29/6/2020 by
Dionne Peeples-Jones

In Pasadena, California, three DVULI alumni work at Stars, a nonprofit organization that equips youth to pursue a meaningful life of service. In the wake of the coronavirus, team members Curt Gibson (Los Angeles 2005), Eric Johnson (Los Angeles 2010), and Domingo Mota (Los Angeles 2005), knew they could look to their DVULI training tools to find what they needed to tackle a new normal for the youth they serve. These three believed a breakthrough could happen amid the ministry adjustments, but it was going to require the use of tools like scenario planning, leverage, collaboration, and more. Gibson, Johnson, and Mota agreed that a high priority was to develop an online version of their summer learning program called SKILLZ. This program involves several collaborative partnerships such as Pasadena Unified School District, College Access Plan, Day One, and Stars.

Johnson researched organizations with successful e-learning experiences and then asked the Pasadena School District to help fund their online summer learning program. “We leveraged our relationship with the superintendent. We asked for development dollars and if he would approve a partnership,” Johnson reflects. “It was humbling. He said, ‘Anything for you, Pastor.’” The school district contributed $10,000 to hire a mathematician to instruct culturally specific math this summer. The online program is currently designed for 30 students in eighth grade who have failing grades and are in a relationship with Stars (there are usually 125 students). Using the concept of scenario planning is how Johnson and his colleagues assessed it would be best to work with a smaller group of youth at SKILLZ this summer.

To learn more about how scenario planning and other DVULI principles have worked to benefit the Stars program, the full story will appear in the summer issue of On the Level, DVULI’s quarterly publication. Watch for it in your mailbox or visit dvuli.org/content/newsletter.

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