Are you concerned about the well-being of children and families in your community?

Do you sometimes wish you could do more to help them thrive and reduce the number who are struggling or being left behind? Are you looking for ways to keep more young people and families in your city as a key to quality of life and economic vitality?

If the answer to any of these questions is “yes,” the Strong Southern Communities Initiative can help you move forward.

What is the Strong Southern Communities Initiative (SSCI)?

SSCI is designed to provide practical help and advice to municipal leaders in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi. It brings together local elected officials from across the region who want to improve outcomes for children and families, enabling them to share ideas and discuss the challenges facing their communities.

Additionally, SSCI helps participating mayors and city councilmembers develop local action plans based on their unique circumstances and needs, and then connects city leaders to national experts and regional partners who can help them implement those plans.

What are the benefits?

By joining the SSCI, local elected office will become part of a peer learning network within the region that helps them improve the lives of children and families in their communities.

Each participating city will develop a local action plan and receive guidance from staff experts at NLC’s Institute for Youth, Education, and Families (YEF Institute) and NLC’s national partners, as well as connections to additional resources.

What are the expectations?

As part of their commitment to join SSCI, city leaders will identify a specific “result” in their community that they seek to improve. YEF Institute staff will then help local elected officials assess their existing barriers, opportunities and assets, and through that process support their efforts to develop a local action plan.

City leaders who are part of SSCI are also expected to participate on a regular basis in conference calls and occasional meetings with peers from other communities to share ideas and support each other’s local efforts. SSCI will reimburse participants for travel expenses as needed.

How do I join?

It all begins with a Municipal Leader signing the pledge:

Strong Southern Communities Pledge Form