Emerson Park Neighborhood Revitalization Plan

[ Contents ]

VI. HUMAN SERVICES

Objective: Respond to the Unmet Needs of Youth and their Families and Empower all Residents

"The children should come first… We need to do something for the children first of all." -Emerson Park Resident

Contents

The Emerson Park community has voiced a strong commitment to serving the children and families of the neighborhood. The neighborhood recognizes that in order to develop a truly "sustainable neighborhood" there must be a commitment to develop comprehensive, neighborhood-based services that will assure that the needs of all residents, individuals, children, youth, families, and elderly, are being met. Local efforts at putting the needs of children and families first, however, have been challenged by the presence of illegal drug activity, high crime, persistent poverty, and urban blight. These conditions threaten the neighborhood’s effort to nurture and sustain local families and children. With almost half, 44.3%, of the Emerson Park population under the age of 18 years, and the vast majority of these children living in single parent homes, there is an immense need for a broad range of human and social services programs that are aimed at meeting the special needs of the children and families in the community.

There is a need for innovative early childhood programs both for the children and their families. There is a need for positive and meaningful educational, recreational, and social opportunities for our youth and young adults. There is a need for better access to health care for all residents, especially elderly and very low income individuals. Residents, community leaders and program providers confirm the need for such services. Emerson Park youth form the central resource for the future of the neighborhood. The responsibility for developing this resource rests on the entire community. Realizing these facts, this area of the plan will serve to develop an array of programs, resources, and services for the children, youth and families of Emerson Park. Proposed program initiatives address youth development, youth leadership development, vocational training, community celebrations, and youth entrepreneurial development.

Appropriate programs for family and youth development serve to strengthen young people and their families in a manner that embraces diversity. Building on existing family and community resources, such programs will create a web of strong partnerships among children, youth, families, and elderly persons, as well as the providers, and community leaders. This web of community links individuals together so that they can better work toward a common goal, celebrate a shared history, recognize shared achievements, and support healthy development. Through this process, the power of community is realized and the social resources of the community grow. This type of approach is central to all of the programs that will be developed by the Emerson Park Development Corporation as they draw on the local belief in meeting the needs of children and families and build on the rich social and cultural history of the Emerson Park neighborhood.

Statement of Need –provided by the Lessie Bates Davis Neighborhood House

The "1998 State of America’s Children" by the Children’s Defense Fund identifies numerous "indicators" of a child's ability to survive and thrive. Some of these indicators include low birth weight, the infant morality rate, child abuse and neglect, single teen pregnancy, poverty, and living environment. When a child is experiencing one or more of these indicators, the child (and family) can be considered to be "At-Risk".

Today there are thousands of children throughout the state of Illinois who are affected by common areas of risk. However, for the children and families in the greater East St. Louis community, the very quality of their lives are "at-risk" because of the overwhelming social, economic and environmental problems that exist in this community.

In 1999, there are a greater number of children and families in the greater East St. Louis who are considered "at-risk" then ever before in history. These families are facing numerous problems, often at the same time. Poverty, single parenthood, lack of education and job skills, teenage parenthood and substance abuse often converge in the same family. These multi-problem families are being forced to live in multi-problem neighborhoods, such as the Emerson Park neighborhood, where the poverty rate, crime rate, drug use, and other social indicators are disproportionately high and community institutions are fragile.

Environmental factors such as poverty, violence, poor social support systems, employment status, and parental mental health have all been linked to subsequent problems for children and families. Failure To Thrive, Child Abuse, School Failure, Juvenile Delinquency, and Mental Retardation are often the results in the targeted communities. There are very few communities in the United States today where all of these factors are more prevalent than in East St. Louis, Illinois.

Poverty

Research has documented that the stress of poverty and its related problems are consistently linked to poor parenting and a child's ability to thrive, school failure, and poor educational outcomes.

Over 98% of the targeted population is African American. The greater East St. Louis area has the lowest per capita income in the State of Illinois (less than $7,500). Over 70% of children under three years of age are living in poverty in the greater East St. Louis area, or five times greater than that of the entire St. Clair County.

Low Care and Low Birth-Weight

A baby's weight at birth is a key indicator of an infant's ability to thrive. Compared to babies of normal weight, underweight babies who survive are seven to ten times more likely to have school problems. However, African American babies are much more vulnerable. Women who do not receive early prenatal care are much more likely to give birth to low birth weight babies. According to the 1996 statistics from the Department of Public Health there were a total of 854 live births in the greater East St. Louis area. According to Public Health, 15.3 percent of these birth had little or no prenatal care (as compared with only 6.1 percent for St. Clair County). Over 85% of the births were to single parents (as compared to 47% for the entire county). Over thirteen (13%) percent of the births in the greater East St. Louis area were Low Birth Weight (as compared to 8.9% for the county).

Low Educational Level of Parents

Research has shown that a parent or parents' educational level can place a child at risk for various reasons. The educational level is often linked to the parents ability to obtain a job and provide basic necessities for the child. Nearly half of all poor female head-of-households in America today have not finished high school. The educational level of the parent has also been linked to the parents lack of needed parenting skills and their ability to provide the type and level of nurturing and infant stimulation that is needed in the very early years. Over forty-two (42%) percent of all persons over 25 years of age in the greater East St. Louis community have not obtained a high school diploma.

