Friday, March 25, 2011

Mayor Launches Neighbor-to-Neighbor High-Impact Service Plan

Mayor Dwight C. Jones launched the City’s Neighbor-To-Neighbor (N2N) High-Impact Service Plan yesterday, to promote a new era of collaborative service and volunteerism in the City of Richmond. The Plan is the product of an extensive three-month landscape assessment and consultation process led by the City’s Chief Service Officer, Paul A. Manning. The N2N Service Plan was launched during a kick-off event on March 24 at the Arthur Ashe Center. The creation of this innovative plan was made possible through a $200,000 Cities of Service Leadership Grant awarded to the City last June, funded jointly by the Rockefeller Foundation and Bloomberg Philanthropies.

The N2N High-Impact Service Plan seeks to match community volunteers with six key service initiatives that align with the City’s Balanced Scorecard and Anti-Poverty Initiative and address critical issues affecting the high-risk populations of youth and the elderly who reside in the City of Richmond. In the plan’s second year, additional initiatives will be launched to serve people with disabilities. Year one initiatives include:

1) Mentoring Children of Incarcerated Parents: In partnership with New Jubilee Family and Educational Life Center, volunteer mentors will be connected to children of incarcerated parents for at least one hour per week. The program seeks to ensure better academic preparedness of elementary school students; raise the number of middle school students transitioning to high school on time; and reduce absenteeism rates among high school students that are truant, at danger of dropping out, or who have dropped out of school.

2) Middle School Mentoring: In partnership with Communities In Schools, volunteer mentors will be recruited from local businesses to dramatically expand the number of middle school students matched with mentors.

3) Faith-Based Nurturing Parenting Collaborative: In partnership with the City of Richmond Early Childhood Development Initiative, volunteers will facilitate and support evidence-based parenting education programs that ensure better academic preparedness of elementary school students.

4) Economic and Personal Finance Education for Youth: In partnership with Junior Achievement, volunteers will be matched with a local classroom and work with age-appropriate curricula designed to teach elementary students about their roles as individuals, workers, and consumers and to prepare middle grade and high school students for key economic and workforce issues they will face.

5) Middle School Academic Enhancement and Mentoring: In partnership with Higher Achievement, volunteer mentors will be matched with middle school students to raise the number of middle school youth successfully transitioning to high-school on-time.

6) Money Management Bill Payers: In partnership with Senior Connections, volunteers will be matched to seniors who need help managing their personal finances.

Each of the six service initiatives is made possible through collaborative partnerships with City of Richmond governmental departments, non-profit, and faith-based organizations. Partnering organizations were identified based on two primary requisites: First, they have missions and/or initiatives that align with the City’s Balanced Scorecard and Mayor Jones’ anti-poverty initiative; Second, they have executive leadership who are committed to working in partnership with the City of Richmond and each other to produce deeper results as related to the systemic issues facing Richmond’s youth and elderly. As success is achieved, more initiatives with new partners will be added, including partners who serve residents with disabilities, which is the third priority population for N2N.

Mayor Jones stated that, “The City of Richmond was honored to be awarded a Cities of Service Leadership Grant. We are grateful to both Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Rockefeller Foundation for selecting Richmond and supporting our efforts related to youth, elderly and persons with disabilities. The Neighbor-To-Neighbor Service Plan that we have created – which is intentionally collaborative and community-inclusive – is enabling us to leverage the power of civic engagement and volunteerism to become a safer, healthier, and more economically vibrant city.”

Joining the Mayor for the N2N Service Plan Launch was Tom Folliard, CEO and President of Carmax. Both Mr. Folliard and his company have been exemplary models of how civic engagement and volunteerism can positively enhance the lives of others. Over the past few years, Mr. Folliard and Carmax have donated approximately $400,000 toward the renovation of the city’s Pine Camp facilities and outdoor basketball courts. Donations in excess of $40,000 are given each year to help run the city’s summer youth basketball league and a season ending awards ceremony.

Visit the Neighbor to Neighbor page here
and click on downloads to view the complete N2N High-Impact Service Plan.

About Cities of Service

Founded in New York City on September 10, 2009 by 17 mayors from cities around the nation, Cities of Service is a bipartisan coalition of mayors who have committed to work together to engage citizens in a multi-year effort to address pressing city needs through impact volunteerism. The coalition includes more than 100 mayors, representing more than 49 million Americans across the nation.

Cities of Service supports mayors to leverage citizen service strategies, addressing local needs and making government more effective. All Cities of Service efforts are characterized by a concept called “impact volunteering” – volunteer strategies that target community needs, use best practices, and set clear outcomes and measures to gauge progress.

About Cities of Service Leadership Grants

In June 2010, the second round of Cities of Service Leadership Grants, funded jointly by the Rockefeller Foundation and Bloomberg Philanthropies, were awarded to Austin, TX; Atlanta, GA; Baltimore, MD; Baton Rouge, LA; Chula Vista, CA; Houston, TX; Little Rock, AR; Orlando, FL; Pittsburgh, PA; and Richmond, VA. As with the first round, these two-year grants enable cities to hire Chief Service Officers responsible for developing and implementing high-impact service plans.

The first round of Cities of Service Leadership Grants, funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, were awarded in January 2010 to Chicago, IL; Detroit, MI; Los Angeles, CA; Nashville, TN; Newark, NJ; Omaha, NE; Philadelphia, PA; Sacramento, CA; Savannah, GA; and Seattle, WA. These ten cities launched high-impact service plans in September 2010.

The first high-impact service plan was developed by New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg when he created NYC Service and hired the nation’s first Chief Service Officer in 2009.

More information about the coalition can be found at www.citiesofservice.org.

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