Last week Program Director, Jessica Flowers, participated in her third gathering of Child Wellbeing Change Leaders in Oakland, California. Fueled by change leaders, incubated by Ashoka, and supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Children’s Wellbeing Initiative (CWI) began in 2014 as a learning project to explore how cross-sector collaboration could drive systems-change for children. At the heart of this movement is the idea that, in addition to physical wellbeing, children need to develop a strong sense of self, belonging, and purpose in order to thrive. Together, this network of 23 change leaders are doing just that.
Each member of the change team represents an organization or project that supports under-served children and youth between the ages of 0-17. Change leaders’ focus areas vary from school-based emotional and spiritual development, to workforce training and placement, to maternal health, and support for caregivers.
This latest gathering in Oakland focused on developing a plan to sustain the initiative financially and activate an action plan for creating change.
Jessica said about her experience, “I am extremely honored to be a part of this group of people who are tirelessly working for change and psychological stability for all children. They inspire me to look at my own work, language, and bias in a new way and give me hope that there are adults who will work hand in hand with communities to help children thrive. Our work at Free Arts, and nationwide, will be more intentional and far reaching because of our connection to this initiative. ”