Crayons to Calculators
Through Crayons to Calculators we collaborate with seven local agencies to ensure all students in the Boulder Valley and St. Vrain Valley School Districts have the school supplies they need each fall. This is a community-wide school supply drive that provides for thousands of students in need. SCCC is a collection site where donors from the community can drop of new back packs full of age-appropriate school supplies. With Crayons to Calculators we deliver the back packs full of supplies to schools, who then distribute to students the week before school starts. All students on free and reduced lunch are listed to receive a back pack, and any other student in need may also make the request for a back pack. The amount of students we serve through this effort is increasing every year. Our partners in this collaboration include Impact on Education, Foothills United Way, I Have a Dream Foundation of Boulder County, Education Foundation for the St. Vrain Valley, Boulder Valley School District, and St. Vrain Valley School District.
Bridges Out of Poverty
Bridges Out of Poverty is an initiative of Boulder County in which SCCC enthusiastically participates, in collaboration with others. Getting Ahead and Boulder County Circles are both pieces of the Bridges model:
Getting Ahead Workshops: We facilitate Getting Ahead workshops which allow participants to investigate their current situation, and create a plan for becoming more economically stable by building their resources and tapping into the support of their community. Getting Ahead encourages personal responsibility as a solution to economic instability. This workshop is part of the Bridges Out of Poverty county-wide initiative.
Circles Campaign of Boulder County: Getting Ahead graduates have the opportunity to participate in Circles, the second phase of the Bridges Out of Poverty model. By collaborating with other agencies to help build with the Circles Campaign for Boulder County, SCCC connects low-income residents with volunteer allies from the community who can assist a resident in working toward economic stability.
Bulk Food Cooperative
SCCC, Emergency Family Assistance Association (EFAA), and Outreach United Resource (OUR) Center all have similar missions. Each agency has a food bank for clients in need of food assistance. Along with facing an increase in need for food assistance in recent years, we have seen a decrease in certain staple food donations.
SCCC, EFAA, and OUR Center have established the Bulk Food Cooperative to purchase staple food items that supplement the donations we receive. We purchase these items together in bulk from national suppliers, as necessary. With agreement from the three purchasing agencies of the items and quantities to be purchased, we order a truckload of product which is then delivered and distributed to our Food Banks.
The Bulk Food Cooperative is an innovative way in which we have come together to find a creative solution to a challenge. Not only that, the Cooperative reduces the costs and shares expenses. It would be ideal if we did not need to purchase food at all and could rely only on donations, but since that is not possible now we are glad to have created a collaborative solution.
SCCC has taken major steps in the past two years to help clients move toward self sufficiency. In 2008 we began providing Case Management. In 2010 we changed the name “Case Management” to “Support Services.” That name change was part of an effort to change vocabulary and shift the paradigm of the general approach service agencies take when working with participants. Then in 2012 we changed the name again, arriving at the program’s current name: “Individual & Family Advocacy.” SCCC’s approach has been to focus on the strengths of the participant seeking assistance. Our Program Director along with representatives of other human services agencies, and with our County Commissioners has worked to create the official Strengths-Based Approach. Not only can this approach be used by all agencies in Boulder County who work with participants, the approach has actually become a part of Boulder County’s Strategic Plan.
Efforts to Outcomes
Together with EFAA, OUR Center, and Community Food Share (CFS), and thanks to a grant from Boulder County, we purchased the Efforts to Outcomes participant management system. This is a software system designed by Social Solutions, a company started by former human service professionals. Social Solutions is dedicated to designing software that connects the efforts we nonprofits and service agencies make to the outcomes that result for our participants and the community at large.
Our collaborative use of ETO helps prevent the duplication of services, and increases our effectiveness at delivering those services. Through ETO we are able to track specific quantitative data more effectively, such as the total of unduplicated participant households served over a period of time, and specific quantitative data points for each individual service. I want to read about SCCC’s measurable impact.