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Adhlere Coffy and Amanda Olberg: How to address Connecticut’s unspoken crisis

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Adhlere Coffy and Amanda Olberg: How to address Connecticut’s unspoken crisis


New research published at the end of last year by Dalio Education reveals a statewide crisis: 63,000 young people in Connecticut between the ages of 14 to 26 are not engaged in school or work, not on track for gainful employment, or both, while another 17,000 are at the greatest risk for experiencing disconnection.

The report, Connecticut’s Unspoken Crisis, is a call to action with recommendations for how local stakeholders can take concrete steps toward addressing this crisis. Through our work with the Connecticut Opportunity Project, a social investment fund of Dalio Education, we know that young people experiencing disconnection can re-engage and thrive if they have the support they need. The investments we make in community-based nonprofits across Connecticut aid our grantee partners in achieving results with young people every day, demonstrating that the report’s recommendations are impactful. In short, we know they work.

CTOP invests currently in seven Connecticut-based organizations: COMPASS Youth Collaborative, Forge City Works, Our Piece of the Pie, and Roca Hartford Young Mother’s Program in Hartford; Connecticut Violence Intervention and Prevention in New Haven; Domus Kids in Stamford; and RYASAP in Bridgeport. Heroic individuals at these organizations have worked tirelessly for years – decades, even – serving young people who are experiencing disconnection. Yet the challenge they have faced in their work, common across the nonprofit sector, is that the level of resources available to deploy in advancing their missions is insufficient to meet the need we know exists.

Embodying one of the report recommendations, CTOP is working to change this status quo, providing financial and non-financial resources to our grantee partners to help them strengthen their organizational capacity for continuous improvement and high-quality service delivery – which means helping a growing number of young people to positively alter their life trajectories.

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CTOP provides unrestricted grant dollars along with extensive technical assistance over the long-term time horizon that we know is necessary for organizations to engage in meaningful capacity building that translates into improved outcomes for young people.

What this capacity building looks like is supporting our grantee partners in internalizing what we know from the evidence works to re-engage young people, and then redesigning their programming and training their staff in new skills accordingly. It also looks like building and deploying robust data systems that enable their organizations to monitor and manage service delivery, and how those activities are impacting the skills development of young people. And it looks like strengthening the infrastructure of their boards and internal management systems in ways that are critical to the long-term health of the organization, making it possible for high performance to be sustained over time.

In our just-published 2023 Annual Report, CTOP reports on a metric we use called the active program slot that has advanced our grantee partners’ efforts to understand, manage, and drive up the social value they are creating on a day-to-day basis. Going beyond a basic count of young people served, the active program slot requires that a program participant receive the kinds and levels of services and supports that the organization’s evidence-informed program model says is needed to promote successful re-engagement in education and/or gainful employment.

In 2023, our third year of implementing CTOP’s 10-year social investment strategy, the number of active program slots our grantee partners delivered in aggregate rose to 925, up from 387 just two years prior. And in this past year, our grantee partners are seeing more and more of their young people achieve the long-term results that prove that strengthening organizational capacity leads to positive youth outcomes. For example, at Domus Kids – which, like all of our grantee partners, enrolls in its core programming the very same young people who are part of the shocking statistics revealed in Connecticut’s Unspoken Crisis – 93% of their program graduates are still enrolled in post-secondary education or employed on the path to self-sufficiency twelve months following their graduation from Domus’s programs.

The work of CTOP’s grantee partners is a testament to the return on investment from strengthening a nonprofit’s capacity to do its work effectively and sustainably – as well as to the profound potential to succeed and thrive that is within every young person currently experiencing disconnection.

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What we see in our work every day is that it is possible to address Connecticut’s Unspoken Crisis, if our statewide community commits to doing so together.

Adhlere Coffy and Amanda Olberg are Senior Portfolio Directors at the Connecticut Opportunity Project.



