Evanston’s Cradle to Career (EC2C) initiative continues to push forward to find ways to pursue the goal of supporting increased literacy in the community. At their May 29 meeting, the Community Literacy Solutions Design Team met and reached consensus on five main areas of focus.  

“We are a community with tremendous riches and opportunity, yet we continue to fail many of our children,” said EC2C Executive Director Sheila Merry, as she welcomed attendees to the meeting. “We need to find where we are losing kids along the way. If we fulfill our goals, we will make a dent.”

Members present at the meeting were given a colored chart created from discussions at the inaugural meeting. The chart divided the topic of literacy into five smaller, workable categories.  The group was then asked to decide if the five “buckets” correctly identified the primary areas of focus.  After it was unanimously agreed that the categories were appropriate, members were asked to select their area of interest and join an action team created around each of the five topics.

One group will focus on health and safety issues that affect a child’s ability to learn. A second will analyze the literacy skills needed to support academic success at all stages. A third group will look at ways to ensure all young adults have a plan for after high school and the skills and support to execute that plan. A fourth group will examine how to provide assistance to parents and other guardians so that they can support their children’s literacy. The fifth group will focus on how Evanston organizations can work together to build the capacity for literacy within the community.

Each new team was asked: “Who is missing?” Members discussed who else should be included in their group and how they wanted to proceed. Action teams will meet twice a month, once during the monthly Design Team meeting and once on their own.

“This is a huge transition moment,” said Ms. Merry. “We’re moving.”  She stressed the need for the group to make “progress early on,” that the group cannot be one that “just talks.”  The next meeting of the Design Team is scheduled for June 10.