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Ready News: February 16, 2012

Ready News
February 17, 2012

Teaching life skills, telling stories and improving policies


Fishing Village Youth Get Hooked on Life Skills
Talking with high schoolers about lobster licenses and small engine repair is not among the formal strategies for fundamentally changing how a community gets its young people ready for life. But that is among the tactics employed by Deer Isle, Maine, after it got jolted by revelations that many of its youth were underachieving in school and underprepared for adulthood. Read a new case study about how this rural coastal community implements Ready by 21 strategies on a low budget, and generates immediate community support while making plans for long-term changes.

Engaging Key Stakeholders: Chattanooga Connections

Feb. 28, 2012, 3 PM ET
To really change the odds for children and youth, your community needs the involvement of its influential leaders from all sectors. That includes education, business, government, nonprofits and families. These leaders need to be committed and collaborative in ways that contribute to the overarching mission of the group. Come hear about local partnership efforts in Chattanooga, Tenn., and learn about tools from three Ready by 21 Partners: Corporate Voices for Working Families, United Way Worldwide and the American Association of School Administrators. 

Ready by 21 and Collective Impact

In this commentary, Karen Pittman, president and  CEO of the Forum for Youth Investment, discusses how Ready by 21 encourages community leaders and organizations to work together to achieve common goals and a collective impact....

Every now and then, you run across an individual or organization that not only understands what you are trying to do, but articulates your theory and validates your actions with elegance and simplicity.  Everyone involved with Ready by 21 just received that gift, through the powerful words of John Kania and Mark Kramer, managing directors of Boston-based FSG (Foundation Strategy Group).

<<This resource is a great companion to this month's webinar.  



Tell us about ...
Something good that came from working with someone you had not worked with before.
Tell us about ... is a way to quickly share stories about helping children and youth. Journalist Patrick Boyle will turn selected submissions into short stories for Ready News. Send your notes (100 to 250 words) to

Children's Cabinets Help Human Service Leaders
In the face of state budget cuts that threaten to erode crucial supports for children and youth, Children's Cabinets can increase efficiency while maintaining or even improving supports for young people. This new article in Policy & Practice (the journal of the American Public Human Services Administration) shows how those cabinets can specifically help leaders in human services. The authors (Danielle Evennou and Elizabeth Gaines of the Forum for Youth Investment) explain how Children's Cabinets work and give examples of human service leaders employing innovative strategies to achieve their goals.

Pittman: The Power of One
If we are going to reach people's hearts with stories of how we are changing the odds for young people, Karen Pittman says in her latest Ready Thoughts blog, we must harness the power of one: Not only the story of one youth or one family, but also of one school system, one neighborhood, one coalition, one community. And we must tell stories that start with an individual young person but unfold to reveal our complex agenda for change.

Community Supports Boost College Success
In a welcome addition to the growing research on postsecondary access and persistence, a new study shines a light on an underused set of resources for students: formal and informal supports provided by community organizations. The study looks at efforts in Austin, Texas, to demonstrate that active involvement in college planning is a powerful "gap-closer" for low-income youth, and that community organizations can be key partners in the college access equation.

Read a brief summary of the study and the initiatives that leaders in Austin (a Ready by 21 community) have developed to boost college access and persistence.

How Communities Achieve Collective Impact
Those looking to achieve community impact to change conditions for young people can learn from places that are showing results. The Bridgespan Group's new report, 12 Case Studies of Community Collaboratives, looks at 12 such communities and the factors that contribute to success.
Two of the 12 - Nashville, Tenn., and Herkimer County, N.Y. - have implemented Ready by 21 strategies. Bridgespan consulted with the Forum for Youth Investment while conducting the study, which was produced for the White House Council for Community Solutions. The Forum has been actively supporting the council.  

The Role of OST Programs in Building Soft Skills
Why are "soft skills" so important for young people? What can out-of-school time programs do to build these skills? Those are among the questions answered in this recent interview with Nicole Yohalem, co-author of a recent Forum for Youth Investment report, From Soft Skills to Hard Data: Measuring Youth Program Outcomes. OST providers have found the report valuable because it reviews eight youth outcome measurement tools that are appropriate for use in after-school and other settings.
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Are you doing great work in your community? Have you used the Ready by 21 Tools to achieve success? Let us know by sharing your story on the Leader Network. It could be featured on the website and this newsletter!


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