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September 2007Vol. 8, No. 8Strategies for Community Engagement

Programs that focus on engaging community residents may achieve better and more sustainable outcomes for children and families. That was one of the conclusions in a recent issue of the Casey Connects quarterly newsletter, which highlighted community engagement strategies used by Annie E. Casey Foundation's initiatives in neighborhoods across the country. Several promising strategies were described, including:

  • Study and family circles
  • Network organizing
  • Community organizing and mobilization
  • Resident leadership institutes
  • Trusted advocates

The articles give real-life examples of these strategies in action and their impact on the communities they serve. By engaging trusted advocates in the neighborhood, programs can develop resident leaders who encourage other residents to address local challenges and strengthen social networks in the community. This "give-get model" of social networking means residents get a lot out of their community involvement but also give back, thereby creating a more durable positive change in the neighborhood. The programs found that residents who are engaged feel more invested in the outcomes and are even more willing to coordinate data collection for evaluation efforts.

Read more in the newsletter, available for download on the Annie E. Casey Foundation website: (PDF - 985 KB)