VINELAND, N.J. — The Pascale Sykes Foundation hosted their latest conference titled, Working Together For Working Families: The Whole Family Approach on Thursday, Feb. 13, at Rowan College of South Jersey’s Luciano Center in Vineland. The one-day conference focused on how the foundation’s acclaimed “Whole Family Approach” is strengthening America’s low-income working-class families.
It followed the highly successful 2017 Working Together For Working Families conference that first shined the national spotlight on the foundation’s Whole Family Approach.
Drs. Sampson Davis, Rameck Hunt and George Jenkins, fondly known as “The Three Doctors,” were featured as part of a morning plenary session and then served on the conference’s morning panel, entitled “The Whole Family Approach in Action.” As teenage boys growing up on the tough inner-city streets of Newark, New Jersey, these three kindred spirits made a pact: they would stick together, go to college, graduate, and become doctors. Now, many years later, these three men have overcome countless obstacles and proudly bear the subtitle of doctor, serving as the face of health and education for youth and families across the country.
Role models play a big part in the success of the Whole Family Approach, demonstrating “what can be” to both adults and children within America’s low income working class families. The Three Doctors are extraordinary role models for anyone who’s been through any kind of life challenge or major hardship.
Working Together For Working Families: The Whole Family Approach has once again brought to South Jersey a Who’s Who of luminaries in the field of strengthening America’s working-class families. Lesley Stahl, the legendary broadcast journalist and Co-Editor of CBS 60 Minutes, one of the longest running and most popular television news shows in American history, and Drs. Sampson Davis, Rameck Hunt and George Jenkins (The Three Doctors), served serve as the conference’s featured presenters.
New Jersey Department of Children and Families Commissioner Christine Norbut Beyer and New Jersey Transportation Department Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti introduced the conference’s Whole Family Approach morning and afternoon panel discussions.
Stahl was the conference’s keynote luncheon speaker and participated in a special family-focused Q&A following her presentation. After four decades as a reporter, Stahl says the most vivid and transforming experience of her life was not covering the White House, interviewing heads of state, or any other of her stories at 60 Minutes — it was becoming a grandmother.
Stahl’s Becoming Grandma: The Joys and Science of the New Grandparenting, was released in April 2016. The New York Times bestseller explores how grandparenting changes your life for the better with personal stories and interviews with famous and not-so-famous grandmothers, as well as scientists and historians.
Joining the Three Doctors on the morning panel was moderator Joyce Thomas, regional administrator for the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) in Region 2, Lauren Fine, a learner advocate for the ReSchool Colorado, Marjorie Sims, managing director of Ascend at the Aspen Institute, and Russell Sykes, a senior fellow at the Empire Center for Public Policy.
The afternoon panel, entitled “The Whole Family Approach: The Big Picture,” went beyond social services and discussed other unique aspects of the Whole Family Approach that have contributed to its success, including public transportation and economic initiatives. Ronda Urkowitz, executive director of Cross County Connection, TMA, served as the panel’s moderator and was joined by Ashley Putnam, director of the Economic Growth & Mobility Project (EGMP), a strategic initiative of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia; Steve Fittante, president of the Loredo Policy Research Group, Inc.; and Bernadette Blackstock, president of the People for People Foundation, a former foundation grantee.
Representing the economic initiative was a loan recipient of New Jersey Community Capital’s (NJCC) THRIVE South Jersey small business lending initiative and Masterpiece President Phyllis Lacca, who created and supervises New Jersey’s Heartland, a destination marketing campaign designed to promote the pride within and attract businesses and jobs to Cumberland, Salem, Gloucester, and Western Atlantic counties.
The morning session additionally featured a series of Whole Family Approach grantee-led breakout sessions, including:
• “Using the Whole Family Approach to Work with Immigrants,”
• “Forming and Sustaining a Successful Collaboration,”
• “Evaluation: Design, Data, and Outcomes,”
• “Listening to Families, Building Trust and Achieving Outcomes,”
• “Whole Family Approach in An Educational Setting, “
• “The Whole Family Approach Experienced, Family-Centered Mentoring,” and
• “Transportation in Underserved Areas: Mobility for Family Well-being.”
The “Evaluation: Design, Data, and Outcomes” breakout session was moderated by Ross Whiting, Ph.D., of The Walter Rand Institute and Amy Castro Baker, Ph.D., of The University of Pennsylvania, who also presented on the topic as part of the morning’s agenda.
All of the Foundation’s Whole Family Approach grantees, including the Child Connection Center, Connecting Families to Communities, Familia Adelante/Family Forward, Families for Literacy, Families in Motion, Families to College, Family Strengthening Network, First Star, Stronger Families, and Unidos para la Familia took part in the conference via video and photo presentations, individual displays, and the grantee-led breakout sessions.
Other foundation grantees in attendance included People for People Foundation, Bigs & Littles NYC Mentoring, South Jersey Transportation Authority, Greater Bridgeton Area Transit, English Creek-Tilton Road Community Shuttle, Pureland East-West Community Shuttle, the 54/50 Community Shuttle, NJCC and New Jersey’s Heartland.
For more information about The Whole Family Approach, visit WholeFamilyApproach.org. And for additional information about the foundation, visit pascalesykesfoundation.com