On Tuesday, October 18th, the third annual community convening for Bridgeport Prospers Cradle to Career was held at Housatonic Community College. This new way of working, using the framework of Collective Impact is implementing systematic change to create a brighter future for the children of Bridgeport.
The day was both an important look-back on the past year’s activities and findings, as well as a look ahead as to what’s needed to succeed. United Way’s vision has always been to see the children of Coastal Fairfield County succeed in school and be prepared for success in life. Our role in this effort is to provide resources and staff support in the development of the Cradle to Career cross-sector collaborative.
Bridgeport Prospers was introduced three years ago by the United Way with a focus on a collaborative effort by numerous facets of the community. Last year’s convening saw the release of baseline data from which progress was, and will be, measured going forward. The Bridgeport movement is based on a national model in which Community Action Networks (CANs) focus on areas such as infant health, kindergarten readiness, early grade reading, middle grade math, high school graduation, youth safety, post-secondary enrollment/completion, and youth employment. Initially, focus was directed toward improving crucial areas of early childhood development, such as home visiting, early care and education, developmental screening, child and adult mental health, family support and basic needs. The next CANs that will launch this year are Middle Grade Math/High School Graduation and Youth Employment/Jobs.
A key importance in this forum is not just to highlight those areas where success has been realized, but also to discover what is needed to achieve true success.
Some of those who spoke at the forum included: Kimberly Staley, Assistant Chief Administrative Officer, Mayor’s Office, City of Bridgeport ; President Berke-Schlessel; Executive Director of Bridgeport Prospers, Alfreda Turner; Jeff Edmondson, Managing Director of the national StriveTogether movement; Bridgeport Interim School Superintendent, Fran Rabinowitz; William Jennings, President and CEO of Bridgeport Hospital, and Joseph Carbone, President and CEO of The WorkPlace.
Visit our photo gallery and see pictures from the meeting.