The summit brought together over 250 leaders committed to the belief that “when the many work as one for the good of all we can collectively achieve real community change where individuals are engaged, neighborhoods are healthy and communities are thriving.”
Karen emphasized the importance of equity and opportunity in community change efforts, and shared her experience in developing true engagement among youth and community members, rather than just symbolic representation.
Karen eloquently stated that “readiness and equity are two sides of the same coin, but they are often pursued on parallel tracks. Communities can and must change the odds for their young people by vigilantly addressing the persistent traps and gaps that put some groups of youth at a persistent disadvantage. But communities also have to see young people and their families as critical to the change process. This means that our goal for disadvantaged or disconnected youth cannot be to just get them “problem free.” We have to make sure that they are fully prepared to be agents of change in their own lives and their own communities. The dictionary lists two definitions of readiness – to be willing and be prepared to step up to challenges. Readiness is more than a diploma. It is the combined set of social, emotional and academic competencies, skills and values that contribute to a young person’s sense of agency and identity.”