Single Teen Births

According to the "1997 Kids Count Data Book", a teenage mother is less likely to complete her education than a teenager who is not a mother. As a consequence her job prospects are limited and she is more likely to be poor. The teenage mother is less likely to get prenatal care, and their babies are more vulnerable as a result.

Children of early child bearers are more likely to have developmental delays and behavioral problems; by high school they are more likely to fail academically or become delinquent. Over 31% of the births in the greater East St. Louis area in 1996 were to teen parents, as compared to just over 19% for the entire county.

Housing, Homelessness and Neighborhood Environment

Millions of children and youth in America are "at-risk" because they are living in overcrowded unhealthy and unsafe, substandard housing. Living in substandard housing presents a serious health problem for the children and their families. One of the mothers from the Program stated that "trying to raise your children in an overcrowded and run-down old apartment with utility bills going out the roof and feeling like you're going to get broken into every night is a full time job in itself and leaves very little time for trying to play or work with your children". According to the local Community Development Department the greater East St. Louis has one of the worst housing conditions in the entire state of Illinois. Over thirty (30%) percent of housing units are considered substandard. The housing stock in the area is rated last on six of seven quality housing indicators identified by the federal government.

Drug and Alcohol Use

The linkage between drug and alcohol use and child abuse and neglect and a child's ability to thrive is well documented and must be considered one of the Risk Factors for very young children. Two New York studies conclude, "Drug abuse continues to pose the greatest single threat to very young children's overall well-being". According to the U.S. Attorney Office the greater East St. Louis area has the second highest drug related arrest record in the state of Illinois. Half of the women presented for obstetrical care in the greater East St. Louis area are abusing some substance according to local Health District statistics. Visiting Nurses report at least ten drug affected infants on their caseload all the time.

The problems facing the children and families in the greater East St. Louis area often seem overwhelming. Over the past years local and state agencies from both the private and public sector have come together to try to identify new strategies for meeting the special needs of our very young children, and often very young parents.

As part of a 1996 Community Needs Assessment the Lessie Bates Davis Neighborhood House, a community center in the Emerson Park Neighborhood conducted a series of Focus Groups in several neighborhoods throughout the East St. Louis community including the Emerson Park neighborhood. The Focus Group participants involved residents from each of the neighborhoods as well as parents from a broad range of human services programs including the Comprehensive Child Development Program, the Early Prevention Initiative Program, and Metro East Community Services Program, and the Head Start Program. The Focus Groups involved parents, community leaders, and representatives from the majority of private and public health, mental health, education, child development, and social service agencies in the greater East St. Louis area. The Focus Group participants first identified what they felt were the major problems in the community. These areas were very similar to those problems and issues that were previously identified as "indicators" of a young child's ability to service and thrive. The five major areas were Poverty, Poor Education, Poor Housing, Unemployment, and Drug and Alcohol Abuse.

The Focus Group participants discussed the needs of parents and families, both for the very young child, as well as for all children and youth. The consensus among the Focus Group Participants was that what the parents and families needed was a "sufficient income" that would allow them to meet the "basic needs" of their children and their families. Parents felt that often the majority of their time was spent in struggling on a daily basis just to pay the rent and keep their heat on, and often, they did not have the energy or time to spend with their children.

In order to obtain decent income parents stated that they needed help in finding a job, or in obtaining the needed training to obtain a good paying job. If parents found a job they felt they would at least need quality Day Care for their children. In relation to existing services the majority of parents stated that they felt there were a large number of quality services in the community. However, because of the large number of children, parents and families needing the services, that "level" of services available was not sufficient to meet needs in the community. The parents stated that, "most of the good programs were already filled up and you couldn't get into them".

The parents stated that there was a serious problem with accessing needed services including health services, mainly because of transportation needs. The parents stated that there was very limited access to parent education and child development training. Parents stated that there was limited access to "good" employment training or adult education services and there was very little assistance available in really helping parents obtain jobs in the community.

Based on the serious need which exist in the greater East St. Louis area, the parents, families, and community based organizations who participated in the planning and development of this proposal felt that this area needed additional funding to support the development of a comprehensive Family Support Program for all the children, youth, and families in the Greater East St. Louis community.

Strategies

Strategies A through D have been proposed by the Lessie Bates Davis Neighborhood House, the leading human service provider in the Emerson Park neighborhood and the home of the Emerson Park Development Corporation. Strategies E through I have been developed through the planning process to create this document.

The Emerson Park Neighborhood has embraced the goals of the "Sustainable Neighborhood Initiative". The Emerson Park Neighborhood wants to develop and support human services programs that empower and strengthen all residents in the neighborhood, from the "least resourceful" to the "most resourceful" individuals and families in the neighborhood. However, the children and youth in the neighborhood are certainly the priority for the development of a comprehensive human services plan.

