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Engaging and Partnering with Faith-Based Organizations in Initiatives for Children, Youth, and Families

Author: Institute for Educational Leadership

This toolkit provides checklists, suggestions, case studies, and resources for how to recruit and support partners from the faith-based community in efforts to strengthen, improve, or redesign systems of care for children, youth, and families.

The information is intended to help demonstration sites connect to faith-based organizations and networks that share the common purpose of helping children and their families in need of support, yet operate within a framework different from that of government and public systems.

CASE STUDIES

1. Ex-Offender Action Network
The faith-based Ex-Offender Action Network (EAN) of Los Angeles County was more than ready to be a full partner in collaborative efforts to help ex-offenders find employment, and to address the root problems that make it difficult for ex-offenders to get and keep jobs. As a result, EAN initiated a partnership with local government agencies.

2. Truck Driving School Partnership
This is a reminder that listening closely to the dreams of others can bring together the right mix of resources and skills to make particularly effective partnerships possible. It is also a reminder of the important roles individual people play as leaders, communicators, and connectors in successful partnerships. They are the ones who welcome conversations about potential partnerships and serve as trusted go-betweens: in short, identifying and involving your community’s connectors can lead to the making of small miracles.

3. Masjid Al-Islam
Masjid Al-Islam, located in the Dwight neighborhood of New Haven, Connecticut, interprets the teachings of the Quran for today’s reality. Motivated by faith, they have extended their resources to improve the lives of their neighbors; in fact, the City of New Haven cited Masjid Al-Islam in the Greenwood Street District plan as a positive force for community stabilization. To this end, they have partnered with local residents, the Hospital of Saint Raphael (across the street from the Masjid), and the City of New Haven in several successful neighborhood collaborations.