Measuring Impact, Empowering Youth
With the many challenges and stresses that Pottstown area youth are experiencing today, empowering kids with the social, emotional, and academic tools they need to meet those challenges is vital. Since 2017, long-term Foundation partners YWCA TriCounty Area and Trellis for Tomorrow have been working to evaluate their programs using Hello Insight’s data assessment tools, which are specifically tailored to positive youth development (PYD) and social and emotional learning (SEL).
Those insights have never been more important. Research shows that giving kids the SEL tools they need today leads to success not only in their schoolwork and relationships, but those early lessons also lead to improved health and quality of life well into adulthood.
YWCA TriCounty Area and Trellis for Tomorrow were joined this year by a third Foundation community partner, Green Valleys Watershed Association, which utilized Hello Insight’s new Outdoor Social and Emotional Learning Tool to focus on youth development in general, as well as specifically fostering “a deep connection to nature, an ability to provide support of the outdoors, and a sense of well-being when in the outdoors.”
Over the years, YWCA TriCounty and Trellis for Tomorrow have used Hello Insight across a combined fourteen sites and programs. As in past years, Hello Insight provided valuable data on specific programs for participating organizations’ work in 2021-2022, including:
• YWCA Tri-County Area: Century, Girls in Charge, Great Girls Today, Young Women Rising, YW Summer of Justice, and 2022 Winter Boys to Men’Tors
• Trellis for Tomorrow: SEED Skills 2022
• Green Valleys: H2Yo
Among the findings across the entire set of youth programs offered were that 94% of young participants developed in at least one SEL capacity (Contribution, Positive Identity, Self-Management, Academic Self Efficacy, Social Skills) with the majority of youth participants developing in at least three SEL capacities. Considering the varied programs offered by the Foundation’s dedicated community partners, it’s no surprise that their efforts reached so many young people in different ways.
Those SEL skills are vital in preparing youth from all backgrounds for success given the constant challenges of the past years brought about by the pandemic and its consequences for young people. Reflecting that need, U.S. Department of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona stated, “quality out of school-time programs have always supported students’ academic, social, and emotional growth, but as we recover from the pandemic, these opportunities have never mattered more. We need bold action, especially for low-income students and students of color who have historically struggled to access quality afterschool programs and rich summer learning experiences.”
In addition to the beneifits of Hello Insight’s data analysis for developing programs and providing learning improvements, participaing organizations reported benefiting from the ability to share data on their programs’ impact on community youth with prospective grant funders and donors.
After taking a hiatus last year, TriCounty Community Network’s C2 Community Camp & Launching Leaders program will be using the program again in 2023, along with the STRIVE Initiative’s mentoring program, Created for Greatness, which matches positive adult mentors to Pottstown students.
As one of the two pillars of Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation’s grantmaking, Developing Youth Potential continues to be a priority, and expanding youth development opportunities both in and out of the classroom relies on our dedicated partners across Pottstown area communities.
For more on our results-oriented approach to grantmaking and how we are seeking to make a difference in partnership with nonprofits, schools, and local government, visit pottstownfoundation.org/grantmaking.