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Fatigue and frustration as final do-over mayoral election looms in Connecticut's largest city

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Fatigue and frustration as final do-over mayoral election looms in Connecticut's largest city


By SUSAN HAIGH
Associated Press

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) — Nearly four months after a judge tossed out the results of a Democratic mayoral primary in Connecticut’s largest city and ordered a new election, the race remains in limbo. With a do-over general election set for Tuesday, the fourth time registered Democrats will have voted in this protracted race, many Bridgeport voters just want it to be over. The judge cited surveillance video showing mishandled absentee ballots in his decision. Those videos have fueled skepticism about the security of U.S. elections. In the final days of this race, incumbent Mayor Joe Ganim has picked up key endorsements, including from Gov. Ned Lamont.

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Obituary: James S. Johnson Jr., 94, Of Hamden

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Obituary: James S. Johnson Jr., 94, Of Hamden


HAMDEN, CT — (From Beecher & Bennett Funeral Home): James S. Johnson Jr., 94, of Hamden, passed away peacefully at home on February 22, 2024. He and his twin Albert were born in New Haven on July 2, 1929, to James S. Johnson and Caryl C. Ellis Johnson.

Jim is survived by his wife, Kristin O. Johnson, and his children James S. Johnson, III (Marion), Elizabeth Johnson, and Douglas Johnson (Mary), his stepchildren Laura Seeley (Stuart) and James Woodbridge, his grandchildren, Melissa, Ezra, and Molly, his step-grandchildren Corey and Dexter, and six great-grandchildren and their father, Yaakov Laine. Jim is also survived by his sisters, Mary Alice Frankenberger and Joan Stone.

Jim was predeceased by his twin brother Albert Johnson.

Jim attended Worthington Hooker Grammar School, Hillhouse High School (class of 1947) and Colorado College (BA, 1953). He also served in the United States Navy.

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As a young man, Jim worked in the family business, J. Johnson & Sons Clothing Store in New Haven. Later on, he worked for John Hancock Life Insurance, was Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Connecticut Limousine and still later, an agent at Dow Realty.

He served on the Board of Directors of Columbus House, was Division Chairman for the United Way of Greater New Haven, was President of The New Haven Boys Club, and was a grant reviewer for New Haven Foundation. He also proudly volunteered for eight years at Yale New Haven’s Smilow Cancer Center.

Jim enjoyed sailing with Kris on his 30-foot Cape Dory cutter rig. In his later years, he was an avid nature photographer. He was also a devoted Yale University Hockey fan.

Family and friends are invited to honor Jim’s well-lived life on Monday, Feb. 26, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Whitney Center 6th Floor Common, 200 Leeder Hill Drive, in Hamden.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the New Haven Boys and Girls Club or the Connecticut Food Bank.

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For more information and to leave online condolences, visit Beecher & Bennett Funeral Home here.



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Business Closes, Says It Was ‘Terrorized’ By Local Government: CT News

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Business Closes, Says It Was ‘Terrorized’ By Local Government: CT News


On the weekend, we present some of the top stories and headlines from all across Connecticut. You can also find your local Patch and catch up on those stories by clicking here.

The business owners said other towns are already courting them to relocate. “We can’t wait to pop back up in a business-friendly town asap & get back to the work that fills our (and our community’s) bucket.”>>>Read More.


The two-story store will measure approximately 92,000 square feet and feature all the grocery chain’s popular offerings and departments, including a vast selection of restaurant foods options.>>>Read More.


A woman faces a long recovery after she fell three stories from a rooftop.>>>Read More.

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The former Edible Arrangements headquarters in Connecticut has been sold, and a buyer has been identified, according to a report.>>>Read More.


At a local event he said, “I’m probably the only actor that ever beat up Paul Newman, almost beat up Robert DeNiro and held a knife to the throat of Cher.”>>>Read More.


The state agency tasked with serving children and families had an open abuse and neglect “in-home” case against a woman when her infant son was found dead after ingesting opioids, according to a report.>>>Read More.


The popular news anchor is changing careers.>>>Read More.


Other top stories:

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The Patch community platform serves communities all across Connecticut in Fairfield, New Haven, Middlesex, New London, Hartford, Tolland, and Litchfield counties. Thank you for reading.



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