VOYAGE Community Outreach Advocate Model
Education. Economic Supports. Social Capital. Health and Well-being.
The issue of youth violence in the Youth Enrichment Zone often stems from the longstanding, inter-generational cycle of poverty that is occurring in parts of downtown Wilmington. In terms of real and lasting development, the BRC has found that working only with the youth is not enough. To effect systemic change, we need to address the needs of our youth, their families, and the broader community.
The VOYAGE COA model uses a multi-generational wrap-around approach that follows the CDC’s Social-Ecological Model Framework to focus on our youth and families at the individual, relational, community, and societal levels. Using this model to serve our families, we are able to more effectively address the risk factors and build the protective factors needed to prevent violence and promote self-sufficiency. The long-term goal of the COA Model is to effectively identify the ways in which structural racism, poverty, and other social determinants of health disproportionately affect our families and implement effective practices and strategies that serve to break the longstanding cycle of intergenerational poverty in our community.
The Community Outreach Advocate Model incorporates “wrap-around” services to eliminate the major barriers that families face in the successful development of self-sufficiency. The BRC feels these services are truly “wrap around”, as the youth are greatly impacted by the poverty reduction and self-sufficiency of the parents that make up the Y.E.Z. community. There are four factors that play into the development of self-sufficiency, identified by the Ascend at the Aspen Institute Report as Education, Economic Supports, Social Capital, and Health and Well-being.
To learn more about the two-generation approach, visit the Ascend at the Aspen Institute website.
THE MODEL IN ACTION: HOW THE BRC…
For Parents: The BRC helps parents in the zone further their education through offering classes and tutoring, assistance with financial aid applications, scholarship opportunity, and information on how to help their children in school.
For Youth: Resources available to the youth in the zone include homework help and tutoring, programs during school breaks, application assistance, behavioral/academic interventions, scholarship opportunities, and college tours.
Provides Economic Support
To Parents: The BRC provides a variety of classes and workshops involving financial literacy, job skills, workforce development and home ownership. Additionally, the BRC partners with different employment agencies to offer training, mentoring, and job placements.
To Youth: Youth are given the opportunity to attend job shadowing trips, career fairs, and lectures by professional guest speakers. In addition, the summer employment program offers classes, workshops, and training in financial literacy, job skills, non-cognitive skills, leadership skills, and paid work experience.
Engages Social Capital
With Parents: The BRC gives parents and the community opportunity for civic engagement through offering monthly community events, positions as community outreach advocates, and a community council.
With Youth: Similarly, opportunities for civic engagement for youth include a teen council and youth advisory board, as well as a teen center for youth to come together and engage in productive activities.
Addresses Health and Well-Being
Of Parents: The BRC offers healthy cooking and nutritional classes, as well as monthly community events focused on health and wellness. In addition, the development of a community garden where community members can find fresh produce is under way.
Of Youth: In addressing the health and wellness of the youth, the BRC offers classes on gardening and yoga, as well as both one-on-one and group mentoring sessions regarding emotional and behavioral support.