Building & Sustaining Associations

A Team For Every Child works with local communities to help them build collaborative associations of youth organizations so that they may better serve all the children in their neighborhoods. Typical organizations that comprise these collaborative associations include:

  • After-school sports and recreational programming

  • Summer camps

  • Parks and Recreation

  • Public School Athletics

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  • Boys and Girls Club

  • Police Athletic Leagues

  • Specific Sport Programs, such as “Girls in the Game” or a boxing club.

  • Large scale organizations, such as a regional hospital with community outreach projects, may also join as “affiliate” members.

The distinguishing principle of  A Team For Every Child is building “kinship” with its partner sport organizations. A Team For Every Child does not adhere to a "top down" method but rather a “together with” approach. An example of this can be found in the North Lawndale neighborhood on the west side of Chicago. In 2016, A Team For Every Child sat down with community and youth sports leaders in the area. Over a period of 6 months, we listened to and learned from North Lawndale youth leaders, built trust among participating members, and developed shared goals that came about through discussions, experience, a community-wide needs assessment, and a shared vision. 

 

Forming associations is also advantageous because individual sports programs that serve children from low income families in low income neighborhoods lack the organizational and financial resources to sustain their operations.  Rather than compete with each other for funding that is on the decline, they are able to collaborate for the sake of greater effectiveness and efficiency. In other words, they are stronger together

 

Consider A Team For Every Child’s winning formula for community-based association building:

  1. A Team For Every Child enters communities at the invitation of community leaders focused on children’s welfare and development and operates as an engaged member of the local community establishing trust and a mutually felt sense of kinship.

  2. A Team For Every Child operates as a “catalyst” helping individual organizations to cooperate together for the good of the whole.

  3. We  adhere to the principle of “saving children on the front end.” Children face threats of street violence, gang recruitment, school dropout, and incarceration.  Youth sports and recreational programs are not only valued for the sake of “prevention” but for developing young people as productive citizens.

  4. We conduct a thorough assessment of needs and assets in the community.

  5. Working collaboratively, we develop a strategic plan to address the community’s needs in creating sustainable programming for local youth.

  6. We form the association as a centralized umbrella organization responsible for operational support, creating the processes for planning, recruiting,  data collection, reporting, and seeking funding.  Association members retain their organizational identities but coordinate their operations to serve all of the children in the community.

  7. Finally, A Team For Every Child provides training for coaches and parents that sets the culture and establishes a positive, character-driven experience for local children.

These steps not only transform the culture and provide opportunties, they create a sustainable model for future generations of children. A Team for Every Child works with in kinship with communities to make this happen, but we can't do it alone. Sustaining youth sports requires resources that can be hard to come by in low income areas. Keep reading to learn how A Team for Every Child works to secure resources for partners and how you can help. 

Learn more about the foundation for our work...