This is becoming our “secret sauce.” We have published a lot about social capital over the last year or so…here are two recent stories that make clear what social capital is and how it is valuable.
1. The first story is about a mother of four whose students attend Greenbriar Elementary School. As we’ve done with past families, we have taken the time to get to know them and allow them to know our team here at the CDC. This time, instead of focusing on the needs of the family, we focused on the gifts, talents, and abilities of the family. This allowed us to learn that her two girls are really in love with the idea of Girl Scouts and so we were able to get them connected with the program. It also allowed us to connect her two boys with Greenbriar’s soccer program, a sport she feared would be unaffordable. This has created an excitement within the mother because she now knows that all four of her kids will be taking part in healthy and developmental activities. Her children participating in these programs are not only beneficial for the children but for her as well. Our parent will be able to connect with other parents allowing her to grow her network and increase her social capital.
Along with connecting this mother with the Greenbriar Soccer Program, we asked if she would be interested in starting up a soccer program at her apartment complex. Her response, “Of course, that would be awesome.” To make a long story short, she has become our organizer in the apartment community for the soccer program because of her connection to many of the families who have kids. To help her with the process of getting the program up and running we have connected her to soccer resources such as Jon, Andrew, and Jose. Jon is a former professional soccer player from Ghana who has recently moved to Indianapolis. Andrew like Jon is another former professional soccer player. Andrew, as an extra bonus, lives in the same apartment complexes as these families. Jose is a young man who lives in the apartment complex whose life revolves around soccer. These four have all agreed to collaborate and are now working on delivering an unbelievable soccer program to the children in the apartment community, all while growing their social capital – expanding their network..
2. The second story is about a mother we met on her own turf as well, the apartment community. We had been talking to this mother for a couple of weeks when we learned that she loved to cook and had thoughts about starting her own catering business. This introduced a genuine discussion on what did our mother knows about starting up a business. We were able to connect her to a neighbor who did have experience with this sort of thing and who had used our office space to provide training to future entrepreneurs. This connection has “hit the mark” and convinced the neighbor to pursue her dream. To continue helping her with the process we connected her to Flanner House, a neighborhood center not too far from us, that has an industrial kitchen for caters, along with coaching on how to get started catering. This includes how to get licensed and insurance among other things. Best of all, we had her cater a small event we put on recently for the apartment community at the Fay Biccard Glick Center. The food was excellent and resulted in her getting exposure for her business, compensation and a new connection with someone who has started his own catering business and has a contract with Fay Biccard. Since then they have scheduled a time to get together so that she may learn what he has learned in his four years of catering. In just a short amount of time her network has grown by four individuals, increasing her social capital, allowing her the opportunity to achieve her dreams and the quality of life for her family.
Our Lion Catcher program will continue to provide programming (tutoring, mentoring, leadership) for children and youth. AND I am so happy that the Crooked Creek CDC board is committed to whole family development and that we are pursuing this powerful lens of increasing Social Capital.