Community Impact Corporation (CIC)

CIC Logo Final

*Describe the purpose, mission and vision of your organization:

The Community Impact Corporation at Upper Room (CICUR) was formed to impact low income, economically disadvantaged populations living in our community and surrounding areas. These populations include: underserved and at risk youth, widows, foster children, the elderly, veterans, the homeless and indigent. Our mission is to assist and serve our community through collaborative efforts that allows for housing and employment stability, decrease in criminal justice involvement, reduction in the over-representation of minorities in the juvenile justice system, enhancement of mental and physical health, and through promoting overall educational and economic empowerment. Our vision is to positively impact our community by developing cutting edge, holistic and innovative programs/initiatives designed for our target population that will lead to positive life changes and self- sufficiency.

Please list and briefly describe your program(s):

One of the innovative services developed by CICUR is a ‘Youth Impact’ program aimed at providing mentors who become role models for youth and families in need. The Youth Impact mentors targeted their services to low income families living in subsidized housing. We examined profiles of families and youth in the Forest and Village Green neighborhoods to determine the need for this service. Many of the youth in this community indicated dealing with the following issues: pressures to engage in premarital sex, sell and/or use of substances, gang involvement, peer pressure, need for finances, depression, low self- esteem, trying to succeed in educational endeavors, choosing the right college and being in single parent households. Our goal is to provide a mentor to youths for at least an academic year and beyond through multiple activities that focus on positively effecting thinking and behaviors, reaching educational goals, decision making, fellowship, fun activities, personal development and career resources all while engaging the family. Our ultimate goal is to not only impact the youth, but also the family so systemic changes can take place within the home. The Youth Impact mentor will facilitate a bond between the mentee and family that create trust in the mentoring relationship. This is an important to actuate the changes we strive to see achieved in the mentee and family. Youth Impact mentors apply both practice and theory in how we approach the mentoring relationship. We provide individual and group activities and use evidenced based practices (Best Practices) that have been proven to be effective in other communities to structure how we interact and positively direct the youth and their families. Youth Impact mentors believe that for helping young people succeed in life, mentoring works. It helps give young people the confidence, resources and skills they need to reach their potential. We aim to match youngsters with caring, consistent and mentors outside of their families for the purpose of creating meaningful and supportive relationships that foster pro-social behaviors in young people. The Youth Impact mentors will use six intervention components that encompass (1) engagement with the youth and their families; (2) provide orientation and objectives; (3) Develop goals and interest of the mentee and family; (4) Develop an agreement to meet together a minimum of 2 hours per week for individual activities, (5) conduct monthly weekend social and recreational activities for youth, their families, and mentors; and (6)Provide educational in group sessions that meet the individual goals using best practices. Implementing these strategies will require a project coordinator, a part-time outreach special and at least one mentor for every one to three mentees. We have several programs that we operate: UR Youth Center and Performance Arts Academy, UR Fun! Summer Camp and our UR Afterschool Tutorial and Mentorship Program. UR Afterschool Tutorial and Mentorship Program is the program that we are partnering with Village and Forest with. We desire your help as we help improve the educational goals of our area youth. In addition, we aim to match youngsters with caring, consistent and competent adults outside of their families for the purpose of creating meaningful and supportive relationships that foster pro-social behavior in young people.

Please provide 3 examples of recent successes

  1. The Youth Impact program worked one on one with a child who was in a single family home and had emotional outburst that would not allow him to attend mainstream school. The Youth Impact mentor worked with child for nearly six months and the child has now been reassigned from an alternative school to a mainstream school and is progressing well. The mom is working as a Certified Nursing Assistant and reported being extremely proud of her son.
  2. Through Youth Impact Summer Program and continual mentoring, there has been at least a 20% increase in the number of homework and in-class assignments submitted. Each session we have more and more kids who’s lives we are impacting positively. We have reports of improvement with regards to attitudes towards their parents, peers, and teachers. There have been positive changes in academic performance with significant improvements in science, written and oral language.
  3. The work that the Youth Impact program was recently recognized with an award by the State of Florida at a recent National Faith Symposium as a Champion of Hope recipient for all of the work that is done with children in low income neighborhoods in the community.

Who does your program serve? (Check all that apply)

African-American Latino Homeless First Generation College students Foster/Ward of the Court

Total served per year:  45

How many employees, full and part-time, does your organization have?:  3

How many volunteers does your organization have?  15

Sector of Operation (National Taxonomy of Exempt Entities (NTEE) taxonomy):  VIII. Religion

Current Yearly Budget:  25000

Program Questions

Explain the social problem (symptoms and systemic cause) your program is addressing. What is the scope of the problem ?

