Collaborate PASadena’s Reunion Celebration last Wednesday provided a host of opportunities for individuals, organizations and government agencies in the Pasadena area to further strengthen collaborative efforts to geared to improve educational and health outcomes for families in our community.
Attendees took part in a “gallery walk” where they saw the work of six Collaborate PASadena work groups and committees as well as the Youth Empowerment Service grants, and learned more about their accomplishments during the past six to eight months.
“It’s essential to bring the community together,” Brian Biery, Community Engagement Consultant for Collaborate PASadena, said. “The different sectors – businesses, nonprofits, faith community, higher education, the City and the school district – all working to improve opportunities for families, especially around education but also around health, and to assist them to connect with resources. It’s really a different way of thinking about working together.”
PUSD Board President Kim Kenne attended the event and said, “I was so encouraged that we are seeing people from many different organizations and from around the community building relationships with each other. This is such an important part of the “new way of doing business” that is the heart of Collaborate Pasadena.”
Biery said the notion of working better together and forging deeper collaboration was solidified during the reunion.
“It was a powerful opportunity for people to see how working together could create momentum, how it creates enthusiasm and energy, and provides the context for even greater progress than was originally planned,” Biery added.
After the reunion, Collaborate PASadena will focus on two significant steps to further the mission of the group in serving the communities of Pasadena, Altadena and Sierra Madre – hiring full time staff and setting up an organizational home on neutral ground that will become a base for CP.
Biery said that instead of using contractors and consultants, having full time staff headed by qualified officers will make the work of collaboration run smoother and create an atmosphere of accountability and responsibility for the organization.
The event also offered a chance for all kinds of people to offer their skills to help in the mission of the organization. Biery also spoke about meeting with other professionals who now see better how they can contribute their talents to help young people reach their educational goals.
“I happened to sit down with a representative from Cal Tech who runs the Caltech Y. We started talking about how Cal Tech students might volunteer to help Pasadena Unified School District students, and how they’re doing some of that already, but maybe we can figure out ways to serve more kids and to talk about what prevents us from doing that. If we hadn’t had that event last night, I probably would not run into her,” Biery said.
Collaborate PASadena pursues its mission of helping children and families in Pasadena, Altadena and Sierra Madre through the alignment of resources, shared accountability for results and meaningful participation of its diverse stakeholders.
It does the work through a structure of five Working Groups and a Leadership Council that supports collaboration, communications and shared accountability. The five Working Groups are divided into functions: Early Learning, Student Success, Healthy Families, Supportive Communities and Parent Engagement.
Diverse stakeholders are recruited and involved in Working Groups to continue planning to set priorities and implement solutions – from young people to professionals, from front-line providers to policymakers. A Backbone Team supports coordination, communications and information flow for full community engagement.
Annually, the group distributes a Shared Goal Card which contains a detailed theory of change, the reason why that goal is so important, and resources to help families.