Creating a culture of hope
August 2, 2016
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"No one values us.” For kids living in the Wellington Heights neighborhood in Cedar Rapids, that is exactly how they feel the community sees them. At a focus group of high school students from the neighborhood this spring, Jane Boyd team members listened as the teens shared their feelings: “I feel isolated,” said one teen. “Nobody cares if we succeed,” shared another.
Jane Boyd Community House, a Four Oaks affiliate with nearly 100 years of working with children and families in Cedar Rapids, has responded by providing a full-time team member devoted to community outreach beginning this summer in the Wellington Heights neighborhood. The goal is to provide purposeful engagement so struggling youth can connect with a caring adult in the community. The Jane Boyd team is on the streets and in the park, meeting kids where they are. Adults will work to create a culture that is welcoming, respectful and safe; surrounding youth with a “can-do” attitude!
Jane Boyd is not taking on this work alone; rather a collaborative effort with the Cedar Rapids Police Department, the neighborhood association, Kaplan University and other youth programs in the area make this work possible. It will be the building block to provide a blueprint for the community to meet the social and emotional needs of the children.
Youth need optimism and hope for the future and working to build on children's personal sense of pride, connectedness and purpose will help to build a culture of hope.