The residents of Emerson Park believe that children need strong families, effective institutions and strong neighborhoods. Those things are everyone’s business. The old proverb is very true, "It takes a village to raise a child". However, its important to remember that the village is the churches, the city government, school board, health professionals, families, and businesses. When everyone shares a vision for a healthy community, our children will prosper. Emerson Park neighborhood wants to develop programs and services that will help individuals and families who have become isolated as well as those who simply need minimum support to enable them to continue to provide for their children and families. Emerson Park wants to help families become connected to economic opportunities, positive social networks, educational, training, and employment service and high quality for the elderly resources.

The Emerson Park Neighborhood is planning to develop specific services for the children and families in the community. These services can be classified into two categories:

Family Prevention/Support Services

Development of Family Prevention/Support Services. These services are community based prevention activities designed to alleviate stress and promote parental competencies and behaviors that will increase the ability of families to successfully nurture their children: enable families to use other resources and opportunities available in the community; and supportive networks to enhance child rearing abilities of parents and help compensate for the increases isolation and vulnerability of families.

Family Intervention/Treatment Services

Family Intervention/Treatment Services. These services will include services designed to help families alleviate crisis and provide on-going counseling and support that will maintain the safety of the children and all families members in their own homes.

Overall Human Service Goals for the Emerson Park Neighborhood

A. Early Childhood Development Program

Recent research has shown that the first three years of a child’s life are critical to the development of the child. The residents of the Emerson Park Neighborhood want to see all parents, grandparents, and family members obtain the needed early childhood development training that will enable them to provide quality nurturing and care for their very young children.

Outcome Objectives:

  1. 100% of parents receive needed prenatal and needed support services during pregnancy and after birth in the first 12 months of program.
  2. 100% of very young children, birth to three years, and their families receive comprehensive social services and "early childhood development" training and support.
  3. 100% of children are transitioned from very young child development programs into Head Start, Day Care, or school districts’ Early Childhood Development Programs.

Action Steps:

  1. Provide additional funding for Early Prevention Initiative and for Illinois Healthy Families Initiative to assure enrollment of all children in the Emerson Park neighborhood. Services include, Screening and Assessment, Parent Education Community Outreach and Advocacy, Child Development Training and Activities, Life Skills Classes, Family Recreation and Support. This would include the development of the Emerson Park Parents Support Group. Estimated cost. $175,500 for Parent/Child Development Training and Family Support Program to serve 75 children and their families. (Figures based on present reimbursement from Illinois State Board of Education for Prevention Initiative Program). Three year commitment $525,000.
  2. Develop and provide quality, affordable Day Care for all residents in the Emerson Park Neighborhood. Provide "25% matching funds" for 50 day care slots for a one year period, $62,000. For a three year commitment, $186,000.

B. Successful in School and Ready for Work

According to a 1999 report by the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, called "State of Our Children", East St. Louis had a graduation rate of only 53% in 1996. In 1998 the children and youth in the East St. Louis School District 189 had some of the lowest test scores in the entire state of Illinois. Today, there is a serious truancy problem in the schools and a very high suspension rate among middle school and high school students.

Outcome Objectives:

  1. Increase the academic achievement levels of 50% of the children and youth in the Emerson Park neighborhood, ages 6 to 18.
  2. Increase the level of "after-school" tutoring and homework assistance programs, recreational and sports programs, and cultural arts programs and related youth development programs.
  3. Increase by 30% the number of parents who become actively involved in assuring quality local PTA and other school based organizational activities.

Action Steps:

  1. Develop the Emerson Park Parent and Youth Advisory Board to plan and coordinate all children and youth activities with local organizations. Utilize the Neighborhood House’s Community Services Program staff in collaboration with the Emerson Park Development Corporation to implement the Advisory Board.
  2. Expand the hours of operation and the level of services in the Youth In Action Program at the Neighborhood House to accommodate additional children and youth. Coordinate with the Jackie Joyner -Kersee Boys and Girls Club to provide additional children and youth services. Estimated Cost: $65,000 for program expansion at the Neighborhood House to serve an additional 100 children and youth per year. Three year commitment of $195,000.

C. Increased Health and Safety of Children and Their Families

The population of the Emerson Park Neighborhood is very diverse. There are many single parent families who have limited access to needed health care. There are many very low income elderly who need special health care that they cannot afford. There are also many single men and women with no health insurance of any kind and limited access to needed health care. One of the most serious "health threats" to both children and women in the East St. Louis community is that of child abuse and neglect and domestic violence.

Outcome Objectives:

  1. Develop and implement a "neighborhood-based networking system" for assuring the provision of needed Health Care to 100% of children, families and elderly persons in the neighborhood.
  2. Increase by 50% the utilization of existing Health Care Services by all residents in the Emerson Park neighborhood.
  3. Reduce the child abuse and neglect rate and the level of domestic violence in the Emerson Park neighborhood by 100% for all families which participate in the neighborhood-based prevention programs.

