Strive Together, Bright Futures & Rise Up Monterey County

Strive Together, Bright Futures & Rise Up Monterey County

By Janet Shing, Community Foundation for Monterey County Senior Program Officer

“Strive Together” Conference Inspires

As a steering partner for Bright Futures Monterey County, I recently had the opportunity to attend Strive Together‘s conference. The gathering was named “Rise Up,” in honor of Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech.

I cannot think of a more appropriate location for this conference than Memphis, where in 1968 King was assassinated.

Janet Shing, Senior Program OfficerBright Futures’ vision is that our children obtain an education that leads to bright futures, and our community thrives with promising talent.” – Janet Shing, CFMC Senior Program Officer & Bright Futures Monterey County Steering Partner

Shared Community Vision

Bright Futures Program Its big goal is that by 2020, 70% of all young people in Monterey County will have completed a degree or career training program that leads to a promising career. (Today, only about 30% of Monterey County youth achieve this)

Bright Futures believes that a strong component of success is agreeing on a shared community vision – everyone affected understands the issue and how they will work together to address it.

Adriane Johnson-Williams, (Pyramid Peak, program officer) one of the keynote speakers, compared the work of collective impact and confronting structural and institutional racism to a highway.

All lanes must be maintained. And you need to be able to change lanes when you want to–and not worry about being pulled over because you’re somewhere you shouldn’t be.” – Adriane Johnson-Williams

Rise Up and Live Out

janet-blog-riseupStrive Together’s work is built on four principles:

1. Engage the community

2. Focus on eliminating locally defined disparities

3. Develop a culture of continuous improvement

4. Leverage existing assets.

Lean Into the Discomfort

The issues we face are not new, but Bright Futures’ approach is different for many of us. At the conference, we were encouraged to “lean in to the discomfort.” Working with people who have differing and opposing viewpoints is not easy.

I continue to hear King’s voice in my head, “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

As nonprofits, we have our respective missions — whether it is in social services, education or another area. We are each an ambassador for our cause. It is our responsibility to increase awareness, tell our story, and if appropriate, call out disparities and injustice.

It is our responsibility to help others see all perspectives. We have made progress but our work is cut out for us. Let’s rise up!” – Janet Shing

Strive Together Attendees

Monterey County conference attendees (clockwise from top):

janet-blog-riseupTamara Hamai, First 5 Monterey County
Francine Rodd, First 5 Monterey County
Cynthia Holmsky, Bright Futures for Monterey County
Nina Alcaraz, Bright Beginnings, First 5 Monterey County
Janet Shing, Community Foundation for Monterey County
Larae Lindsey, Bright Futures for Monterey County
Michael Applegate, Bright Futures for Monterey County

Learn more

Read more about the vision for Monterey County in Bright Future’s baseline report.

Janet Shing is CFMC’s Senior Program Officer, facilitating health and human service grants. She has worked at the CFMC for 14 years and serves as a Bright Futures steering partner.