WHAT DREW YOU TO ECS?
I came to ECS because my community development career has always been connected to economic mobility and racial justice. ECS is endeavoring to deliver high-quality services to deeply marginalized communities and that matches my commitment.
I'm not here to deliver crumbs or poor performing programs. I’m here to deliver programs of excellent quality that center on the lived experiences and the needs, ambitions, and interests of communities of color across the Greater Philadelphia region.
HOW ARE ECS PROGRAMS CHANGING?
At the macro-level, funders were looking at outputs: how many? Now they are looking at outcomes — how did we do it and how impactful were the actual results? ECS, like many social service organizations, has gone through an evolution as the social services sector has changed. I think the other change has been that ECS has evolved in its understanding of what communities need in order to be high resource, high performing, and what we are willing and able to invest in that transformation while balancing our Episcopal faith tradition.
HOW IMPORTANT WAS THE GRAND OPENING OF ST. BARNABAS?
It was such a lovely, wonderful day! We announced to our neighbors that we're here, and it was a way for us to report out to people who participated in our community needs assessment about how ECS will deliver on what we learned during that process. The grand opening launched our community engagement initiative and you know, cotton candy never hurt anybody.
HOW IS THE MINDSET PROGRAM INTEGRAL TO THE ECS MISSION?
MindSet is our flagship program. MindSet is an up-to-seven-year holistic coaching program that provides individual coaches to participants who are admitted into the program. They are rewarded with matched savings dollars to build assets, they earn incentives for reaching their goals, and they get the individualized support and wrap-around services from our housing specialist, our health and wellness specialists, our career development specialist, and our financial specialist. We are excited to double our investment in the program and its size this current fiscal year.
WHAT GOALS DO YOU HAVE FOR THE MINDSET PROGRAM AT ECS?
My goal would be that every participant in MindSet is enrolled in a current workforce training program with one of the reputable organizations here in the city. It's a dual enrollment: getting a new software engineering credential, but also saying yes to MindSet, and we just walk alongside you the whole way through your training and then upon program completion and job acquisition. And you have a long-term, holistic accountability partner to build your career, right? That's the hope and the vision and strategy.
HOW DOES OUT OF SCHOOL TIME FIT INTO THE NEW ECS ECOSYSTEM?
ECS’ work is organized according to the Bridge to Prosperity®. And there are five pillars to the
Bridge to Prosperity. And one of those is family stability. The picture of success is that childcare needs do not get in the way. And so our programs for children really enable their caregivers to run a business or work full-time while their children are learning and safe in our OST programs. Our early education programs deliver a two-generational model of the Bridge to Prosperity in an exciting way.
WHAT DO YOU THINK ECS WILL BE MOST PROUD OF A YEAR FROM NOW?
We will be able to celebrate tangibly how the Bridge to Prosperity shows up in people's lives.
It's not just Out of School Time. It's not just our housing programs, it's not just Health and
Wellness, so on and so forth. It's all of these things combined, right? And so that's what I think we will be most proud of — really investing in all of the ways ECS shows up.