Forming a True Coalition: Collaborative Action Project Background
Since launching the SEL@Home initiative, Bright Promises and our partners have gained extensive knowledge and expertise in implementing effective social emotional learning (SEL) programs in diverse communities. Through the SEL@Home Collaborative Action Project, Bright Promises is creating opportunities for our program partners to teach and train other organizations how to incorporate evaluated and proven-effective SEL practices into their programs for children and families. Beginning in 2020, Bright Promises launched a 2-year project to actively expand and disseminate SEL principles so that more agencies can provide these services, and more children and families can benefit. This new project is in addition to ongoing SEL@Home programming that Bright Promises is supporting at more than 200 sites across Chicagoland.
“Our goal is to form a true coalition so that we can work together to actively disseminate best practices to other agencies,” Lauren Krieg, Bright Promises Senior Program Office explained, “Together, we are exploring ways to collaborate, share information and materials, and figure out how to educate other organizations about why intentional SEL education is so important for parents and caregivers.”
The SEL@Home Collaborative Action Project (CAP) was developed by Bright Promises with input from our program partners to more intentionally create collaboration across partner organizations within a single focus area. SEL@Home program partners, both current and past, were invited to take part in CAP – a fully funded, grantee-led initiative to compile the most effective parent/caregiver social emotional parent/caregiver engagement strategies across the grantee organizations to create a tool or tools readily accessible to other child-serving organizations. The overarching goal is to provide more organizations, and therefore more families, with access to the type of high-quality, effective SEL support that families at Bright Promises’ partner organizations have been provided through the SEL@Home initiative.
10 organizations are participating in the SEL@Home Collaborative Action Project (CAP). Enlace Chicago has been selected as the CAP Supervisory Agency and will be responsible for overseeing this collaboration together with Bright Promises staff. CAP Lead Agencies who are responsible for planning and implementation are Changing Children’s Worlds Foundation, Illinois After School Network, Logan Square Neighborhood Association, Tuesday’s Child, VOCEL. Gads Hill Center, Primo Center for Women and Children, RefugeeOne and Youth Opportunity United will serve as CAP Partner Agencies and will promote the project through the networks and share materials and ideas to support the collaboration.
SEL@Home CAP Framework
For the purpose of the development of the SEL@Home Collaborative Action Project (CAP), multiple theories are being adopted to implement and develop the CAP structure. These theories will help to build a common understanding about how each partner will be co-creating a SEL@Home collective process that challenges current systems of oppression and segregation and unveil how long historical oppressed structures have impacted the social-emotional well-being of Black, Latinx, and immigrant communities. A Cultural Wealth Framework will be utilized, based on the recognition of parents’ and students’ cultural wealth and social capitals such as aspirational, navigational, social, linguistic, familial, and resistant capital instead of “cultural deficit”, the framework that is often used to describe BIPOC communities.
- We believed Black, Latinx, and immigrant communities carry rich multifaceted social capital.
- We believed recognizing cultural wealth positively impacts the SEL wellbeing of Black, Latinx, and immigrant communities.
- We believe in collective work and collective wisdom.
- We believe young children, youth and adults learn in the context of supportive relationships.
Parents and caregivers will be connected with access to SEL-focused support systems, especially those who may not easily access currently available SEL resources.
The SEL@Home CAP will increase access to high-quality, culturally relevant SEL resources through greater awareness, an expanded infrastructure of SEL programs for parents, training for professionals/community leaders, as well as basic supplemental resources designed for caregivers, their children and youth.
SEL@Home CAP Main Objectives
The main objectives of the SEL@Home Collaborative Action Project are to:
- Develop a strong collaboration among partner organizations to increase organizations’ capacity to provide SEL@Home services to diverse populations and expanded communities.
- Create a collective resource that will inform and guide parents/caregivers of children of different ages/abilities, as well as professionals in the field - on where to find current SEL@Home resources and programming.
- Increase parents’ and caregivers’ access to SEL mutual support networks, resources, and tools relevant for them, to support the development of SEL leadership capacity among parents and caregivers, with the greatest focus on investing in these resources for Black, Latinx, and immigrant communities that have been deeply impacted by the COVID-19 health crisis.
- Develop a community of care among SEL@Home partners and communities served by partners based on humanistic-centric relationships towards a long-term collective collaboration with measurable goals.
- Increase and encourage access to SEL Training for professionals and community leaders, to bring community-based, evidence-based programming to more families, including relevant resources and tools, to support SEL capacity among parents/caregivers and their children and/or youth and provide professional development pathways for parents interested in this work.
During the first year of this project, the organizations participating in the SEL@Home Collaborative Action Project will:
- Develop an SEL@Home CAP website to be integrated to the Bright Promises foundation website. The website is intended to be bilingual and CAP partners will work in collaboration with a translator to create bilingual materials to be uploaded on the website.
- Expand SEL@Home Outreach & Support to hard-to-reach families and communities through current parent leaders and by expanding outreach efforts at each organization and connecting parents/caregivers to the CAP offerings, such as SEL@Home Training of Trainers, Coaching and Mentoring opportunities. SEL@Home CAP partners will provide expertise, lessons plans, and podcasts based on the core values and framework of the CAP.
- Creation and delivery of SEL@Home trainings for professionals, paraprofessionals, and caregivers. One of the new initiatives will be the development of a series of SEL@Home webinars that will be crafted with the expertise of CAP partners, and SEL@Home advance parent leaders. The webinars will be available on the Bright Promise website and the CAP partners organizations websites.
- Plan the first in-person SEL@Home Conference targeted for 100 parents and caregivers, to take place in year two.
PIE (Plan Implement Evaluate), Bright Promises’ evaluation team, will work collaboratively with all stakeholders of this initiative using an evaluation coaching approach, building relationships with stakeholders to build purposeful formative and summative data. The data will be designed to inform the stakeholders on program development, improvement, advocacy and community change in a culturally relevant manner. The evaluation seeks to promote equity of outcomes and ensures that the data collected and used for the evaluation is done in a manner that reflects the needs of the community.