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The Communityworks Advisory Board, in partnership with the Oak Park-River Forest Community Foundation, currently supports three areas of focus: the success of all youth, environmental sustainability and the development of community leaders. The Success of All Youth (SAY) developed following a series of Community Cafés that outlined the community's aspirations to ensure that every young person in Oak Park and River Forest was supported through the developmental years to reach his or her full potential.
Toward the development of the success of all youth, Communityworks hosted a Design Institute that gathered over 100 representatives from the community, to have a conversation about the need to create a coordinated, systems-based approach surrounding the input gathered at the Community Cafés.
The Design Institute included am introduction to Strive Together, a national organization that provides a guide to map the success of youth from cradle to career. Facilitators from Strive Together and the Community Foundation outlined a plan for our community's initiative, which became SAY.
Based on input from the Design Institute, the Oak Park-River Forest Community Foundation hired dedicated SAY staff in the fall of 2014.
Oak Park and River Forest is employing a cradle-to career model in building our civic infrastructure to ensure alignment, coordination, and sustainable systems. There has already been strong momentum across Oak Park and River Forest to embrace SAY. All three public school districts, our early childhood sectors, leadership from both villages, social impact agencies, faith-based organizations and the Community Foundation have begun building the SAY framework. Leaders from these varied sectors have collaborated to create SAY’s vision and mission, as well as establish goals and objectives for our youth at every stage of development.