By Clifford Johnson
The upcoming 2013 National Summit on Your City's Families offers a wide range of opportunities for engagement with other municipal leaders and their community partners in cities across the nation.
These interactive sessions will begin even before the Summit formally opens, with two-hour peer networking sessions organized around four key topics: education/afterschool, early childhood development, juvenile justice, and family economic success.
The Summit’s opening general session and welcoming reception on Tuesday, November 12, will be held jointly with the Urban Libraries Council’s Partners for Success conference, offering an exciting chance to connect with leaders from dozens of public libraries in major cities.
On Wednesday, November 13, Summit participants will also have the opportunity to discuss one of the most thought-provoking new books on child/youth development and educational achievement – Paul Tough’s How Children Succeed, which makes the case for the importance of noncognitive skills such as persistence, curiosity, grit and self-confidence as factors in young people’s success.
One unique feature of this year’s Summit will be a series of concurrent “benchmarking” sessions that are designed to solicit input from participants to two related questions: “What does success look like?” and “How do we know if we’re doing a really good job meeting the needs of children and families in our city?” These facilitated and highly interactive conversations will be organized around the four central goals highlighted in NLC’s City Platform for Children and Families – opportunities to learn and grow, a safe neighborhood to call home, a healthy lifestyle and environment, and a financial fit family in which to thrive. The ideas emerging from these benchmarking sessions will be shared broadly with all Summit participants, and the YEF Institute will use them as guideposts in its work during the coming years.