Corps Members and Alumni Think Big About Growing GCF

July 13, 2017  |   Posted by :   |   Blog   |   Comments Off on Corps Members and Alumni Think Big About Growing GCF»

At the 2017 Youth Summit, Executive Director Lisbeth Shepherd led us in a thought-leadership activity focusing on how GCF can double its size by 2020 to 200 Corps Members per year. At their tables, the groups brainstormed ways to make this happen through expanding recruitment, increasing service projects and defining the role of the growing alumni network. Many themes consistently popped up throughout our discussions.

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One focus of the discussion was on ideas to improve the efficacy and reach of recruitment. Many alumni and Corps Members thought the potential to expand outside of only NYCHA residents was promising if done right. Most specified that GCF should still focus on recruiting from low-income areas, and possibly designate a percentage of each corps that must be NYCHA residents. Some also had the idea to recruit from neighborhoods close to NYCHA developments in order to bridge divides and help break down misconceptions about NYCHA residents. For general recruitment, many discussed going to high schools, GED programs and afterschool programs to offer GCF as a path after getting a high school diploma. Multiple groups thought GCF should work with programs for formerly incarcerated youth and re-entry programs to give young people coming out of the criminal justice system an opportunity for a new path.

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Another focus of the discussion was expanding GCF’s programs and service projects. Many Corps Members and alumni had the idea of running pre-GCF programs for high school students. Afterschool and summer programs could be offered for high school students, with current GCF Corps Members and alumni teaching and mentoring the students. Many attendees were also excited about opportunities to expand gardens to more NYCHA developments, including putting in small beds and rooftop gardens at more space-limited developments.

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It was inspiring to have the GCF family come together to discuss our future and how we want to grow as an organization. We are motivated to keep thinking of new, innovative ideas and make sure all staff, Corps Members, alumni, board members and GCF supporters know they have a voice in how GCF will grow.  

Do you have any of your own ideas for how to grow GCF? Please share!

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