Executive Summary:

 Why We Started

In 2014 Growing Home launched the “Blocks of Hope” collective impact initiative in the neighborhood surrounding Tennyson Knolls Elementary School.  As a neighborhood struggles with high concentrations of poverty and low student achievement, Growing Home decided to concentrate services in the neighborhood to ensure more kids and families have opportunities to thrive.

With support from The Denver Foundation, Growing Home and Colorado Center on Law and Policy  partnered in the fall of 2014 to conduct a community survey in the Blocks of Hope neighborhood.  By completing more than 200 interviews with local families, our goals included:

  • Learning about the neighborhood from the residents who call it home
  • Collecting baseline data and metrics from which to measure the progress of Blocks of Hope endeavors
  • Hearing directly from the community about needs and desired services
Our Focus

As an organization committed to meeting the needs of low-income families with young children, Growing Home focused survey questions on four key areas:

  1. Family and Parenting
    • Including family demographics, parental involvement at school, and reading practices within families
  2. Neighborhood Resources & Community Perceptions
    • Covering issues like safety, housing, and perceptions of neighbors
  3. Programs for Children
    • Such as availability of afterschool and summer programs and child care offerings
  4. Health & Nutrition
    • Including insurance coverage, food access, and frequency of physical activity
What We Learned

Several trends quickly emerged from the survey, particularly in regards to the areas of income level, reading practices, and parental educational attainment / involvement at school. A few key findings:

Household Income

  • 97% of families reported income below the federal poverty line

Literacy

  • 20% of parents of preschool-aged children read to their child once a week or less
  • Roughly half of parents with school-aged and preschool-aged children reported reading to their children daily (50% and 55%, respectively)
  • 24% of parents of school-aged children do not take their children to the library

Parental Involvement at School

  • 85% of parents regularly attend school events
  • Only 37% of parents volunteer at the school
  • The vast majority of parents (82%) indicated they would like to be more involved at their child’s school

Community Involvement

  • Nearly half of participants (47%) felt that they almost never or rarely have a say in what happens in their neighborhood
Where Do We Go From Here?

With detailed information about family demographics, community needs, and residents’ dreams for the neighborhood, Growing Home now has an action plan to bring several key responses to the community. These include:

  • Increased advocacy and community development
  • Continuing to grow Blocks of Hope programming
  • Adding staff to better meet families’ needs
  • Expanding to additional nearby elementary schools in the coming years to mitigate high student mobility rates and provide continuity of services

As a first step toward these goals, Growing Home will hire a part-time Community Organizer to identify and develop community leaders who can give voice to community needs and perspectives in decision making forums and strengthen the neighborhood from within. In addition, Growing Home continues to expand Blocks of Hope programming to create a rich pipeline of services for young children, families, and students. Growing Home maintains a strong commitment to tracking outcomes and enhancing evaluation tools in order to demonstrate results.

Get the Full Report:

Community Survey 2015