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FY 2018 Community Conversations Research

Executive Summary

Executive Summary: Widener University 18RE204696

Widener University and the Boys and Girls Club of Chester enthusiastically embrace the opportunity to offer a strong, dynamic partnership to fulfil the charge to develop a participatory research approach to facilitate civic engagement and strengthen community capacity to address issues in Chester, PA. The Chester Youth Success Strategy (CYSS) is a two-year collective action process designed to identify and implement best practices for developing citywide systems that serve youth and will engage a community that is already working collaboratively to tackle a locally identified issue. In particular, this system building effort is targeted at helping improve the capacity of organizations that provide services to older youth, ages 12-22 by implementing systems of data management and research evaluation. The CYSS is guided by the belief that scientists and community members working together as partners to combine community expertise and scientific rigor can solve the issues underlying the conditions that threaten our city's future.

Research Objectives for the CYSS are to:

* Conduct a thorough needs assessment that includes a review of quantitative data and a variety of resident-driven qualitative information, which will help determine gaps and challenges in the neighborhoods in the target community;

* Facilitate a variety of nationally recognized leadership development sessions that equip local leaders and residents with the capacity to think and act differently (i.e., "out of the box") to improve outcomes for youth and their families;

* Facilitate capacity-building activities that enhance the skills of partners and create a shared understanding of the vision for this project and how to form results-focused collaborations across organizations; and

* Plan a continuum of best practice programs within the city of Chester by breaking down silos and building on existing partnerships.

Widener University is requesting $99,094 for this initiative.

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