TIME FOR KIDS:
1. Briefly describe the structure of your program.
Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) is experimenting with a new service delivery model in order to best meet the ever changing needs of Portlandís citizens. In this new model, our role a s a service broker will increase and our role of service provider will decrease. PP&R is exploring innovating partnerships with other organizations who share a common mission in order to best leverage the limited available resources, while still serving the needs and interests of our customers. Overall, it is our belief that PP&R will be able to become more responsive to the citizens of Portland by maximizing access to the talents and resources that are present within our communities.
PP&R views the Out-of-School hours pilot programs as an opportunity to break out of the traditional mold for establishing partnerships. Our strategy is to bring together selected partners to develop a comprehensive out-of-school hours program. PP&R visualizes an approach where partners representing a range of agencies and organizations will have equal status at the table (planning, implementation and evaluation), and PP&R will facilitate the overall service delivery. This unique approach is meant to eliminate the gaps that are sometimes created when programs are developed independently.
Four PP&R representatives conducted over 60 interviews with over 80 representatives from youth serving agencies, neighborhood associations, social service agencies and leadership groups. Each of these representatives shared their unique perspective on the needs of the communities they served. The interviews were standardized so that the same type of information was collected from each interviewee. The interview instrument identified the most pressing service delivery gaps in a given neighborhood or population. It further sought to identify PP&Rís most useful roles in filling those gaps. Subsequent site selection, partnership and program criteria for the pilot programs were based on the information collected during the interviews.
2. When was the program created and why?
This pilot initiative was designed to improve the coordination of service delivery to underserved youth during the out-of-school hours through collaborative decision-making and service delivery processes between a municipal parks and recreation bureau and local non-profit service providers, as a result of the following:
The journey through childhood and adolescence can be a rocky road. Forty-two percent of a youthís waking hours is spent as discretionary time. Twenty-five percent of American youth aged 10-17 are at serious risk of not achieving a productive adulthood, and an additional 25% are at moderate risk. Four behaviors consistently interfere with youthís healthy development:
For youth to make a successful transition to adulthood, they need adult help to link school, community, family and child. Since peer group influence is such a powerful force in youth behavior, adults must do everything they can to create healthy, positive peer cultures. Adults must also take a greater role in the child and adolescent socialization process. Youth service providers can nurture and positively influence developing adolescents through leisure time activities.
Quality, targeted programming can make a meaningful impact on youthís lives. PP&Rís research has indicated a need for out-of-school hours activities for youth that are under-served or unserved in Portland. This need can not be filled by the type of programming PP&R has provided in the past, rather programming with a higher level of depth and intensity is required to truly make an impact on Portlandís youth.
3. How do you measure the programís effectiveness?
Evaluation will be a key component of the pilot programs. We are looking for partners who have demonstrated a commitment to program evaluation, and are willing to share their data with the group. Each partnerís support will foster effective and meaningful evaluation of the pilot programs, which we hope will lead to further expansion of the most effective aspects of the pilot into a city-wide program.
The pilot has recently completed its first summer and the first stage of evaluation will be completed by November, 1998.
4. How is the community involved in the program?
The community is involved through an emphasis on mentorship - both adult to youth, and older youth to younger youth. The program should facilitate meaningful involvement with adult role models and could include parents.
5. Contact person:
The United States Conference of Mayors
J. Thomas Cochran, Executive Director
Copyright © 1999, US Conference of Mayors, All rights reserved.