At 7:30 am this week at the Lee Wetherington Boys & Girls Club, the excited buzz in the air was not created by children. The sounds of approval and applause were freely given by 200 adults, not for athletic achievement, but for ideas, inspirational thoughts, and a shared vision of success for the families in our region.

The Community Foundation of Sarasota County convened thought leaders from multiple sectors in our region and gave us an opportunity to learn about the two-generational approach they are applying to much of their work. Inspired by Ascend at the Aspen Institute, this approach posits that a powerful way to help struggling families move beyond poverty is through a “two-generation” strategy, which addresses the needs of and opportunities for parents and children together.

National success stories were shared by an impressive line-up of speakers, who led us in discussions and exercises designed to have us explore what it will take to create an America in which a legacy of economic security and educational success passes from one generation to the next. Local success stories were shared, and celebrated, but the very real need that still remains in our communities gave a sense of urgency to all of our discussions.

The conversations circled around the concept of collaborations. We can do together that which none of us would be able to manage separately. These collaborations will require us to hold each other accountable, to think creatively, and to meet the families where they are.   The 2Gen Summit allowed us to stretch our ideas of what is possible and laid groundwork for our future success.  The Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading is proud to play a part in this movement.

photo credit: Pink Piggie Plucked from his Bath via photopin (license)


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