Although a 2Gen approach to stability is as old as the family unit itself, these strategies became more formal and visible through the work of the Ascend at the Aspen Institute, which published "Two Generations, One Future" in 2012. Since then, Ascend at the Aspen Institute has led 2Gen, supporting initiatives in communities around the nation.
For more than a decade, the Community Foundation has partnered with Ascend, bringing strategies that center parent voices, address inequities, and build family strength in Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte and DeSoto counties.
Research indicates that areas that can be systematically changed to achieve equity and enhance overall wellbeing for families primarily fall under education (early through post-secondary), social capital, health, and economic security. The graphic below breaks down each component into measurable elements.
The six components of a 2Gen approach work interdependently, and programs that embrace the 2Gen philosophy will intentionally incorporate several components at once. Imagine a tapestry woven of different threads: education, economic empowerment, social capital... strong 2Gen programs, like a tapestry, weave different threads into the fabric, unraveling if one component or another is not present.
Thoughtful programming that nurtures and benefits the entire family--both immediately and in the long run--are at the heart of the 2Gen approach to wellbeing.
With that said, these components drive 2Gen strategies, and here's a look at initiatives in our community that the Community Foundation has led or invested in, classified by their dominant domain/component.
Component One: Early Childhood Education
Literacy is widely regarded the key to learning, yet research from the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity indicates that roughly one in five people live with dyslexia, an unexpected difficulty in reading.
Since 2018, our foundation has managed the Strauss Literacy Initiative, which addresses difficulty in reading and helps strengthen pathways to improved literacy through partnerships with educational providers.
With the understanding that early intervention is most effective for mitigating dyslexia's challenges, a key partner in delivering services is the Early Learning Coalition of Sarasota County. Together with educators and affected parents, it is the goal of the Strauss Initiative to develop strong reading skills from an early age.
Component Four: Social Capital
While individual motivation is critical to progress, collective input is often key to the most successful outcomes. Social capital—the networks of trusted relationships that enable society to run effectively—is a necessity.
Through Parent University, a component of Summer Learning Academies, and cohort-based educational opportunities, parents have an opportunity to meet with other like-minded people that can form bonds that build social capital.
Parents in cohort groups that are earning their credentials, simultaneous to achieving an education also gain relationships with peers that last a lifetime.
The Parent Education Navigator is a role initially funded by the Community Foundation, now a position supported by Sarasota County Schools, that helps parents navigate the complex system of resources as they re-imagine their possibilities.
Component Five: Health, Including Mental Health
With one in six adults in Sarasota County living without health insurance, the need for affordable and accessible healthcare is dire.
Our Community Foundation has partnered with several nonprofits delivering quality healthcare and counseling services to parents, families and children—either free or based on ability to pay. Some organizations include:
On Feb. 6, 2024, our Community Foundation hosted a community-wide 2Gen Summit, where practitioners, parents, and policymakers came together to examine the ways in which our community has woven 2Gen approaches into programs and to learn new ideas for strengthening the region's intentional support of whole families.
2Gen Parent Success Impact Report 2020-2021
Investing in Whole Families:
The Impact of 2Gen Strategies in Early Learning
A Two-Generation Approach to Summer Learning
Community Leadership for 2Gen Approaches: A Case Study in Sarasota, Florida
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