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CONNECTING FAMILIES TO THE RESOURCES THEY NEED & THE SERVICES THEY DESERVE

During the 2004-2005 school year, fifty City Year Washington, DC corps members were responsible for delivering more than 80,000 hours of service to the DC community, reaching more than 7,000 children through a variety of initiatives. City Year is dedicated to building a strong democracy through three essential and interconnected civic strategies: citizen service, civic leadership, and social entrepreneurship.

Our work resulted in a comprehensive set of recommendations . . . including a thoroughly developed pilot program utilizing cutting-edge youth development strategies.

At the request of the Case Foundation, one of City Year's strongest supporters, Common Ground Consulting was retained to examine the efficacy of a potential strategy for targeting their giving to affect City Year's ability to expand their efforts to recognize and respond to the needs of children. The comprehensive assessment and evaluation included: an analysis of existing conditions for at-risk elementary school students in the District of Columbia; City Year's structure and program capacity; existing research and data related to programs serving at-risk youth in the District; and existing and potential revenue sources required for implementing new program elements.

Anecdotal information indicated that in previous years, City Year corps members had recognized that some children have needs that are not being addressed through the corps members' service. In those instances the corps members sought the advice of a teacher or City Year program manager on how to deal with the situation and help the child get the support s/he needed. City Year staff and corps members had not received training regarding the vast array of the city's social services or how to access them, but they were able to figure out how to meet identified needs by tapping city resources in at least two situations-obtaining free TB shots and helping families obtain food stamps.

Our work resulted in a comprehensive set of recommendations for the Foundation and City Year DC including a thoroughly developed pilot program utilizing cutting-edge youth development strategies. Through our work, we found that City Year was in a position to strengthen its contribution to the community by connecting children to additional services that could meet their needs. We explored the potential shifts and discussed the benefits and challenges of changing and/or expanding City Year DC's scope of services; and we captured and analyzed information about the impact the changes in corps members' service may have on the community being served, as well as the corps members themselves. Our final report included an overview of our research methodology; a review of City Year's evaluation data; the scope of available youth services in the District of Columbia; a review of the research supporting the model program being recommended; an analysis of the risks related to the new strategy; a timeline for program development; and the requisite budget for program development and implementation.


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