Action Steps:

  1. To develop a Comprehensive Individual and Family Support Program that will provide case- management, advocacy, and support services to all residents in the Emerson Park Neighborhood. As part of the Individual and Family Support Program a new "single point of entry system" will be developed which will improve the accessibility to needed health care and human services. The first step will be to secure funding to hire two full time Neighborhood and Family Advocates.
  2. The Individual and Family Support Program will be aimed at increasing the skills of the individuals and families in order to more effectively meet the Health Care and Human Service needs of their children and families and that of their neighbors. The key to effective Family Support Services is the prudent and sensible management of both private and public sector resources coupled with local planning and coordination of all health and human services. Estimated Cost: $125.000. Cost for 3 years. $375,000.

  3. Development of a new Emerson Park Family Development Center. The Lessie Bates Davis Neighborhood House is interested in developing a Family Development Center which would provide space for expanding the agency’s Day Care Services to both existing and new Emerson Park residents and would house a broad range of support services for the individuals, families, and elderly persons in the community. Estimated Cost; $1.5 million.

D. Parents Working

Though the official unemployment rate in the East St. Louis community is approximately 10%, the unofficial unemployment rate is closer to 40%. There are presently over 2,000 parents receiving Temporary Aid to Need Families, or TANF benefits and who are now required to obtain and maintain needed employment. There are also over 400 men and women who do not have any children and are receiving benefits under the Illinois Earnfare Program but who need to obtain needed employment. Over 55% of these persons do have a High School Degree or a GED and have very limited job skills.

Outcome Objectives:

  1. To decrease the unemployment rate in the Emerson Park neighborhood by 30% over the next 12 months.

Action Steps:

  1. To expand the Illinois Job Advantage Program and the Illinois Earnfare Program to assist Emerson Park residents, both youth and adults, in obtaining and maintaining employment. These two programs will provide Recruitment, Assessment, Job Ready Training, Job Placement Services, and Job Retention Services for the residents in the Emerson Park neighborhood. The Neighborhood House presently administers the Job Advantage Program and networks with the East St. Louis Township on several job programs including the Illinois Earnfare Program. Estimated Cost: $135,000. Three year commitment. $405,000.
  2. To develop a local business that would provide Transportation for the residents in the Emerson Park Neighborhood. The most important "support service" that is presently needed in the Emerson Park neighborhood is low cost or no cost Transportation Services. In order to achieve the outcome objectives established in each of the "sustainable neighborhood goals" the residents in Emerson Park need easily accessible transportation. Transportation is needed by the elderly who often feel as if they are prisoners in their own homes because of the lack of transportation services.

The parents with 2 and 3 small children need transportation to the day care at 6:00 a.m. in order to get to work by 7:00 in St. Louis. The children and youth need transportation to and from all of the after school programs and activities, especially with the development of the new Jackie Joyner -Kersee Center.

For this reason it is proposed that Emerson Park Development Corporation in partnership with the Lessie Bates Davis Neighborhood House assist local unemployed residents in setting up a Transportation Business or Transportation Co-op to provide the needed transportation for all ages of individuals and families in the Emerson Park community. The program would use 15 passenger Vans, Mini Vans, and Cars to provide appropriate transportation for various groups depending on the need. Reimbursement for services would be set by the Businesses in cooperation with the Emerson Park Development Corporation and the Neighborhood House.

Fees could be reimbursed through both the Department of Human Services, the Department of Children and Family Services, and the Department of Aging. Estimate initiate first year cost: $75,000. The business would become independent after the first year of operation.

Costs:

SECTION I: PROGRAMMATIC COSTS

1. Salaries Charged to this Program Only

Name

Title

% of Time

Job Description

Hourly Wage

# of Hours

Total Charges

a. Johnnie Penelton

Program Director

25%

Job Search

$25.97

487.5

$12,660

b. To be hired

Employment Specialist /Job Coach

100%

Job Placement Service

$15.50

1950

$30,225

c. To be hired

Employment Specialist /Job Coach

100%

Job Placement Service

$15.50

1950

$30,225

Total Salaries:

$73,110

2. Fringes Charged to this Program Only

a. Johnnie Penelton

Program Director

$12,660 X 22.5%=

$2,850

b. To be hired

Employment Specialist /Job Coach

$30,225 X 22.5%=

$6,800

c. To be hired

Employment Specialist /Job Coach

$30,225 X 22.5%=

$6,800

Total Fringes:

$16,450

3. Professional Fees and Contractual

a. Job readiness training subcontract with LBDNH, 4 classes / 4 weeks each

$25,000

b. Substance abuse testing and counseling (subcontractor to be named later)

$12,500

Total Contractual:

$37,500

4. Program Supplies

a. Training manuals, books and other educational related supplies

Monthly

$900

$10,800

Total Program:

$10,800

5. Equipment Costs

a. 2 Pentiums II 300 MHZ Computer, 48 Meg Ram, 15 inch monitor, 4 gig hard drive

$4,000

b. Overhead projector, video recorder, TV and additional training equipment

$3,600

Total Equipment:

$7,600

6. Insurance

Liability insurance for all participants

Monthly

$750

$9,000

TOTAL PROGRAMMATIC COSTS:

