Hello! My name is Alicia Anderson and I am a student at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology in the Masters of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis Program. I am also a Leader Fellow with Become, Inc – a nonprofit team dedicated to community engagement, community involvement, and social justice. In the short time that I have been with Become, I have worked on projects consistent with Become’s core values of nourishing communities affected by poverty and injustice; most recently having the opportunity to assist with program evaluation and data collection for three Boys and Girls Clubs of Chicago (BGCC) sites in neighborhoods on the south side of Chicago in which economic disparity and resource gaps have been identified.
My role as part of the evaluation team included disseminating surveys and conducting interviews and focus groups with students, teachers, and parents to assess whether students have access to the best programming possible; and whether any needs and deficits are or will be addressed.
Lessons Learned: As a person new to evaluation and its methodologies, this has been an eye opening and humbling experience. Though evaluation plays a key role in determining the efficacy and impact of programing, it also teaches a lot about the drive and ingenuity of others. In places where there are resource gaps, where monetary compensation does not necessarily reflect effort and commitment, staff members work hard to ensure that students have a safe environment in which to learn, grow, and play after school. Students are engaged and learn important skills and constructs such as teamwork and respect. They receive help with their homework in addition to learning about being young men and women. They are given tools and encouraged to be their best as students, as children, and as people.
Hot Tip: Be prepared to be inspired as you come to Evaluation 2015, where you will have contact with many people like those at Become, working with programs like tge BGCC through evaluation and seeing steps toward social progress. For me, building a framework for the future by reaching and motivating youth at present has shaped and molded my ideas and goals for the future. I want to be among the group of people who save lives every day and don’t realize it (teachers, school staff and administration, parents, after school program managers, etc.). I want to bring out the best in others.
Rad Resources: A helpful book for working with and inspiring others: Bringing Out the Best in People by Aubrey C. Daniels.
We’re looking forward to November and the Evaluation 2015 annual conference all this week with our colleagues in the Local Arrangements Working Group (LAWG). Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to contribute to aea365? Review the contribution guidelines and send your draft post to email@example.com.