A Look at the Plan's Action Committees

To ensure that the Master Planning process inclusively and thoroughly explores the many and complex issues facing Manchester's children, youth, and families the following structure has been developed. Seven key action committees, with each committee focusing on a specific issue impacting children, youth and families have been formed. The issues are based on the Strengthening Families and Improving Outcomes for Children and Youth report done by the National League of Cities (NLC). The NLC did extensive research to determine what were the key aspects of those communities that were producing an ever-increasing number of positive thriving indicators and a reduced number of at-risk indicators. The seven key aspects are the focus of the seven committees. In addition to these seven action committees there is a Core Team committee that has oversight responsibilities.

To accomplish the responsibilities assigned to each committee participants will look at Manchester's current reality regarding their committee's action area, identify what they would view as ideal, map the gap between the current reality and the ideal, and develop a recommendation for closing those gaps. Recommendations will be worded proactively, using strength-based language. Each committee will also be asked to think both developmentally and strategically. Recommendations and the strategies for addressing those recommendations will be ones that have the greatest chance of having a significant developmental impact on the greatest number of Manchester citizens.

Committee facilitators and staff ensure that the voices of all participants are heard and valued, especially the voices of youth and parents. Each committee sets their own schedules for meetings, will complete their recommendations by the end of June 2009, and work in partnership with the other committees when appropriate. Each committee has one or two local facilitators and access to staff support. Staff is responsible for logistics, doing needed research, and supporting the members as needed. Each committee's final report will be given to the Core Team who will in turn work with the consultant to create the final comprehensive document. Neither the Core Team nor the consultant will have the authority to change the recommendations being made without the support of the committee making the recommendation. The final planning document with recommendations will be presented upon completion to the Board of Directors as well as interested and impacted youth and adults. The target date for the Plan to be presented is in July 2009.

The following are very brief overviews of the seven key action committees:

  • Early Childhood Development Committee Focus: This key action committee is focusing on the lives of Manchester’s children from pre-natal through 8 years old. Family support, pre-school services, health services support, funding, and their K- 2 experience should, at a minimum, should be reviewed. This committee will start with this question: "What single recommendation will have the greatest impact on ensuring that all of Manchester’s children have the support, services, and opportunities needed to thrive?"
  • Youth Development Committee Focus: This key action committee is focusing on the lives of Manchester’s youth from 9 - 20 years old. Family support, educational and developmental services, and engagement opportunities should, at a minimum, be reviewed. The committee will start with the question: "What single recommendation will have the greatest impact on ensuring that the youth of Manchester are developing fully and are fully engaged?"
  • Education and After-School Committee Focus: This key action committee is addressing a young person’s life from 2nd grade through high school. At a minimum the committee is reviewing family support, quality learning opportunities at each grade level, the role of young people in their own educational process, how well the community and schools work together to achieve excellence, and what occurs when a young person is not in school. This committee will start with this question: "What single recommendation will have the greatest impact on ensuring that Manchester is properly preparing it’s young people to effectively compete in the today’s global economy?"
  • Health and Safety Committee Focus: This key action committee is addressing whether the health needs of the children, youth and families in Manchester are being adequately addressed and if children and youth feel safe in their neighborhoods, schools, families and the community. This committee is focusing on all young people in the first two decades of their lives, but primarily on those in 3rd grade or higher.  The committee should explore the ability of a young person’s family, school and neighborhood to provide safe and caring environments. This committee should also explore if there are sufficient services, supports and opportunities to keep the youth of the community healthy. The committee will start with this question: "What single recommendation will have the greatest impact on ensuring that Manchester is doing all that it can to ensure that it’s children, youth and families are healthy and safe."
  • Youth in Transition Committee Focus: This key action committee is addressing whether young people are successfully dealing with the transitions they experience in school, transitions caused by changes in the family structure or financial circumstances or from the physical and mental transitions all young people experience. The committee will start with the question: "What single recommendation will have the greatest impact on ensuring that the transitions faced by the young people in Manchester are being crossed with as little difficulty and as few barriers as possible?"
  • Family Economic Success Committee Focus: This key action committee is addressing whether young people are growing up in families and a community that values economic success and provides all citizens with realistic opportunities to realize that success. They will explore the relationship between the economic plans for the town and the economic realities of the town’s families. This committee will also explore how the business community relates to the youth of the community. The committee should start with the question: "What single recommendation will have the greatest impact on ensuring that the families in Manchester have access to the financial opportunities needed to increase the likelihood of successfully raising children and youth?"
  • Neighborhoods and Community Committee Focus: This key action committee is addressing whether young people are growing up in neighborhoods and a community where they feel supported, valued and included. The committee will explore each neighborhood's "sense of community" and how youth-friendly they are. The committee will also explore how open the town is to viewing its young people as resources rather than only recipients of services. The committee started with the question: "What single recommendation will have the greatest impact on ensuring that the town and its neighborhoods are places that children, youth and families are proud to call home?"