$154,460

SECTION II: ADMINISTRATICE COSTS

7. Salaries Charged to this Program Only

Name

Title

% of Time

Job Description

Hourly Wage

# of Hours

Total Charges

a. Aundrea Young

Comptroller

5%

Supervision, monitoring and overall administration

$23.77

97

$2,306

b.Rita Brown

Accountant

10%

Monitoring/fiscal reports

$13.46

195

$2,625

c. To be hired

Secretary/data entry clerk

50%

Data collection, daily MIS

$9.25

975

$9,019

Total Salaries:

$13,950

8. Fringes Charged to this Program Only

a. Aundrea Young

Comptroller

$2,306 X 22.5% =

$519

b.Rita Brown

Accountant

$2,625 X 22.5% =

$591

c. To be hired

Secretary/data entry clerk

$9,019 X 22.5% =

$2,029

Total Fringes:

$3,139

9. Other Administrative Costs

a. Three 2 line electronic phones with local and long distance service

Monthly

$100

$1,200

b. Office supplies, file folders, legal pads, pens, pencils, etc.

Monthly

$175

$2,100

c. Postage, direct mail for each participant, printing forms, brochures and publications

Monthly

$150

$1,800

Total Other Admin:

$5,100

TOTAL ADMINISTRATIVE COSTS:

$22,189

SECTION III: SUPPORT COSTS

10. Transportation

Provision of van transportation for participants. Includes transportation of children to day care &parents to all training classes.

a. Monthly lease of 2-15 passenger vans

Monthly

$2,400

$28,800

b. Fuel, oil, insurance and routine maintenance

Monthly

$500

$6,000

c. Van driver

To be hired

100%

Program transportation

$7.10/hr

20 hrs/wk

$7,384

Total Transportation:

$42,184

11. Occupancy

a. Office and program space including training space. $8.75 per SF * 600 SF

Monthly

$438

$5,256

TOTAL SUPPORT SERVICES:

$47,440

IN-KIND CONTRIBUTION

a. To be hired

$7.10 per hour at 20 hours per week, including benefits

$7,384

TOTAL PROGRAMMATIC COSTS

$154,460

TOTAL ADMINISTRATIVE COSTS

$22,189

TOTAL SUPPORT COST

$47,440

TOTAL PROPOSED COSTS OF THIS PROGRAM

$224,089

E. Community Carnival

Community celebrations serve to strengthen social ties, solidify community identities, and improve community morale. By sharing in the celebration of cooperative accomplishments, community members realize the weight of their achievements and the power of community.

A past program idea and a renewed interest exists among local youth and adults to organize a Community Carnival. This program will establish an annual community-wide celebration to be held in Cannaday Park in August of each year. The Carnival celebration will serve to provide a venue for publicly recognizing community achievements as well as means for increasing community awareness of local programs. A showcase of family and youth programs will be included, along with carnival rides, fun booths, a double dutch competition, a basketball tournament, a pet parade, and any other activities desired.

During the Summer of 1998, several participants of the JTPA program did research on possible activities to be included in a Community Carnival. These ideas are listed below. The youth listed the materials needed, activity directions, and the cost of the activities (in pennies). Activities for both adults and youth were identified. The full report from the JTPA workers is on file with EPDC.

Implementation Timeline: Year 1

Action Steps:

  1. Organize a group of interested EPDC and Youth Advisory Board members to plan the carnival.
  2. Begin planning by brainstorming event ideas, considering the feasibility of each by evaluating costs and needed resources, as compared to funds available, and then selecting events and activities to include in the carnival. Most of the ideas will come from the document created by the JTPA workers in the Summer of 1998. These youth should be recruited to participate in the planning of the carnival.
  3. Pick a date, time and place to hold the Carnival. One idea is to have the Carnival in the middle of summer in Cannaday Park or in Parsons Field.
  4. Assign responsibility for carrying out the many details involved in implementing the Carnival
  5. Formalize the schedule of events for the day of fun.
  6. Publicize the event to increase community awareness and support. Do this by flyering the neighborhood, putting signs in all of the schools, and asking residents to bring all their young relatives.
  7. Hold the event – celebrate its success!
  8. Evaluate the event based on feedback from the Youth Advisory Board and on the following criteria:
  9. Plan for the next carnival, building on the results of the first one.

Participating Organizations:

Costs:

The cost of a Carnival will vary depending on the size, scale and activities. An estimate of first year cost including advertising, rental of equipment, prizes, food and other needed items totals $750. The costs increase slightly each year to improve the event.

Possible Funding Sources:

F. Conflict Resolution Classes

Children living in East St. Louis are faced with undue pressures and hardships that children in higher income areas do not face. On a daily basis the youth of Emerson Park are exposed to wide-spread poverty, unemployment, hazards to health and safety, and crime. The forces of poverty and urban decline often encourage youth to take their emotions out in negative and damaging ways. Youth are quick to quarrel and fight physically as a way to solve conflict. Residents have expressed interest in teaching children to react to conflict in positive, non-violent ways.

