Sheila Merry began her service as executive director of the communitywide Cradle to Career initiative last week. The initiative represents the commitment of the two School Districts, the City of Evanston and many not-for-profit organizations to reach beyond surface collaboration to achieve what is known as collective impact. The goal of the organization is, “By the age of 23, all Evanston young adults will be leading productive lives, building on the resources, education, and support that they and their families have had to help them grow into resilient, educated, healthy, self-sufficient, and socially responsible adults.” 

Dr. Eric Witherspoon, District 202 superintendent, said the initiative now has 27 partners, “and they are highly committed. Three other important entities have expressed interest in becoming partners.” He also said a “smaller operations team” has been designated “to help move things along: Evanston Community Foundation, Infant Welfare Society of Evanston, McGaw Y, Youth Organizations Umbrella, YWCA Evanston/North Shore, School District 65, School District 202, the City of Evanston, NorthShore University HealthSystem, Youth Job Center, Northwestern Univeristy and United Way.”