Your 2016-2017 Prosper Waco Initiative Report is here!

By Christina Helmick

I recently was at a communications conference in Miami and an attendee asked the speaker, “What are your tips on communicating all the great things happening in your organization and how they all fit into the bigger picture?” I moved to the edge of my seat to be sure I could hear the speaker’s response. The speaker answered with a chuckle followed by what he considered to be a communication rule —“Nonprofits rely heavily on the use of success stories to communicate. Along with the success story, make sure you tie it back into how it fits into the bigger picture. One way I’ve typically tied those two things together with is the use of data.” I thought to myself jackpot!

As the backbone organization of the Prosper Waco initiative, one of our roles is to communicate the successes of the initiative, highlight the partners involved and tie all that back to the big picture through the data that we are tracking. One way the staff pulls all of this together is through an annual report. Around this time each year, the staff produces an annual report that focuses on the progress of the initiative, the efforts within the Prosper Waco umbrella and how organizations and residents can become involved in the initiative.

The 2016-2017 Prosper Waco Initiative Report is ready for distribution! The report is the one-stop-shop for residents, organizations, employers and others to learn about the history of the Prosper Waco initiative, efforts within the Prosper Waco initiative umbrella, initiative goals, key partners and how residents and organizations can become involved in improving overall quality of life in Waco.

For example, on page 12 you will see a graph illustrating the trends in school readiness for Waco ISD pre-kindergarten students. You will notice a decrease in proficiency from Fall 2015 to Fall 2016. The graph also shows the target and overall goal of school readiness—increase the percentage of Kindergarten-ready students (which would be a target goal of 22%).

To the left of the graph of page 13, you will see an explanation of one of the many efforts addressing the School Readiness goal.  The effort highlighted is “Reach Out & Read,” a collaborative approach to improving school readiness that utilizes doctors and nurses to help parents understand the importance of reading to their children.

As you peruse the entire report, you will notice the various, cross-sector efforts, led by multiple partners, that are addressing the goals of the initiative. Pages 36 and 37 are an overview of the efforts within the Prosper Waco umbrella and what goal(s) of the initiative each is addressing.

As an organization we try to emphasize there is no silver bullet in alleviating poverty. You may think, “Gee, there is so much going on, why should we keep at it?”  Yes, our community is doing amazing work, and we still have work to do. That’s why it is so important to continue the coordinated, cross-sector conversations happening at the Working Groups.  Those conversations are helping to align activities to have the biggest impact possible.

It is also important to continue listening to the community’s priorities as in the “What’s Up, Waco?” visioning series, and integrating those priorities into the organization and systems-level conversations happening within the initiative.

And it is important to continue adding new people who are willing to invest in this work, like you. Contact Jillian Jones ([email protected] or call 254-741-0081) to learn how to become involved and to request a digital or physical copy of the 2016-2017 Prosper Waco Initiative Report.

Christina Helmick is the director of communication at Prosper Waco. She is a recent graduate of Baylor University with a BA in Journalism, Public Relations & New Media. Originally she is from Washington, D.C., but has stayed in Waco post-graduation.  She is an active mentor at J.H. Hines Elementary School, enjoys spending time with her family and watching Baylor football. Sic ’em Bears!

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email [email protected] for more information.




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