The Lessie Bates Davis Neighborhood House is a designated "Safe Haven" for local youth. A Safe Haven is a secured location free of drugs, violence, and guns. At the Safe Haven, youth are encouraged to use recreational and social facilities that provide an array of supportive services. LBD offers structured recreational, social, sports, and educational programs to youth in an environment protected by security personnel or police in combination with restricted access or other physical barriers. The Conflict Resolution Classes can be added to the Safe Havens program to enhance the Safe Haven’s ability to teach youth the wrong and right ways of dealing with conflict.

Implementation Timeline: Year 2

Action Steps:

  1. Consult with director of Safe Haven to discuss the addition of Conflict Resolution classes to the programs. Determine if it is feasible to have these classes be offered at LBD. Consult with the Christian Activity Center to see if they are interested in participating.
  2. Research successful conflict resolution classes and acquire books and videos on the topic. The end of this section provides a list or resources.
  3. Arrange a meeting between LBD, EPDC, and the ESL Police Department. Discuss the feasibility of offering a conflict resolution course two times per week for an hour. Request the assistance of a police officer trained in conflict resolution to be the teacher.
  4. Build Conflict Resolution classes into the regular activities at Lessie Bates Davis two times per week for an hour.
  5. Advertise the new classes to all households currently involved in LBD programs and also other residents in the neighborhood.

Participating Organization:

Costs:

The costs involved in adding Conflict Resolution classes to the programs at Lessie Bates Davis are the costs of materials for the classes. The teacher, a local police office, will provide the training at no cost.

Possible Funding Sources:

Crail Johnson Foundation
http://crail-johnson.org
210-519-7221

Ford Foundation
212-573-5000
http://www.fordfound.org

The Gebbie Foundation
76-487-1062
http://www.gebbie.org

Pew Charitable Trust
215-574-9050
http://www.pewtrusts.com

Sprint Corporation
913-624-3343
http://www.sprint.com

Nynex Corporation
1-800-360-7955
http://www.nynex.com

Medtron Foundation
612-574-4000
http://www.medtronic.com

References:

  1. YouCAN
    [http://www.youcan.ca/brochure/brochure1.html]
  2. YouCAN is a national non-profit charitable organization that works with young adults to:

     

  3. The National Center for Conflict Resolution Education
    [http://www.nccre.org/]

The NCCRE provides training and technical assistance nationwide to advance the development of conflict resolution education programs in schools, juvenile justice settings and youth service organizations and community partnership programs.

G. Urban Agriculture

Youth garden projects in a number of urban settings have been shown to be highly effective in improving children’s school attendance and grades, and decreasing crime and delinquent activity by engaging youth in productive activities. They also increase the number of "eyes on the street", improving neighborhood morale through cooperative environmental enhancement efforts, and strengthen the community by increasing social networks. Through the hands-on experience of gardening, youth realize their place in nature discovering first hand how their actions either help or hinder the growth of a living thing. The youth of today must understand the unique environmental issues effecting their everyday neighborhood environment. Engaging collaboratively in gardening projects where degraded and un-kept vacant lots are converted into healthy green spaces provides area youth with the chance to be a part of solving real life problems.

The Urban Agriculture Program utilizes the long-term experience of local residents in agricultural production, pairs them with creative youth and uses available land to grow and sell fresh food products at the Farmers Market. Beginning with a pilot program of youth run garden plots and a retail sales booth at the East St. Louis Farmer’s Market, the project will eventually develop into a comprehensive agriculture and horticulture business. Educational, recreational and vocational component areas will be included in an effort to address the identified needs of Emerson Park youth. As a "for-profit" business venture, the program has the potential to be self-sustaining, as well as encouraging environmental enhancement, enterprise development, income generation, and nutritional improvement.

Implementation Timeline: Year 2 or 3

The Urban Agriculture program will develop out of increased youth participation in Emerson Park through the Youth Advisory Board and the Community Carnival. Its success is dependent on the participation of "expert" adults with experience in agricultural production and the participation and interest of local youth. It is anticipated that this program will begin in year 2 or 3.

Action Steps:

