September 25, 2019
Dear Community Partner,
We write to let you know Westchester Children’s Association will formally end our GPS4kids, collective impact initiative. We have been fortunate to be the backbone for this project under the capable management of first Elizabeth Almonte and then Erica Ayala. Many of you know Erica Ayala left WCA July 2019, and since then we have deliberated as an agency what makes sense moving forward.
It is hard to let go of an initiative, but there are successes to celebrate and lessons learned. While we knew from the beginning, the difficulty of launching a project like GPS, we were optimistic after our centennial year in 2014, about the opportunities to transcend narrowly focused “issues” and allow us to engage new voices. The GPS4kids goal of every child thrives regardless of race or zip code did just that and will continue to influence the work of WCA and hopefully many of your organizations as well.
We were visionary in many respects. Our starting point of keeping kids in positive learning environments remains more timely and relevant than ever before. Three of our GPS indicators-suspension, chronic absenteeism and graduation rates-have real traction with pending state legislation, county engagement and school district revisions of codes of conduct for improved youth outcomes. WCA is committed to ongoing advocacy to make these happen.
Our latest reveal, the Data Hub remains a critical way to ensure the trifecta of data, advocacy and community voice. We will continue to use the Hub to highlight “Data Done Differently”- connecting traditional data tracking methods in the context of community projects, reports, events, and resources. The interactive tool supports community conversation and will remain a place we can learn from each other. Stay tuned, our Ground Truthing podcast is entering its third season uplifting community voice in support of Westchester’s children, youth and young adults.
You will recall our 2018 Baseline Report where we spoke of the journey of GPS. We have learned a lot along the way, found new partners and tried new, engaging methods to strengthen and support the work of moving the needle toward equity. That will not change. We welcome you to continue to partner with WCA through our newest workgroup on child and youth homelessness, early childhood workgroup, Campaign for Kids and other coalitions, in making sure every child can thrive regardless of race or zip code. Please do not hesitate to contact Allison Lake, firstname.lastname@example.org, and (914) 946-7676 ext. 301 with any thoughts, concerns or questions.
The Board & Staff of WCA