The Youth Impact mentors targeted their services to low income families living in subsidized housing. We examined profiles of families and youth in the Forest and Village Green neighborhoods to determine the need for this type of services. The youth in our area can use assistance in their educational pursuits. The neighboring elementary schools are State rated ‘F’ schools and the neighboring middle school is a State rated ‘C’ school. Most of the kids lack parental support and involvement in their education. Drop out rate is high. 75% of all crimes are committed by high school drop outs Teenage pregnancy is increasing. Teenage STD’s are on the rise. Low Esteem is high among teens. Gang activity is on the rise in the 32609 zip code (which is where Village and Forest Green is located).

What is your program’s solution? Why is it better than other current solutions(s)? Provide the criteria used to measure social impact.

Our program’s solution to the social problems in this neighborhood is to provide in-house and on-site mentoring services to the youth and the family in their environment. Many other organizations are reluctant to provide services in this neighborhood. Our Community Impact Corporation is located right next to these subsidized housing units. Youth Impact’s niche approach to resolve the issues that plague our youth is to provide services that offer a comprehensive life support system for the parent(s)/guardian and child(ren) year-round that include: Manna Market Mondays (Weekly Grocery and Clothes Giveaways) GED and Job Training Counseling Client Assistance Financial Assistance and Stewardship Classes Performing Arts Academy (Dancing, Drumming, Singing, Acting, etc) Youth Impact (Boys to Men and Girls to Women Mentorship) A Street Call Street (Faith Based 12 Step Program) We measure the social impact through deliberately following-up with parents, mentors, teachers and law enforcement, looking at baseline and follow-up data to identify changes and the impact of our services. We use surveys, pre/post tests, review of school records and law enforcement data to measure social impact of our mentoring program.

Explain your criteria for measuring successes and failures?

Youth Impact will use surveys, Likert scales, Pre/post data and collect baseline information to ensure that the services we provide are properly measured so that we can determine our success/failures and need to improve approaches. We expect to see improvement of greater than 15% for each of the measures that we have identified below. Measure: Parent measures-Youth will exhibit improved attitudes towards their parents and siblings. Collect baseline data using a Likert scale to determine attitude before, during and at completion of services. Measure: Law Enforcement-Decrease juvenile arrests in our area and less involvement in activities that lead to destructive behaviors. Compare the change in pre/post program arrest records Measure: Schools-Improve grades on progress reports/report cards and development of new skills and habits that lead to success. Review report cards and progress reports to show status change Measure: Mentors-Consistently coming to sessions and a development of greater ability to express feelings. Maintain documentation of attendance and increased ability to express feelings.

What are the top 5 best practices used in your organization:

  1. Best Practice: Listen- complete needs assessments/analysis to ensure we are meeting the right needs. (Guiding Good Choices: Channing Bete-is a family competency training program for parents of children in middle school).
  2. Best Practice: Get Engage-we strategize then we proceed with the plan.(Competency Training Program)
  3. Best Practice: Be Consistent-we are not event driven but we are constantly a part of the kids lives. (Elements of Effective Practices:National Mentoring Partnership).
  4. Best Practice: Follow-through-we measure our success by checking in with the people we serve. (New York City’s Children Services: designed to provide mentoring to youth in the Fostercare system).
  5. Best Practice: Celebrate Successes and Work Through Failures-we rejoice for every victory won and we continue to work with those who are yet trying to reach their goals. (AllStars Prevention Program: A character based program aimed at identifying risk and protective factors).

What differentiates you from other organizations?

We provide in-home and on-site services. We are located literally next door to Village and Forest Green Apartments, we are known entities in the community, we have the longest and most consistent relationship with the residents of Village and Forest Green and we have cultivated great community partners. The approach that we have used to provide services and the manner with we monitor and follow through to ensure that performance measure are met.

What is the hardest decision your organization has made and how did you evaluate the tradeoffs involved?

The hardest decision we made was co-locating our Corporation right next to Village and Forest Green and stepping out with limited resources and staff to create and implement the Youth Impact Mentorship Program. Based on the successes that we have already seen from our implementation, the tradeoff has been well worth it. We recognized the need and made it happen so that we can serve those in need and make improvements in our community.

What are your goals for the next to three to five years? What priorities will help you achieve them? What barriers are in your way?

Our goal for the next three to five years is to help produce more high school graduates and first generation college students. In addition, we desire to start a trade school for those who are severely emotional disturbed and/or emotional handicap to provide them with a tool of survival to become a productive citizen. Lastly, we aim to start a childcare facility to help get an earlier start with the children in our area to assist them in the educational track to give them a leg up on the pipeline from Pre-K and beyond. All of these initiatives are a part of our strategic plan. The major barrier that we currently have is securing the necessary funding to move forward. Funding will us to hire staff and directors to supervise and implement these programs as well purchase capital items these projects.

Please list your organizations collaborating partners:

PK Management P.A.V.E. (People Against Violence Enterprises, Inc) Alachua County Public Schools Partnership For Strong Families Children Home Society Bread of the Mighty Food Bank USDA Gainesville Police Department