Posts Tagged ‘Georgia’
On Oct. 3, I’ll be speaking in Atlanta, in the beautiful building above, as part of SCAD’s Ivy Hall Writers Series. More details on this and other talks I’ll be doing this fall can be found on the new Appearances page on my website.
1. In Winston-Salem, N.C., more than 25 non-profit agencies have come together to form the Promise Neighborhood Community Collaborative in order to create a Promise Neighborhood in the Ibraham school district. According to this article in Yes! Weekly, “Whatever It Takes” helped inspire the project:
Lee Koch, principal of Prince Ibraham Elementary School, said it was Tough’s book that first inspired community leaders in Winston-Salem to look into the possibility of identifying one neighborhood as a potential Promise Neighborhood.
2. In Kinston, N.C., community leaders have joined forces with faculty and graduate students from the University of North Carolina’s Community-Campus Partnership to create the Kinston Promise Neighborhood. According to this article in ENC Today, the neighborhood will cover 81 blocks in the city’s East Kinston and Mitchelltown neighborhoods.
4. And in June, a reporter for Minnesota Public Radio filed this report on the 250-block St. Paul Promise Neighborhood, which “hopes to counteract the effects of poverty on children by creating a network of so-called ‘cradle-to-career’ services.”
In the end, the success of Promise Neighborhoods will depend on how well individual communities like Athens implement the fundamentals of the Harlem Children’s Zone, he said.
“Whether these programs succeed or fail will not be decided in Washington D.C.,” Tough said. “It will be decided in communities like these. If we can use this moment to gather the right resources and people and spirit in places like Athens, I think we have a chance to make a real and lasting difference for the kids who need our help the most.”
In the Athens Banner-Herald, a report on my visit to Athens tomorrow, which will include a talk at the University of Georgia chapel. The visit is being organized in part by Whatever It Takes, the local non-profit group that recently received a Promise Neighborhood planning grant:
“It’s so exciting,” said Ryan Lewis, communications director for Whatever It Takes. “Paul has been talking on an international level about what we’re trying to do here. … Because we’ve done such great work, we’re able to bring somebody like that to the community, and bring even more information and have a dialogue here.”
We *just* received tons of boxes via UPS: they contain 200 copies of Paul Tough’s WHATEVER IT TAKES for the Dec. 2nd event at UGA. We’re looking forward to selling these books to you so that you can have Mr. Tough sign them. We’ve helped with several events before, but never one this big (or, arguably, this significant for the Athens community).
Janet, one of the bookstore’s owners, adds this tempting offer:
if you live in Athens, we can arrange for you to get the book before then with no shipping cost (as I’ll drop it off myself).
Tough’s knowledge of Canada’s work should be of great local interest. In recent months, a new local initiative patterned after Canada’s work called “Whatever It Takes” (www.witathens.org) was formed to address the poverty problem, by setting a goal that by July 1st, 2020 every child in Athens-Clarke County will be on track to graduate from some sort of post-secondary education.
There’s some anticipatory coverage of the talk in the Athens Banner-Herald. And on Beyond the Trestle, a local news and politics blog, there’s a pep talk from the good people at Avid Bookshop in Athens, who will be selling books at the event.
On December 2, at 5:30 pm, I’ll be giving a talk in Athens, Georgia, at the University of Georgia chapel. Details here. The talk is connected to the city’s Whatever It Takes initiative, which was recently awarded a Promise Neighborhood planning grant. (I wrote about the Athens initiative — and embedded a video featuring Michael Stipe — back in July.)
This week, the education department announced the 21 recipients of Promise Neighborhood planning grants, from the Abyssinian Development Corporation in Harlem to Proyecto Pastoral at Dolores Mission in Los Angeles. The department’s press release lists the other 19 winners, and more details are here. There was a good AP overview, and a story on the New York angle in the Times.
If the group doesn’t receive federal funds to implement the plan, Whatever it Takes volunteers will continue to seek donations of time or cash from foundations, individuals and other service agencies both near and far, according to Lewis Earnest, chairman of the board for Family Connection/Communities in Schools of Athens.
“We’ve got some investment capital and we believe that we can show other people, other foundations and individuals and state and local government that we’ve got a good plan,” Earnest said.
More news stories about communities around the country using the example of the Harlem Children’s Zone to develop new strategies to help poor children succeed. In the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, an article about a new nonprofit working to rebuild that city’s Lindsay Heights neighborhood. From North Minneapolis comes news about the Northside Achievement Zone. There are two big initiatives in New Jersey, one in Newark, and one in Camden.
The name “Whatever It Takes” was taken from the title of a book by Paul Tough, an account of the Harlem Children’s Zone, a large-scale social service project that inundates children in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood with educational and health services aimed at turning them into college graduates. Following the Obama Administration’s announcement of the Promise Neighborhood grant in April, the U.S. Department of Education stated that the program would be based in part on the Harlem Children’s Zone model. Even so, Earnest and Johnson say that WIT is not intended to be a replication of that project.
Here’s a video from Athens, introduced by Michael Stipe:
June 30 was the deadline for groups applying for Promise Neighborhood planning grants, and according to this story in Youth Today, the department of education received 339 separate applications for the 20 grants. The department’s web site posted an interactive map showing where the applications came from. NPR did a story. And the Nonprofit Quarterly had some predictions:
Who is likely to get the Promise Neighborhoods designations? Potential applicants are sorting through their competitive advantages and disadvantages. Those with histories of foundation support and backing have something of a leg up in generating matching dollars, such as the Highline School District in and around Seattle, which boasts a decade of involvement from the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Making Connections project. An impending Los Angeles County application boasts the involvement of a funders consortium including the California Endowment and the Annenberg Foundation. For the Dwight neighborhood of New Haven, Connecticut, long the focus of planning efforts over the years, the presence of Yale as a neighbor constitutes a level of institutional and technical credibility.
Meanwhile, there was plenty of local coverage of specific applicants, including stories, editorials, and letters from Charleston, South Carolina; Rochester, New York; St. Paul, Minnesota; Norwich, Connecticut; Athens, Georgia; Las Vegas; northeast Ohio; and a Native American community in rural Colorado.