Promise Neighborhoods is a US Department of Education-funded program that brings community stakeholders together to create and implement a plan to improve educational and developmental outcomes for young people in their neighborhoods. CHLDC was awarded a US DOE Promise Neighborhoods planning grant in 2013, which charged us with leading a community-based planning process to develop a cradle-to-college continuum of solutions for young people who live and go to school in Cypress Hills, Brooklyn. From 2013-2014, we engaged hundreds of neighborhood residents in an extensive needs assessment through surveying, a community forum, and follow-up focus groups. At the same time, we convened more than 50 community partners in regular working groups, focused on four content areas: School Readiness (which focused on early childhood outcomes); K-12 Education and College Access; Health; and Community Life and Safety, as well as a working group focused on strengthening the sustainability of the initiative. We also convened a Steering Committee, which included representatives of all working groups, as well as two CHLDC board members, who are neighborhood residents.Through these working groups, partners determined which programs and strategies would best serve the needs that neighborhood residents identified over the course of the planning year. As a result of these efforts, our team crafted the final version of the Promise Neighborhoods plan, which includes approximately 60 evidence-based solutions that will improve the quality of education, safety, and health for the Cypress Hills community.
In the spring of 2015, we began the first phase of implementing our plan, convening a group of community partners that currently run programs within the Promise Neighborhood zone and affiliated schools. Representatives from these partner organizations regularly meet and analyze programmatic data in order to strengthen their work, communicating across sectors so that collectively, their programs will ensure successful outcomes for youth in Cypress Hills. In addition to facilitating the growth of this group’s collective impact, CHLDC is also working to support the expansion of high-quality early childhood education opportunities for our youngest residents of Cypress Hills.
Director, Cypress Hills Promise Neighborhood