Monday, July 19, 2010

Letter to Nashville Youth Workers - Mayor Dean's Quest to help Nashville be a Great City for Young People

Dear Colleagues,

As you likely know by now, Mayor Dean appointed a Task Force five months ago to study, to strategize, and to develop a visionary and guiding document to help Nashville be a great city for young people; a safe, supportive, inclusive, engaging, and healthy city for young people.

On July 28 at 10am at the Youth Opportunity Center, MayTask Force will formally present this plan to the Mayor.

I am asking if you will join in supporting these efforts, but more importantly, if you can help us rally some young people to demonstrate their support for this work. While the specifics of the plan will not be launched until that day, I have put a brief description below if you would like to share it with your youth to explain the nature of the process and the event. Young people have been involved in every phase of this work, from the Mayor's Youth Council and the youth summit, to youth-led focus groups, to a youth-led survey of over 1200 students, to youth members of the task force and even a youth chair of the task force. Youth also submitted artwork, poetry, and even an original song! The commitment to youth has been practiced in the process.

This is not "just another task force." This is a huge step forward for our city in our coordination, commitment to and investment in youth, and it is a step that is already drawing national attention for both its scope and specificity. Please help us support these effort and celebrate on July 28.

I would appreciate it if you could let me know if you will be attending and if you will be bringing young people.

Thanks so much!


About 5 months ago, Mayor Karl Dean organized a Task Force of more than 50 Nashville leaders from all sectors of the community to come together and help develop a Child and Youth Master Plan. The purpose of such a plan is to set a vision and organize and prioritize strategies for the city to ensure that its young people grow up healthy, safe, educated and prepared for life.

The Task Force is divided into four committees whose focus is described briefly below and spans a variety of ages: 0-5, 6-10, 11-13, 14-18, and 19-21 years old.
  • Education Lifecycle: What supports and opportunities do we need to focus on in terms of education in the life of a child/young person from 0 to 21 years of age? What is in place and working? What do we need to improve? What does success look like for a young person in regard to education?
  • Health and Safety: What does it mean for our young people to be healthy? What does safety mean in regard to our young people? What are we doing that is working? What are the biggest health and safety concerns for children/youth? What do we need to improve on? What does success look like?
  • Out of School Time: What opportunities do our young people have for out of school time activities? What does this look like across different ages? What opportunities do we want for our young people? What are we already doing well? What do we need to improve on?
  • Youth Mobility and Stability: What are the key issues in regard to child/youth and family mobility and stability? What sorts of things cause instability (housing, jobs, etc.)? What can we improve to create more stability? How can we ensure access to positive mobility (like transportation)?

Anderson Williams
Director of Consulting
Oasis Center