Windsor, ON – Imagine filling an entire arena with thousands of recent post-secondary school graduates – all of them from economically disadvantaged families – ready to start an in-demand job geared towards our 21st Century economy? That’s precisely what ProsperUs – a collective of community partners from non-profit, government, health care, education, labour, business and inspired residents – hopes to achieve over the next ten to twenty years.
Today, in Windsor’s west end, ProsperUs released a milestone report, entitled Coming Together: Building a hopeful future for children and youth in Windsor-Essex County, aimed at guiding the next stage of its vision for the community. ProsperUs partners plan to target the collective investments of over 45 partners in three neighbourhoods – West Windsor, downtown Windsor, and Leamington.
ProsperUs has a vision to transform the conditions and capacity in our region to dramatically improve the outcomes for children and young people of Windsor-Essex County, from the time they are born until they complete post-secondary education and enter the workforce full-time – a Cradle to Career (C2C) approach.
“Our plan is to focus the Cradle to Career Strategy in key neighbourhoods, with the goal of expanding its impact over time,” says Janice Kaffer, ProsperUs Co-Chair. “Not all children and youth are thriving, and that’s more apparent when you look at the numbers neighbourhood by neighbourhood. We want to level the playing field and give children equal opportunities to help youth succeed and become independent, prosperous adults.”
“This is an historic undertaking – the first of its kind in Canada,” says Jim Inglis, ProsperUs Co-Chair. “Our region’s greatest strength is our youth – they are the generation that will help shape our changing economy. We will unlock youth potential and talent, and drive further economic transformation in our community.”
The 60-page report that was crafted over the last eight months, supported by all the ProsperUs partners, outlines the data-driven process that led to the selected neighbourhoods for the initial C2C investments.
“Our goal was to identify three ‘neighbourhood clusters’ that were experiencing the most constraints for children and youth. The results were clear, when we looked at the data,” says ProsperUs Backbone Lead Lorraine Goddard. “Equity is an important ProsperUs value. That means that some children in certain neighbourhoods need more help than others – your postal code shouldn’t determine your future.”
This year, ProsperUs partners entered into unprecedented data sharing agreements, allowing the collective to better understand the successes and barriers experienced by children, youth, and their families in our community. Twenty locally identified indicators emerged, highlighting economic, educational, health, civic and safety factors. These indicators were used to rank every single neighbourhood – 30 neighbourhoods in the City of Windsor and 25 in Essex County.
By focusing on these key neighbourhoods, ProsperUs partners plan to tackle the root causes of the challenges that our community is facing. It will target and measure specific community-level outcomes in these neighbourhoods and hold the partners to a high standard of success.
As the work of ProsperUs moves forward, it will work alongside the community to build a plan that works. Children, youth, parents and residents from identified neighbourhoods are vital to the success of ProsperUs to understand the data, and co-design solutions to unlock potential for children – together.
This summer, ProsperUs will begin recruiting for three working groups to focus on the key milestones and issues within the identified neighbourhoods. ProsperUs is committed to fully engage individuals with living/lived experience related to the specific challenges that have been identified in its ‘social innovation teams’, currently called the Community Action Network (CAN) Working Groups. The rest of the CAN members will be content experts, service providers and system-level partners whose mandates align with the specific social innovation team goals. By late 2020, the ProsperUs Leadership Council will present the work of these teams – solutions and strategies designed to unlock potential for local children, and set clear targets and timelines.
To stay up to date on future announcements and community consultation dates, visit www.weunlockpotential.com or follow ProsperUs on Twitter and Facebook (WEProsperUs) or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Karen Brady, Marketing & Communications Manager
United Way/Centraide Windsor-Essex County
Work: 519-259-6192 | Mobile: 519-564-8554