Earlier in the year we shared with you some of the goals and plans that came out of our strategic planning session led by Bill Jackson, the managing chair for the local C12 Group. Bill is a seasoned executive consultant and was kind enough to walk us through one of the most extensive strategic planning processes we have ever completed as an organization.
You can read more about the process here, but we wanted to follow up on some of the goals that came out of that very fruitful time.
Every year at the beginning of the school year, we evaluate where we are in our youth outreach programs and identify areas that need growth or clarification.
One area we targeted for growth in our strategic planning was enhancing the service component for our elementary program. We got the year off to a great start by connecting our elementary students to a local food pantry. They will be visiting a local farm to pick fresh food to stock the pantry. This is an effort to maintain a consistent focus on service, sharing, and giving back to the community with our elementary-age students.
In addition, some of our younger students joined our soccer team, the Sun City Wolves, over the summer. We participated in an indoor soccer league, and we all had a great time. Definitely another success for our students!
Another area we want to grow in is leadership development in our high school program. To reach this goal, we have been bolstering the Catalyst program (job readiness and college prep) and are continuing to partner with Young Life to train leaders and build relationships among our teens. We hope synergy created by working together will also open up more avenues for growth in our high school program.
We hired our new Legal Aid Center director, Claudia Chavez de la Pena, over the summer, and our center, Esperanza Nueva, is off to a great start. Claudia attended training in California and is currently shadowing leaders at a local organization called Las Americas. Esperanza Nueva exists to provide many kinds of support to families in our neighborhood, including immigration legal support. We are excited to share more about the many aspects of the Legal Aid Center in an upcoming blog post, so stay tuned!
We also wanted to strengthen connections with families in our neighborhood through family visits. This effort has been extremely successful with our staff making contact with well over our goal of two families a week. Look for more information about this coming up as well, but we are very happy with the success in this area so far.
One of the community goals to come out of our strategic planning was to nominate three community members to various leadership positions within the surrounding neighborhoods. We are very excited to be working closely with the active neighborhood associations in our area, making sure that strong leaders from within the community are nominated to positions within those organizations. Often we have observed that these associations struggle to retain leadership and are left out of important city and neighborhood initiatives. Currently, we are considering combining the three associations into one, creating a stronger, united voice to advocate for improvements in our area.
This fall we will continue to equip leaders within our organization through CCDA (Christian Community Development Association) training. You can read more about our involvement with CCDA here.
Three staff members recently attended the CCDA conference in Detroit and five staff members attended the Matthew 25 Gathering in Phoenix which included an Arizona border visit. These types of training events allow us to stay connected to the broader community development field and to educate our staff on issues that are at the forefront of our own neighborhood initiatives.
Finally, we continue to speak at churches and meet with leaders around El Paso to share our vision and the community development principles that drive what we do.
Strategic Planning = Strategic Effort
We are pleased so far with our growth this year, and continue to be grateful for the incredible strategic planning process that Bill Jackson hosted for us. We can see that our efforts are bearing fruit, and our specific goals have continued to guide us as we move forward into the future.