July - Our First Update!
Welcome to the Casino Road Initiative's first ever monthly Update! My name is Sara Stuart, and I was hired in April as the Initiative's full-time staff person. I will be sharing monthly updates here on our blog. If you would like to have these emailed to you, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to get on the update list. We are so excited to share our journey with you, thanks for reading!
In November of last year, the Community Foundation of Snohomish County was awarded a 3-year, $700,000 planning grant by the Whitehorse Foundation to start a collaborative project working towards strengthening families in the Casino Road Community. After collecting information from numerous interviews and focus groups with diverse groups of people, including residents, Casino Road was identified as the recipient for this opportunity due to both the high needs of the families that live here and to the long history of collaborative work already happening in this community. This initiative is strongly influenced by the belief that we can always do more together than we can apart.
More than 30 interviews and focus groups were conducted with businesses, service providers, religious organizations, school districts, city government, and residents to help paint a more complete picture of Casino Road. In addition to guiding the formation of the Steering Committee, responses from the interviews were analyzed to identify the top community needs and strengths, from both a service provider and resident perspective. The results of those interviews are attached in a brief presentation here. Going forward, this data will be a driving force of the Initiative’s mission development.
Roles & Responsibilities
I am the full-time staff person dedicated to this project, and provide both administrative and content support to the Initiative. I was connected to the Casino Road Initiative through my position as an ESL teacher through Seattle Goodwill’s partnership with the YMCA and Edmonds Community College on Casino Road. In April when I started this position, I was happy to find out that my office would be just steps away from the classroom I had been teaching in, allowing me to stay connected and up-to-date with the community. I am excited to be part of an opportunity such as the Casino Road Initiative that’s so poised to tap into the great potential of this community.
In order to further the collaborative work of the Initiative, a Steering Committee comprised of a diverse group of individuals was created. Members were chosen based on their connections to the community and their ability to bring crucial knowledge and services to Casino Road. However, because keeping the Steering Committee to a manageable size was essential to the success of the project, only a few representatives from any particular sector were chosen to serve on the Committee. Almost one-third of the group currently lives or has lived on Casino Road. The members are: Maddy Metzger-Utt, The Community Foundation of Snohomish County,
Lark Kesterke, United Way of Snohomish County, Ruth Bermudez, Parent Liaison at Horizon
Elementary, Jim Welsh, ChildStrive, Wendy McClure, Office of Neighborhoods, Felipe
Hernandez, Owner of Los Gavilanes, Kay Knox, Within Reach, Alison Brynelson, Deputy
Superintendent of MSD, Todd McNeal, Hand in Hand, Scott Swanson, StockPot, Wendy
Westby, Everett Housing Authority, Elsa Prieto, Casino Road Resident and Volunteer, Cory
Armstrong-Hoss, YMCA of Snohomish County, Adrian Camez, Boeing, Maria Peña, Everett Community College, Anastasia Garcia, Molina Healthcare
Updates & Activities
The Steering Committee has met four times since April.
We have contracted with the Giving Practice to provide facilitation and support for forming a successful collaborative group.
Data has been collected from over 30 individual and group interviews with community stakeholders, in addition to other sources of data such as from the census or school district. We will be creating and sharing a baseline report of community data by the Fall.
We are working on defining the geographical boundaries of the Casino Road community. Community members serving on the Committee have been integral to this process as they talk to family and friends and gather community feedback on this topic.
I met with a group of local Latina moms that meet every Friday on Casino Road for coffee and conversation to provide updates on the Initiative and to brainstorm ideas on how to ensure community involvement. Connections with community groups such as this one are essential to providing continuous community feedback to the Initiative.
Maddy Metzger-Utt and I presented to the Everett City Council on the Initiative in May. It was featured in the Herald the next day, which you can read here.
Maddy, Lark Kesterke, and I presented on the Initiative to a convening of regional philanthropic organizations at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation last week.
We are in the process of creating a communication plan, which will include monthly updates such as this, a Facebook page, and a website. More information on this will be shared as available.
How You Can Help
Interested in getting involved? Here’s how:
As we learn about the needs and strengths of this community, we are continuously looking for more information that will help us serve this community better.
Share your knowledge
Share existing data
Connect me with someone we should be talking to about Casino Road