February 2, 2022
Windsor, ON – Community leaders in Windsor and Essex County are poised to launch their first round of solutions designed to end childhood poverty in the region, according to the ProsperUs Winter Update Report released Wednesday.
ProsperUs is a collective of local organizations, residents and service providers working together to build a better future for children and families. The Winter Update Report outlines progress on the collective’s Cradle to Career strategy, which aims to help children succeed from the time they’re born until they find their first meaningful job.
The latest solutions are the result of tireless work by the ProsperUs Community Action Networks (CANs), which are made up of 160 residents, youth, community organizations and subject-matter experts. These groups have been meeting regularly since November 2019, spending nearly 2,300 hours creating solutions to help children through the early years, middle-school years and their post-secondary school years.
The collective was forged through ongoing partnerships among non-profit organizations, government, health care providers, education institutions, labour, business, and residents with a shared vision of a prosperous Windsor-Essex County. The backbone organization powering this work is United Way/Centraide Windsor-Essex County. ProsperUs and the backbone team are engaging residents in Downtown Windsor, West Windsor and Leamington to identify community assets and barriers, and solutions that will ensure that gaps in service can be addressed, leading to better outcomes for children and youth.
Some of the report highlights include:
- New Solutions: In 2022 ProsperUs is launching its first set of solutions for kids in elementary school. Solutions will include wrap-around out-of-school programs in each priority neighbourhood, a robust in-school meal program in priority schools, and enhanced mental health supports for children. The report also details some of the progress made for each youth success milestone in the C2C strategy. There will be more information about these solutions as they launch at various times over the next year.
- Investors Table: A new Investors Table has been formed. This new approach to funding community solutions will create a more responsive, catalytic system of philanthropy to support the Cradle to Career Strategy. There will be more information available in the next few months.
- New Investment Model: ProsperUs, in partnership with the CANs, are developing a prototype of each solution. Community organizations will be invited to apply to co-design and deliver these solutions. This Call for Applications will assess a community organization’s alignment to the solution and capacity to create impact. Calls for Expressions of Interest will be launched on a rolling basis throughout 2022. See the News section on the ProsperUs website for application announcements.
- Barriers to Success: The CANs identified over 50 different barriers to address as part of the solution design process. These barriers that local people face span housing, food and nutrition, health, education and employment. Several themes emerged from this community feedback, including access to services and transportation, addressing stigma, technology, language and cultural diversity, and information and awareness, especially for parents. ProsperUs will find ways to best support residents while leveraging the many strengths of existing programs and assets in the community.
“ProsperUs is grateful to all those who have made the commitment towards our community vision – to unlock youth potential from Cradle to Career in Windsor-Essex County. Residents are at the centre of our work and I want to thank the many individuals who have passionately participated in our solution design process so far.”
-Jessica Sartori, Co-Chair, ProsperUs
“With over 40 partners, ProsperUs is a collective unlike any other in this community. We’re sharing data, learning from each other, and planning together to design solutions to support local youth. We’re working differently to remove barriers and change systems so that all children can thrive.
-Jim Inglis, Co-Chair ProsperUs
“Equity means that some kids need more help than others to be successful. We want to ensure that no matter who you are or where you live, children and youth in Windsor-Essex County have opportunities to build a bright future for themselves.”
-Lorraine Goddard, CEO, United Way/Centraide Windsor-Essex County, Backbone Organization
“The Youth Community Action Network got my attention because they were focused on finding solutions for vulnerable communities. They weren’t trying to lecture or make residents feel inadequate. They were asking for help from young, local residents and actually giving us a voice and the power to be heard and seen.”
– Keren Bernal, West Windsor, Youth Community Action Network Youth Co-Chair
“Just as ProsperUs is building an entirely new model for community organization, support and intervention, the Investors Table has an equally exciting opportunity to architect new ways of engaging with the community and mobilizing resources for amplified impact. This collaborative investor engagement will be a truly pioneering role within the Windsor-Essex philanthropic context.” – Liz O’Neil Meurehg, Chair/CEO, The O’Neil Foundation
“The reason I became involved with YCAN is to have a positive impact on my community, a place I hold dear to my heart. I also became involved to grow as a person, enhance my leadership skills and learn more about what our community has to offer.”
– Sanah Al-Haddad, Downtown Windsor Youth Community Action Network Youth Co-Chair
Follow ProsperUs on Facebook or Instagram @WEProsperUs for more information. To learn more about ProsperUs and the Cradle to Career strategy, read the first Benchmark report (2019) – Coming Together: Building a Hopeful Future for Children and Youth in Windsor-Essex County. To view a full list of ProsperUs Partners, visit www.weunlockpotential.com/partners.
Karen Brady, Marketing & Communications Manager
United Way/Centraide Windsor-Essex County, ProsperUs Backbone Team
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