Photo: Snap from the 2Gen Summit

Empowering Families: The 2Gen Approach

Posted on May 21, 2024 by Avery Crews Prado de Lima, TPF Fellow 2023/24

In February, the Community Foundation of Sarasota County hosted a 2Gen Summit, where practitioners, community members, and policymakers came together to examine how the 2Gen Approach has been integrated into programming throughout the community and the ways that it focuses on intentionally strengthening families. The Aspen Institute defines the 2Gen Approach as an approach where families are the experts and organizations "meaningfully engage parents and caregivers in designing policies and programs that affect them in order to develop holistic, integrated, and equity-focused solutions. This family-centered lens helps to immediately identify whole families' needs and goals to inform integrations and alignments to programs that serve them, which maximizes long-term impact for families and communities."

On April 30, community members were brought together once again as a result of their shared desire to connect more deeply on certain topics discussed at the summit. TPF initiative lead Cheri Coryea and I facilitated four roundtable discussions with 50 community members focused on the question, "How can organizations incorporate the voices of those with the lived experiences of their work to inform program design, services, and success measures?"

These conversations highlighted the importance of our own lived experiences in our work, leading to deep discussions on how best to integrate these experiences into our daily approach. They also provided local nonprofits the opportunity to collaborate with area organizations, develop strategies to include the voices of those with lived experience in program development, and cultivate partnerships with fellow nonprofits. During these conversations, the issue of language came up time and time again, emphasizing the 'us versus them' mentality and the need to forge a shared language between organizations, partners, and clientele to best support everyone involved. All these discussions focused on the importance of the 2Gen Approach in our community and the value of centering families and their lived experiences in how we tackle issues.

Here are some key takeaways from the discussions held that day:
  • Much of the conversation about 2Gen work and the value of lived experiences focused on integrating Trauma Informed Care (internal and external) into the work being done to support clients and staff.

  • Words are important in building relationships between clients, partners, and staff, and we must be purposeful in our approach to communication. Language that creates a "we" instead of an "us vs. them" should be centered, and to do this, there must be transparency.

  • Clients and staff should be empowered to incorporate their lived experiences into the work they do each day.
    Not everyone can or wants to engage in the same way. Multiple methods and incentives should be considered to encourage participation in the work that we do.

Additional conversations and opportunities to connect relating to the 2Gen Summit and the topics discussed will be shared by the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. You can learn more about this work here.

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