Collaboration: Because Together We Are Stronger

As we move forward from our annual meeting last month with our theme for the year “Deeply Rooted and Branching Out.,” collaboration is front and center in our minds here at Community Partnership.  We know that our work cannot be done in isolation so I’d like to share a little about a few of our key collaborative partnerships that have helped us remain deeply rooted while also helping us branch out.

Our partnership with Springfield Public Schools is one of our longest and most productive and deeply rooted partnerships for sure.  Going back over 15 years, together we’ve worked on getting nurses in the schools, attendance initiatives, alcohol and drug prevention campaigns, parent involvement to engage parents, afterschool and academic enrichment programming to help students succeed in school and have a safe place to stay after school hours, social workers in the schools, the Kids First Committee,  and drug prevention peer to peer programs at several schools, just to name a few.  We were pleased to branch out in a new collaborative effort at the end of last year  with SPS, Ozarks Food Harvest, and Council of Churches, to provide monthly mobile food pantries at school sites this year.  Just since May, this effort has served 512 families.

The City of Springfield has been a strong partner of ours for many years as well.  Working collaboratively on neighborhood clean-ups, Lead & Learn neighborhood leadership development programming, City University, developing new neighborhood associations, National Night Out, neighborhood assessments, recovery and clean-up efforts after the 2007 ice storm, we’ve been able to leverage far more resources and social capital together than separately.

An exciting expanded partnership has started with Parents as Teachers, the Doula Foundation, and the Pregnancy Care Center through our Early Childhood division and the Baby and Me and Educare programs.  This partnership is allowing all four organizations to branch out and serve more families together!

Lastly, a true model for collaboration is our partnership with OTC and Pathways United Methodist Church.  Coming together 10 years ago to develop a neighborhood based adult education/GED program, OTC agreed to provide the instructor and tutors, Pathways UMC agreed to provide free space for classes and child care, and we agreed to provide the child care workers and a meal for each class.  We all brought resources and expertise to the table and the program continues to this day.

Obviously I couldn’t touch on all the collaborations and partnerships we are proud to be a part of…that will continue in future blogs.  But I hope these examples reinforce what we all know and talk about in our community–that collaboration is real and not just lip service and that it is meaningful and makes a real impact every day.