adults, household stability for the family and an environment that supports healthy, educated children.
For example, in one collaborative partnership, one partner makes sure the family has food, with others, the adults get job skills and clothes for an interview plus access to quality daycare and healthcare. Another makes sure children and adults can read. There are collaborative partnerships across the four counties—Durham, Johnston, Orange, and Wake—United Way of the Greater Triangle serves. We are also working to build regional networks of support.
And, this new way of working is achieving results. More families are in their own homes. More children have books at home to improve their reading skills. Fewer kids are worried about being hungry because parents are employed.
One of the collaborative partners observed, “If a family doesn’t believe there’s hope, it’s tough to succeed. And this is true about the whole family – not just the kids, not just the adults. With hope, their inner resources kick back in. Our collaborative work is giving them hope.”
That’s what changing generations is all about.