From Poverty to Possibility, One Family at a Time – Part Two

25 Apr
Young residents of Jubilee Housing

Young residents of Jubilee Housing

This guest post is by Renise Walker, Director of Resident Life at Jubilee Housing in Washington, DC. In Part One, Renise described how a new initiative, Jubilee Life, is helping families turn their lives around. Here, she shares more details about how the program works.

Jubilee believes that offering a continuum of support from birth through college and career will bring about transformation for children and their families. Research indicates that 90% of brain development occurs by age five, making early education a crucial stage of intervention in changing life outcomes.

Jubilee Youth Services, an out-of-school time program for students in grades K-12, engages children and youth during the hours that they are most susceptible to gang and drug activity. Over the last five years, 100% of program participants enrolled in the teen center have continued on to college.

The Jubilee-to-College scholarship, a four-year renewable scholarship for any Jubilee resident planning to go to college, makes the high cost of college attainable, opening up a pathway to new opportunities for a student and her family.

By offering long-term supports that touch on the most critical stages of childhood development, Jubilee Life intends to create lasting change for individuals and their families, rather than putting a band-aid on the symptoms of poverty.

Jubilee will measure and document effectiveness through the use of both qualitative and quantitative measures. The most powerful results will be conveyed through the stories of transformation we’ve witnessed or gathered from participants. Additionally, quantitative measures will track the growth of individuals over time through the use of self-reports, individual assessments, and observations of increased positive interactions among children and their caregivers.

Most importantly, Jubilee Life is more than a set of programs and services – it is a community of belonging. When Asia DeCosta enrolled in Jubilee Youth Services, she connected with a supportive group of peers and Jubilee staff that helped her to grow.

Asia is gradually making progress. Today, she is seen as a positive role model among her peers, her teachers report significant improvement in her behavior, and she is passing all of her classes.

Jubilee Life is ushering in new ways of collaborating across organizations to ensure that each individual who engages with Jubilee connects with caring neighbors and staff to help nurture and nourish them on their journey towards a better life. For families like Angela and Asia’s and hundreds of others, Jubilee is changing the odds, moving families from poverty to new possibilities.

The story of Jubilee Housing is on pages 69-78 of Making Housing Happen. You can read an excerpt here, and get the book from Wipf and Stock Publishers.

Photo: Courtesy of Jubilee Housing

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