You can play a role in the dramatic and inspiring renewal of lives and communities that is supported and augmented through the Woodson Center. Opportunities to become involved include the following:
Funds invested in the Woodson Center’s efforts to strengthen effective community initiatives have produced impact that far exceed the amount given. For example, the Violence Free Zone created by Milwaukee’s Running Rebels resulted in a striking decrease in violence and truancy in the schools and a decrease in crime in the surrounding community as well. In addition, a Running Rebels diversion program that provided extensive monitoring in lieu of the incarceration of young offenders generated a savings of $63 million for the county.
The Woodson Center promotes a model in which volunteers offer support in their area of expertise. For example, students and academicians could engage in evaluations of the impact of community groups that could enhance their prospects of securing financial support; those with business expertise could guide small-business start-ups and entrepreneurial ventures that have been a life-line for youths and participants in a prison re-entry program; and those with managerial experience could free neighborhood leaders from office tasks, allowing them to focus on the life-salvaging outreach that they, uniquely, can offer.
In addition to providing funding, advocates of the Woodson Center’s motto of “Transforming Lives, Schools, and Troubled Neighborhoods from the Inside Out” can make in-kind investments to support the work of community organizations, such as building supplies, computers and educational equipment, and athletic gear.
Community leaders and neighborhood organizations are invited to join the Woodson Center’s Community Affiliate Network. Benefits of membership include:
The Woodson Center operates throughout the nation to help community and faith-based organizations with training, technical assistance and linkages to sources of support. The Center chronicles and interprets their experiences to make recommendations for public policy and works to remove barriers that hamper the efforts to solve societal problems.
“I’m not even going to say it’s a program, it’s really a cultural shift, an emphasis on bringing the community into our schools and embracing our children. We saw instant improvement in suspensions, instant improvement in class disruptions, in fact, talking with the principals, they have told me they don’t know how they could be a principal without the program in the schools. So it’s been a very positive experience. The data presents itself. It’s actually changing lives of children.”
“The VFZ program has been a tremendous success. [After two years of the VFZ] Madison High School had the highest gain of any Dallas high school in academic test scores. Madison was having serious problems, gangs were running wild, there was just general unruliness, and there was no education going on. Omar’s group [CNE community partner Vision Regeneration] went in and stabilized the situation, assisted the administration of the school, and brought order. That school was one of the toughest in the city of Dallas. They addressed the behavior issues, and got the school under control. Academics could then go on.”
“I believe that the youth intervention aspects of the Violence Free Zone at George Wythe High School have impacted Motor Vehicle Theft in Sector 312. Probably our largest incident producer in 2007 in that crime was the Northrop Neighborhood, the area immediately adjacent to GWHS. With the introduction of the VFZ, kids are staying in school more and are less of a negative impact on the adjacent neighborhood.”
Let us know how the Woodson Center has made a difference in your life.