Last month, 43 individuals from 25 organizations, including parents and community leaders, participated in our first ever two-day retreat, Aligning for Change. This retreat allowed for a refocus on racial equity, prioritizing shared power with Black and brown parents, and utilizing StriveTogether’s Theory of Action as a blueprint for the road ahead. After two years of being physically distanced, we were in shared space together, and engaged in interactive sessions and learning activities to move the Alliance forward.

We took an introspective look at our own upbringing and development, to better understand factors that set us back, or propelled us ahead, and to understand how challenges parents face today impact their families and afford them the opportunity to bring their lived experience to the table.

We took a deep dive into Centering Equity in Collective Impact to focus on and reaffirm our commitment to racial equity, and used World Café Model to better understand how our new work focused on the Whole Child will improve outcomes for children, pre-natal to age 8.

As we work to change systems to improve results for youth and families, it is imperative to dissect the levels of systems change, policies, practices and resource flows that affect conditions at the population level. Understanding how roles, connections and power dynamics play a part in dismantling structures that have long disenfranchised Black and brown people and getting to the root of mental models is an important step.

ROC the Future Alliance is diligently working to get all cross-sector partners to adopt the whole-child, parent-led, anti-racist, family and community-voice centered way of doing business in support of children.

Our next steps are to use the input and information generated from the retreat to support our participation in the upcoming StriveTogether Systems Change Assessment scheduled for October 4-6 (more about that in the summer issue), and to strengthen the implementation and launch of the Whole Child Initiative.

Stay tuned for more detail’s coming soon.