This past year we completed a strategic plan and business outlook for Village of Promise, a Huntsville, Alabama-based non-profit designed to break the cycle of poverty birth to college. It is an amazing program based upon the pioneering work of Geoffrey Canada and the Harlem Children's Zone. We were fortunate to have been involved on the ground floor of this effort, completing research on the status of both education and poverty in the city of Huntsville among key opinion leaders. Working with a steering committee, we applied the research and findings, localizing areas of the city in which the strategic plan would focus.
This program works. A quick review of Canada's work in Harlem demonstrates that the cycle of poverty can be broken. The key is developing wrap around services in the various facets of young people's lives - from healthcare, education, and other community services - that meet the needs of students in the programs. As long as students remain in the service pipeline, they have an incredible retention and success rate. Most importantly, they promise that every student who remains in the program will graduate from college, demonstrating that the cycle of poverty can and is being broken through this program.
Hats off to Bobby Bradley and Gloria Batts, the chief architects of this program. We invite you to learn more about their program at their website, or check them out on Facebook.