Youth programs one step closer to starting

Published 9:26 pm Friday, April 21, 2017

Evidence2Success (E2S) is one step closer to implementing evidence-based programs here in Selma after a meeting Friday with community board members and community leaders.

Evidence2Success is a program funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, which awarded a $300,000 grant to the Dallas County Children’s Policy in October 2015. E2S implements evidence-based programs to help youth overcome challenges in the community by studying risk factors and identifying needs in the community.

Astrid Craig, the E2S community coordinator in Selma, said Friday’s meeting was aimed at narrowing down the program options for Selma and Dallas County.

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“We are getting ready to implement evidence-based programs in the community, so today we were getting feedback from the community,” Craig said. “We had a short list of eight programs. Today the board voted to narrow that down to five programs.”

Craig said they will now reach out to other communities that are offering those five programs and the developers to see how they can be implemented here.

“On our May 12 meeting, we’ll actually finalize and select between two or three programs that we’re going to roll out,” Craig said.

“The group did a great job on the things we had to do today, which was set outcome goals and expectations about what we want these programs to accomplish.”

Two of the programs the community board selected Friday will focus on drug use issues in Selma and Dallas County, and the other three focus on family communication skills and strengthening foundations.

“They’ll be helping students and parents interact in a more positive manner,” Craig said.

“We also have programs we selected that will address some of the drug issues in the community.”

The programs will be implemented in school as well as the community, and Craig said they are aiming at getting them started in August when the school year starts.

“We have some community-based programs, but we also have some school-based programs as well, so our goal is hopefully to have a school-based program we can roll out in Selma City and also Dallas County, as well as a program that can serve the youth through one of the community bases through the policy council,” Craig said.

The risk factors for youth in the area were identified through surveys conducted at Selma City and Dallas County schools for students in sixth, eighth, tenth and twelfth grades.

“We did surveys of a number of grades and we compiled the data, and then the Casey Foundation and their experts looked at the data, gave it back to us, and we were able to identify five or six of the most pressing issues in our community as identified by the kids,” said Robert Armstrong in a previous Times-Journal article.

Craig said she is excited to be one step closer to seeing the programs selected and implemented and can’t wait to see the impact they make in the community.

“I’m just really proud of all the hard work the community board members have done and the volunteers,” Craig said.