The Prosperamos Juntos model looks like a collective impact model, but takes it a step further, explained Tim Barr with Methodist Healthcare Ministries. Collective impact brings together nonprofits, government entities, churches, schools and other groups all working to solve a problem. Each uses insights and tools from their respective spheres to reach a holistic, multi-faceted solution.
What collective impact efforts often miss, Barr said, is the deep engagement, the humble partnership with those being served.
“Part of the transformation is recognizing when we are stuck in a charity mentality,” Barr said. Prosperamos Juntos wants to move from charity—bringing in solutions; to equity—partnership and community leadership; to liberation—power coming from the community and generating pride in the community.
The new coaltion’s work compliments the efforts of the H. E. Butt Foundation in Leakey, where the Real County Community Initiative (RCCI) is currently focusing on early childhood education and childcare.
But rather than simply trying to replicate the Leakey work in Camp Wood, the Foundation decided to join up with Team Real and follow a learning collaborative model. When they listened to Camp Wood, said Dana Williams, director of RCCI for the Foundation, grandparents like Sosa spoke up, stepped up, and will soon be part of the Team Real leadership, shaping their own support.
“We know (grandparents raising grandchildren) is not unique to Real County, but we recognize that the solutions that are most powerful are unique to the county,” Williams said.
Their first gathering, safely outdoors on a beautiful spring day, confirmed what they had been seeing: these grandparents were facing complex challenges, but they were willing and able to meet them.
“They weren’t just there to get, they were also there to give. When one had a question, the other one had an answer,” Williams said. “Ultimately we’re going to see it as an asset in the community.”