It Takes a Village

“It takes a village.” We have all heard our parents, siblings, friends, and colleagues repeat this phrase to express how necessary collaboration is when it comes to parenting, and helping a young person navigate their adolescence.

At New Brunswick Tomorrow we view youth policies, programming, or strategies as holistic. We are not singularly concerned with early childhood development, or with workforce preparation. We are invested in all the years, aspects, supports, and dynamics that comprise a young person’s journey to self-sufficient adulthood. Moreover, we recognize that it is only through fruitful, collaborative work with our community partners that we are able to impact and influence the youth in New Brunswick.

The month of September in the youth space is always one of transition. As sunscreen gets traded in for backpacks, and academic calendars fill up, the community rallies in an effort to ready students for the school year. The School Based Youth Services Program uses the late summer as a time to reflect, assess, and plan. To, in essence, focus on efficiency and effectiveness in preparation for the deluge of students to come.

The month of September functions primarily to establish and strengthen communication with educational leadership, to collaborate internally around shared outcomes and priorities, and most importantly, to re-engage students in an endeavor to develop partnerships wherein which trust and understanding serve as building blocks. To that end, all School Based programs attended Back to School Night at their respective buildings,  and offered information to parents and students on what services School Based provides, and how to enroll if they so choose. In addition, as part of a statewide NJ Department of Children and Families initiative, the School Based Program also distributed information for Suicide Prevention month.

As a district, New Brunswick is currently grappling with chronic absenteeism and all of the implications poor attendance mean for our students. New Brunswick Tomorrow met with New Brunswick Board of Education to discuss a strategic partnership on this critical issue and to communicate concerning data on graduation rates in the city. NBT was then asked to present this data to the Chronic Absenteeism Task Force, a group comprised of community partners, student and family advocates, as well as school and administrative leadership. Efforts to understand the root causes of absenteeism, as well as to incentivize attendance are not only underway, but gaining traction. Community partners, local stakeholders, students, parents, and educators alike are convening with urgency to present and discuss both pressing needs, and innovative solutions to chronic absenteeism.

Bolstered by positive feedback and encouraging data, we are incredibly proud of what we have accomplished, and excited for the work to be done. What continues to inspire us NBT’ers the most, are the people we serve, the stories that we become a part of, and the lives we better. We have been, are, and will continue to be purposefully committed to Moving People Forward.

October 15, 2018

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