Building Community Connections in Atlanta

Posted October 15, 2014
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Blog buildingcommunityconnections 2015

This spring, our local part­ners the Cen­ter for Work­ing Fam­i­lies Inc. and Edu­care Atlanta launched a pro­gram to increase net­work­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties for the moth­ers they joint­ly serve in south­west Atlanta. The nine-month Com­mu­ni­ty Con­nec­tion pro­gram paired vol­un­teers from the Women’s Com­mu­ni­ty Lead­er­ship Alliance — a col­lab­o­ra­tion between the Atlanta Women’s Foun­da­tion, Jew­ish Fed­er­a­tion of Greater Atlanta, Junior League of Atlanta and Unit­ed Way of Greater Atlanta — as con­nec­tors” with the moth­ers help them advance in their careers.

The pro­gram is part of an ongo­ing strat­e­gy to equip par­ents and their chil­dren with the tools and skills they need to chart a new and suc­cess­ful future. The cen­ter and Edu­care Atlanta have worked togeth­er close­ly since 2010 to help low-income par­ents of young chil­dren pre­pare for or advance in their careers while pro­vid­ing their chil­dren with high-qual­i­ty ear­ly edu­ca­tion and con­ve­nient health care.

Over the course of Com­mu­ni­ty Con­nec­tion, the women com­plet­ed the Strengths­Find­er career assess­ment and used the results for career plan­ning. They also dis­cussed the chal­lenges asso­ci­at­ed with jug­gling the many roles they play — moth­er, daugh­ter, friend, employ­ee, boss and wife — and strate­gies for bal­anc­ing them and tak­ing care of them­selves. The con­nec­tors act­ed as sound­ing boards, help­ing their mentees think through pos­si­ble career changes or advance­ment oppor­tu­ni­ties, build their con­fi­dence and learn to assert them­selves in the work­place. Dur­ing the sum­mer, pro­gram par­tic­i­pants and their con­nec­tors did in a joint ser­vice activ­i­ty, rais­ing mon­ey to buy new back­packs for chil­dren in the NPU‑V community. 

Par­tic­i­pants learned from their men­tors and each oth­er, increas­ing their con­fi­dence and abil­i­ty to ask for what they need to move for­ward in their careers. As a result of con­nec­tions made in the pro­gram, one par­ent joined CREW (Com­mer­cial Real Estate Women) Atlanta, a local net­work­ing orga­ni­za­tion that seeks to help women rise to posi­tions of pow­er and influ­ence in com­mer­cial real estate. 

I learned that peo­ple will help when they know what you need, when it is clear­ly defined,” one of the par­tic­i­pants said. I gained a lot of knowl­edge and new friends.” 

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