  1. Organize a group of five to six residents who have extensive experience in farming and agricultural production and who are interested in passing their knowledge on and growing goods to be sold at the Farmers Market.
  2. Ask Wilbon Anthony of Cooperative Extension, 4-H and local science teachers to provide information on community gardening and youth development at an information meeting.
  3. Hold an information meeting with the resident volunteers and information sources. GrowLabs in Camden, New Jersey and Generation One in Providence, Rhode Island should be looked at as good models. The professional representatives should provide information to the group on how this type of program can be set up. At this meeting brainstorm on the goals of such a program, how it should be carried out, its long-term implications and how many youth should be involved.
  4. Through the Youth Advisory Board, conduct an interest survey of Emerson Park youth to determine the number of youth interested in participating and/or leading the program. If a lot of interest is generated among youth, continue on with implementation.
  5. Select appropriate garden sites, storage space for equipment, and seek donations of garden tools or purchase the equipment (soil, fencing, plants, seeds, water hoses, trawls, etc.)
  6. Assemble a meeting of resident organizers and interested youth (named during the interest surveys). At this meeting discuss the opportunity to grow fruits and vegetable in the neighborhood and then sell them at the Farmers Market. Specific tasks for each participant should be chosen. Assign some youth as site leaders based on their age and past experiences.
  7. Organize a series of short training sessions for the youth participants in the field.
  8. Begin the program by identifying what to plant based on the soil and what is available. Prepare the soil and begin planting. This first season should be considered a trial run where student commitment is gauged and the success of the plots is determined.
  9. During the first season, publicize the program throughout the region in an effort to secure donations, funding and to prompt other neighborhoods to try similar programs.
  10. The harvest from the first season should not be sold, but rather kept for the participant’s families or distributed at community events for free.
  11. Hold evaluation/debriefing sessions with youth participants once per week to gather feedback on the program, to test the youths’ knowledge and to measure the level of interest among participants in expanding the program.
  12. Hold an End of Season celebration on-site to recognize the efforts of youth and adult participants and to show off the garden activity.
  13. Evaluate the first season on the following criteria:
  14. Based on the evaluation, determine if the program should be expanded into a business venture where youth lead the initiatives. If so, proceed with replication and expansion.
  15. Introduce the youth to the business aspect of growing fruits and vegetables. Discuss how to sell goods, how to display them and how to manage profits.
  16. Identify parcels for replication.
  17. Identify funding sources for expansion of the program.
  18. Grow goods as before and sell them at the Farmers Market during year 4 or 5.

Participating Organizations:

Costs:

Costs include equipment and supplies. Many of the tools can be borrowed from the EPDC or donated by local hardware/gardening store. The contact office of the program should be the EPDC office and equipment and supplies can be stored in one of the garages of the residents. Training can be supplied free through the resident experts, the Cooperative Extension Agency and 4-H programs. Vacant land for garden plots can be obtained by the EPDC from the county and city of East St. Louis.

Possible Funding Sources

References:

1. GrowLabs in Camden New Jersey
contact: Camden County 4-H Agent
Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Camden County
152 Ohio Avenue Camden, NJ 08021
Tel: (609) 784-1001

2. Generation One in Providence R.I.
contact: Tom Twitchell
The Smith Hill Center
110 Ruggles Street
Providence, RI 02908
Tel: (401) 455-3880 x226

3. City Farmer
http://www.cityfarmer.org

4. American Community Gardening Associations
http://www.communitygardening.org

5. University of Illinois Cooperative Extension – Great Plant Escape Program
http://www.urbanext.uiuc.edu/gpe/index.html

H. Youth Advisory Board

This program will assemble a forum of local youth of all ages who represent the interest of Emerson Park’s most precious resource. The group will serve both an advisory and advocacy function within the Emerson Park Development Corporation, having a sound voice in the decisions that get made which affect the youth in the neighborhood. This program includes component areas for recruitment, training, and leadership development.

Youth under the age of 18 years comprise almost half of the current population of Emerson Park. These young people form the foundation of the neighborhood’s future. Realizing the potential of this resource, however, requires training and mentoring youth to develop the skills and attitudes needed to be tomorrow’s community leaders. Engaging youth in civic opportunities while supporting and mentoring their development serves to ensure that they will be both ready and willing to take over community leadership when their time comes.

Implementation Timeline: Year 2 - 3

The Youth Advisory Board requires a significant time commitment from both the EPDC board and Emerson Park residents. It is suggested that this program begin implementation when school is let out for the summer. This will allow youth to have more time to focus towards organizing the Board.

Action Steps:

  1. Organize a group of youth development consultants made up of youth, EPDC representatives, Francella Jackson, Chet Cantrell, a Lessie Bates Davis representation, Stanford Scott of Adventures in Motivation, parents, a local school district representative, and other appropriate members. This committee will serve to establish to program. Each of these organizations should be encouraged to bring youth participants from their groups.
  2. Organize the specific goals and organizational structure of the Youth Advisory Board. Detail how the Youth Board will interact with the EPDC and other community programs and projects, the specific responsibilities of the Youth Board, the number of youth the program will include, the process that will be used to identify and select participants, the length of time participants will remain eligible for the program, grievance and expulsion procedures, community partners for the program, and the role of adult leadership in the program.
  3. Determine the funding needed for the program as it is planned including funding for facilities, transportation, training, personnel, food, advertising and publicity, and other related support activities.
  4. Select two or three adult advisors for the program from the community. These individuals will be responsible for organizing the Advisory Board and overseeing its regular activities.
  5. Identify the desired qualifications for youth participants in the program. These qualifications should be based on the input of youth attendees at the meeting.
  6. Develop a formal application process for the program.
  7. Recruit youth and adults to the program positions through an advertising campaign and through referral from schools and other sources. Spread the work about this leadership opportunity throughout local schools, churches and youth recreation facilities. Establish a system with the schools so that students get extra credit for participating in the youth board and get special recognition in school by their teachers.
  8. Interview and screen all applicants to the program and make selections. It is best not to exclude youth who are serious about being active members of the Youth Advisory Board and who meet the qualifications.
  9. Conduct an orientation for new participants and their families in order to formally establish the program, program expectations, and program procedures.
  10. Develop a work portfolio for each youth participant. This should be a one inch, vinyl binder where the board members can hold all their meeting agendas, minutes, and ideas.
  11. Schedule regular meetings of the Youth Advisory Board with agendas and minutes similar to the way EPDC operates.
  12. The adult advisors should constantly gather feed back and make program modifications based on this feed back in an on-going and frequent manner.
  13. The adult advisors can help the youth make a calendar of activities, help them develop and implement events and assist the youth in interacting with EPDC.
  14. Keep records of all aspects of program involvement and program activities including attendance, hours, content, and any modifications made to the program.
  15. Give the Youth Advisory Board the opportunity to present their topics of interest at the regularly scheduled meetings of the EPDC. Allow youth to provide input on EPDC decisions.
  16. Regularly celebrate the accomplishments of the Youth Advisory Board through community celebrations.
  17. Publicize all program activities to increase community awareness and support for the program.
  18. Evaluate the program based on the following criteria:

