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The Evanston Cradle to Career (EC2C) initiative is in the process of developing overarching three-year goals, Sheila Merry, executive director of EC2C, told the Literacy Solution Design Team on March 16. She invited the members of the literacy team to comment on the draft.

The draft goals and proposed outcomes include:

• “Address systemic issues that undermine success of children, youth, and young adults in Evanston.” The outcomes are to “increase awareness and understanding of equity and trauma-informed care in Evanston,” and “increase commitment to identifying and eliminating system barriers related to lack of equity and trauma-informed care in Evanston.

• “Advance work of the Solution Design Teams to impact children, youth, and young adults in Evanston.” The outcomes are to “increase literacy among children, youth, and young adults,” and “identify other areas of potential Solution Design Team Intervention.” So far, the only solution design team that has been formed is the Literacy Solution Design Team, that has five working groups, each of which has adopted short- and long-term goals and is taking steps to achieve those goals. Ms. Merry said she hoped to spin off another solution design team in the next year or two to focus on another issue.

• “Build measurement capacity and report on outcomes.” The outcomes include building effective measurement tools, increasing the ability to collect and share data, and reporting the outcomes.

• Strengthen EC2C organizational identity and community understanding of the goals and accomplishments of EC2C.

• “Create community-wide ownership of the goals and activities of EC2C.” The outcomes include expanding the reach of EC2C to include underrepresented voices and engaging underrepresented community members to be co-leaders of the work.

Several members of the literacy commented on how prominently “trauma” was mentioned in the goals. Ms. Merry said it is important to build a greater understanding in the community about the impact trauma has on children’s ability to learn and on their physical and emotional well-being. Likewise, she said, it is important to improve trauma-informed care in the community.

Cari Levin suggested that learning disabilities be considered a “systemic barrier” within the meaning of goal number 1. She said that 85% of the children who have a disability have dislexsia, which impacts children’s ability to read.

Gretchen Livingston suggested that baseline data be established on the number of children who experience trauma, including their ages. She also suggested that involving underrepresented community members in the work of EC2C be made a goal, rather than an outcome measure for goal number 5.

It is anticipated that a leadership team will continue to work on the goals.

Larry Gavin

Larry Gavin was a co-founder of the Evanston RoundTable in 1998 and assisted in its conversion to a non-profit in 2021. He has received many journalism awards for his articles on education, housing and...