Celebrating Collaboration and Community in the 24:1 

Last week, Community Impact Network held its monthly meeting in-person for the first time since moving into 1623 Kienlen Avenue in 2021.

The July meeting brought together over 70 Coalition Member representatives from across the 24:1 footprint to celebrate the Network’s history and the many successful collaborations that have transpired between members. Attendees shared a light breakfast, enjoyed catching up with old friends and meeting new ones, and shared their dreams for the 24:1 community.

Ailey Pope, Director of Service for The Equity Network, opened the meeting by emphasizing the importance of collaboration.  

“In South Africa, the term ‘Ubuntu’ can be defined as ‘humanity,’ but conceptually, it speaks to the interconnectedness of each and every one of us: ‘I am because we are,’” Pope explained. “All of us here today are part of that communal thread of interconnectedness, not only through our humanity but through our dedication to community and to the work we do every day.”

Andria Nelson Roberts, Chief Operating Officer, gave the history of the Network and the three coalitions. 

“The Network began as the 24:1 Initiative committee in 2010,” Roberts explained. “After a review of best practices and national programs, the committee focused on the youth continuum and the lifelong impact of early intervention of the life of a child. The committee dove deep into the data about early developmental milestones, and, in 2011, it identified strategies for community awareness, collaboration, quality childcare, parent education, and access to health, developmental, and wellness services.” 

The first coalition, 5byAge5, was formed in 2011 to improve kindergarten readiness through wrap-around services that begin even before a child is born, supporting nonprofits whose range of services includes maternal/ fetal care, infant care, developmental screenings, food and nutrition, early childhood education, and health care.  

As the Network grew, two more coalitions formed: Back2Basics, which focuses on basic needs for all community members, and Youth1st, which supports youth in completing high school and preparing for career and post-secondary options. These coalitions add to the continuum of care that began with the 5byAge5 Coalition.  

Throughout their inception and implementation, the three coalitions have been driven by the needs of the community and input from its member organizations. Many successful collaborations have taken place over the years, including providing nearly 1,000 early childhood screenings in 2021, providing 1,000s of necessities like food and diapers annually, and ensuring that Normandy Schools Collaborative children have the clothing, shoes, and supplies they need for each new school year. 

After reflecting on the Network’s history, meeting attendees shared their history with the Network and the collaborative relationships that have formed thanks to their involvement.  

Winston Calvert, Chief Executive Officer of The Equity Network, shared some of the changes that have taken place in the Network over the past year and plans for the future.

“The Network is committed to listening to and engaging with the 24:1 community as well as listening to all of you who serve this community so well,” stated Calvert. “We want to work with all of you to identify the impact you hope to make and to identify how Network can serve you as you serve the community.” 

Before the meeting’s conclusion, attendees shared the 24:1 community’s dreams for its legacy and its future as well as upcoming events in the footprint. Network staff look forward to hosting more in-person events to reinforce the commitments that were shared at this landmark meeting. 

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