Welcome to the Casino Road Initiative’s August Update! We’ve had a busy few weeks, and we’re excited to share our progress with everyone.
National Night Out
Last month, a group of Latina moms that meet weekly for coffee and conversation at Hand in Hand expressed interest in getting involved with the Initiative’s work. We talked about how the Initiative’s key work right now is connecting with the community and gathering community feedback. This group of mothers suggested we put together a group of volunteers and attend a popular community event – National Night Out. National Night Out is an event promoting relationships between law enforcement and the community, which is celebrated in communities across the country every August. This year, both the Evergreen Branch Library and the Boys and Girls Club of Casino Road hosted events. Fast forward 2 very hectic weeks, and we had an excellent team of over 10 different trained community volunteers. Speaking Spanish, English, and Russian, these volunteers helped write and translate a 6-question survey around how well the Casino Road neighborhood meets families’ needs. By the end of the night our volunteers spoke with over 130 people! Below are some quick stats gathered by the surveys. A complete report will be available at a later date.
70% of people surveyed were adults, 30% were youth and children
84% of adult respondents live in a zip code included in the Casino Road neighborhood
60% of all people surveyed spoke English; 35% spoke Spanish, and 3% spoke Russian
Some of the most common responses to a question around un-met needs in the community included: Low-cost childcare, Security, Low-cost medical care for adults, and a Recreation/Community Center for families and youth.
We could not have had such a successful outcome without our wonderful volunteers. Please take a look at some of the pictures captured at the event (attached here). It was a fun night!
Making Connections: Eastside Pathways
One of the norms adopted by our Steering Committee states that we will always bring “curiosity, honesty, passion, and an open-mind” to our work. In the spirit of that statement, we reached out to another collaborative project called Eastside Pathways out of Bellevue that has been doing this kind of work since 2011. Eastside Pathways’ mission, focused around educational success, is to support every child from cradle to career. We’ve learned a lot through our conversations with them, around both what has worked for them, and what hasn’t! For more information on this wonderful project, take a look at their website.
Creating a System
One of the most important things we heard in our conversations with Eastside Pathways is how important it is to establish strong, clear systems early on in the collaborative. If the group isn’t built on a solid foundation, then it is very difficult to be successful in the future. We’ve taken that advice to heart, and have been working hard to create a clear governance structure for our group. That means knowing how we will make decisions, how we will execute those decisions, and who we are accountable to. As one step forward in this process, we have created 3 separate Working Groups that will focus on specific objectives. They are a Governance group, a Data group, and a Community Engagement group.
The Governance group will be researching different models for how to structure a collaborative group.
The Data group will be analyzing data we’ve been collecting the last year and help make recommendations on how we should move forward.
The Community Engagement group will also research different models of ensuring the community is continuously involved in making and carrying out decisions.
We strive towards data-informed decision making. We have contracted with a Data Specialist who is in the process of helping us synthesize several different sources of data into a single report. From focus groups and surveys to school district and Census data, this report will help guide us towards seeing where the Initiative can have the greatest positive impact for families in Casino Road. Our goal is to have this report completed by the Fall, and we look forward to sharing it with the community when it is complete.
Last but not least, we have created a Facebook page for the Initiative! To stay up-to-date and find even more ways to get involved, find and follow us at www.facebook.com/CasinoRoadInitiative/. We look forward to connecting with you!
As always, please let me know if there is anyone else we should be connecting with. Thank you for your support, and feel free to reach out with any questions of comments!