Santa Monica Cradle to Career: Making A Difference Together
A child's development is a continuum that starts at birth and lasts through the transition into self-sufficiency and adulthood. Each transition point is critical to a person's success in school and beyond. Santa Monica Cradle to Career is a collective impact initiative to ensure ours is a community where every child has the ability to thrive. We're working together to answer 2 key questions: How are children in Santa Monica doing? What can we do to help them succeed?
A fatal gang-related shooting in a public park and a highly-visible teen suicide. These 2 tragic events involving Santa Monica youth sparked an open dialog about youth violence among the City of Santa Monica, public institutions, service providers, and other stakeholders. By 2012, this conversation grew into Santa Monica Cradle to Career - a public/private partnership to address the full spectrum of factors that influence youth wellbeing.
The first step in charting our course was developing a data-driven understanding of youth wellbeing in Santa Monica. This led to a robust analysis of data related to youth wellbeing. The resulting Youth Wellbeing Report Card is used by smC2C partners to identify, prioritize, and implement strategies to address critical needs among youth and families in our community. Work to-date has focused on 2 critical points on the developmental spectrum: kindergarten readiness and Santa Monica's most vulnerable older youth. We also worked with RAND on an in-depth analysis of out-of-school programs in Santa Monica and recommendations.
We have 4 main goals: Increasing kindergarten readiness; strengthening youth connectedness and emotional health; engaging vulnerable youth and their families in supportive services; and improving college & career readiness.
Current projects are moving us toward achieving our goals, including:
- Building Blocks For Kindergarten - A campaign to educate and empower parents preparing their children for the transition to school
- Community Campus For Early & Family Literacy - Staff from Virginia Avenue Park and the Library are working on coordinated programs that will combine the best of both worlds to provide resources in the Pico Neigbhorhood
- Building Resilience & Addressing Emotional Health Needs - Formulating a coordinated plan to increase overall resilience among youth and families, and to address alcohol and substance abuse, and feelings of sadness and hopelessness
- Whatever It Takes Services - Expanding coordinated service plans for the most vulnerable youth across all age groups and their families
- Aligning Out-of-School Time with In-School Learning - Examining the way early care and out-of-school time programs can enhance the in-school learning experience
- Policy Development, Funding & Advocacy - Working with Federal, State, County, and Local legislators to advocate for early childhood and post-secondary education, violence prevention, and comprehensive mental health services
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