Wednesday, March 23, 2016

New Report about GetInChicago Anti Violence effort Requires Deeper Learning

In my email yesterday I received notice of a new report by The Chapin Hall Center at the University of Chicago, which looks at the start up stages of the first round of Get In Chicago grant recipients. It's titled "Get In Chicago Capacity Assessment".

The report digs into some areas of planning and program design that I'm really interested in, particularly the topic of organizational learning. However, it uses a lot of jargon from the research and evaluation field that I'm not certain people involved in developing, leading and funding youth programs are fluent with.

On Monday I included the graphic below in this article, showing how people from different countries, meeting on Facebook, were digging into complex ideas. 

I think that unless you were a student enrolled in an advanced degree program on evaluation and uses of evidence to support program fidelity you'd not have the time to read all the information available to you, nor to be involved in daily face-to-face discussions that might help you understand what you are reading.

If you're the leader of a small to medium sized youth serving program,  you'd be constantly challenged with staff turnover, meaning information retention is not happening withing the organization, and you'd be challenged with finding 100% of the operating dollars you need to be a strong organization able to do the work the grant maker hopes to accomplish.

For the most part, programs are fighting this battle on their own, or in small groups. They need to be connected, in many ways.

Thus, my passion for the internet comes from the fact that you can read this information from any place in the world, at any time of the day, and you can engage in many ways with others to build your understanding and to innovate ways to overcome the challenges of building and sustaining mentor-rich programs that reach k-20 youth in high poverty neighborhoods and help them move through school and into adult jobs out of poverty and beyond the daily reach of violence.

This won't happen if the different stakeholders are not making an effort to connect in on-line learning, and if some donors, including  universities, don't make an on-going effort to host on-line spaces where deeper learning, refection and idea-sharing are taking place.

I'd like to see dozens of people digging into reports like this and creating annotated visualizations like the one I did on Monday. This could even be a learning-project for youth in these programs.

If this interests you, let's connect.

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