It is almost impossible to change societal structures if organizations have individualist tendencies. During the first week of my service, I went to a conversation involving the CEO of the Boys and Girls Club of America, and the CEO of the Boys and Girls Club of Columbus (BGCC). In this conversation they made it crystal clear that championing equity cannot be a solo mission. Fast forward to this week, I was able to participate in a partnership development meeting between BGCC and Legal Aid, a non-profit who focuses on providing legal services to vulnerable populations. This is an example of a partnership that has the potential to have major impact on the families we serve at BGCC.
One of the major barriers for families from vulnerable populations is the unjust legal system. Once a legal issue surfaces, it becomes very difficult for families to receive the support they need. One of the issues is finding an affordable attorney that will do their best to represent the family. The BGCC does not have the capacity to legally represent the families we serve. The Legal Aid- BGCC partnership is an attempt to provide holistic services to families who reach out for help. This emulates the collaboration that is required to ensure all families have the opportunity to maximize their well-being.
For example, if a family has to worry about being evicted from their home, it is going to be difficult for them to get to school or to the BGCC. Moreover, if a teen finds themselves charged with possession of stolen property, then they wouldn’t be able to work with the BGCC. Families also may not know their rights in an expulsion hearing. This partnership has the potential to be a model for how organizations can provide comprehensive services to ensure all families receive the support they need.