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Partnerships and Building Relationships / Program Design, Development, and Quality / Staff Leadership and Management

2020 – A year of opportunity. Now what?

5 team members put their hands in the center for support

An unprecedented year. How many times have we heard that phrase? A reflective sentiment for a global pandemic but also cause to acknowledge our diversity, ensure equity and to seek inclusivity individually and collectively. An unprecedented year, no doubt about it.

TGR Foundation learned a lot about itself in 2020, as I am sure your organization did as well. This learning didn’t come about in a deliberate manner, rather as a result of realizing that the status quo is not an option. Youth are struggling academically; educators worldwide are stuck and in need of support. How we continue to focus on the promise of young people is imperative. Programs no longer need to be tethered to geographic locations; how we continue to engage in this way will make the difference in how we productively innovate and create our future.

While it is good to be proud of how we advance our individual work, we have to take the steps needed to ensure that we continue to move forward collectively including:

Prioritizing Diversity Equity and Inclusion

A holistic approach to teaching and learning allows us to see students beyond academic performance and confirms that essential needs are met so they can be fully engaged in learning in and outside of the classroom. Keeping students at the center is critical to ensure every child has the opportunities and support needed to thrive.

2 students complete hands-on STEM activities during afterschool classes.

Middle and high school students at TGR Foundation’s TGR Learning Lab connect their passion to future careers, exploring a variety of hands-on STEM activities during afterschool classes.

Embracing technology

How organizations leverage technology will continue to create opportunity for the communities they serve. The potential to increase reach, share resources and work smarter as youth-serving organizations has never been clearer.

Investing in internal talent

Professional learning is often pushed to the side for our front-line workers. We must realize that annual investments in our teams allow us to strengthen our work and build the infrastructure needed when there are unexpected interruptions to our normal course of business.

4 learning facilitators complete hand-on professional development training

Through ongoing training and professional development, TGR Foundation’s learning facilitators are able to sharpen their own skills to better serve students.

Developing true partnerships

Now more than ever, organizations must set aside ego and refocus efforts on the mission we stand behind. We just can’t move forward effectively without actively seeking partners in our work. To be a leader in out-of-school-time instruction, we cannot solely focus on our own existence. When we work together, everyone wins. Seek partnerships in your local community but also within your personal and professional networks.

Overall, I learned the importance of staying true to our mission – maintaining a focus on empowering students to pursue their passions through education. As we move forward in 2021 and beyond, we must activate our mission, think newly and work together to create success for our communities.

For breakfast, I had a Chocolate Banana raspberry protein smoothie with a cup of coffee.

Author: @kathybihr

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