Participating Organizations:

Costs:

The adult supervisors are volunteer staff from the community. Funds are needed for regular meetings (food, printed materials, and youth exercises), the retreat / recognition celebration (food, printed materials and youth activities), T-shirts for participants and portfolios. The budget also includes costs for advertising the Youth Advisory Board and for the Board’s travel expenses as they participate in events.

Possible Funding Sources

I. Charter School at Cannaday Park

Building on district-wide school reform efforts, this program would re-open the Cannaday School as a charter school (alternatively as a public school) for pre-K through 8th grade during the day and for adult education at night. The re-opened school would follow the New Vision model of community schooling.

A well organized collaboration of parent, students, community members, and school staff which develops a sense of co-ownership in the educational process forms the base for good schools. Small, neighborhood schools that are responsive to the unique talents and needs of students have been found to deliver the most individualized and meaningful instruction. In addition to teaching students reading, writing and arithmetic, students will be engaged "civicly" in solving real life problems in their communities increases the likelihood that they will be community involved adults. Such involvement allows youth to develop the skills needed for community leadership, to realize their role in community leadership, and to understand their power to effect change. Additionally, allowing parents to have a choice and a voice in school matters has been shown to increase parental and community involvement as well as improve student performance.

Implementation Timeline: Year 4 - 5

The development of a charter school at Cannaday School is a large scale project whose success depends on the commitment of several organizations. It also depends on the need for a school in the neighborhood. It is estimated that over 300 units of housing will be added to the Emerson Park neighborhood over the next several years. This new housing will undoubtedly created demand for quality schooling.

Action Steps:

Realization of this program will entail accomplishing the tasks listed below. These tasks are grouped in five phases to allow for systematic program development and modification as needed.

Phase I- Planning

  1. Form a steering committee comprised of Francella Jackson of Weed & Seed, Stanford Scott of Adventures in Motivation, Vickie Forby of EPDC, local school administration representation, EPDC representation, students, parents, and community members.
  2. Contact New Visions for Public Schools in New York to ask for assistance in the planning process. [http://www.newvisions.org]
  3. Assess the feasibility of the New Vision program replication in Emerson Park, including evaluating the Cannaday School Facility.
  4. Apply for funding (estimated at $50,000.) needed to complete the planning process which will take two years.
  5. Plan for and conduct in-depth planning for facility rehabilitation, curriculum development, program administration, funding needs, and funding sources.
  6. Conduct an educational and public relations campaign about the program in order to inform community members and families.
  7. Identify and recruit potential community partners such as local housing developers, environmental agencies, economic development initiatives, human services programs, and others.
  8. Conduct work days at the site so that community members, children and families can take part in all phases of the development process.
  9. Hold a pre-registration day in order to estimate attendance and staffing needs.

Phase II- Funding and Staffing

  1. Identify and pursue needed funding from established sources.
  2. Establish a hiring sub-committee with representation from the steering committee, parents, students, community, and school administration.
  3. Determine the positions needed, requirements for each, advertise positions, interview candidates and hire candidates.
  4. Conduct an orientation and training of all staff to strengthen school-community partnerships and orient new hires to the community.
  5. Continue the preparation process with new hires as team members

Phase III- Implementation

  1. Hold a formal registration day and orientation week to introduce the students and families to the program.
  2. Include community partners in the orientation process as well.
  3. Open the school with a formal ceremony.

Phase IV- Evaluation

  1. Evaluate the success of the Charter (or public) school at Cannaday based on the following criteria:

Participating Organizations:

Costs:

The costs for this program fall within three main categories that include 1) facility costs associated with rehabilitating the Cannaday School site (estimated cost $500,000), 2) operating cost associated with running the school (estimated cost $400,000/year, 3) training cost associated with developing the organizational capacity of students, parents, school personnel, and community members to collaboratively develop and run the school (estimated cost $25,000/year). Other expenses include equipment purchasing, supplies, and ongoing support staff.

Possible Funding Sources

References:

A comprehensive listing of funders can be found at the New Visions for Public Schools web site http://www.newvisions.org.

For comprehensive information on Charters school visit the U.S. Charter Schools web site at http://www.uscharterschools.org.

Document author(s) : Cathy Klump
Last modified: 27 September 1999, Deanna Koenigs