Family Enrichment Center of Davenport (FEC) reaches beyond typical programs for at-risk youth to include a focus on impacting the neighborhood environment that surrounds and affects youth daily. The FEC’s goal is to create a continuous, uninterrupted system of support for children and families in the Goose Creek Heights area. By concentrating our efforts on aggressive outreach and intensive programming within this specific area, we create the capacity to impact a larger majority of youth and families. As an increasing percentage of the neighborhood responds to the positive influences, we will create a momentum shift that changes neighborhood norms away from destructive patterns and towards constructive goals.

 In the Davenport school district one in six children lives in poverty.  The rate of crime, unemployment, incarceration and underachievement are especially high in impoverished neighborhoods.  Coupled with these outcomes are the destructive patterns of substance abuse, gang violence and a lack of quality housing, religious and civic support. Facing these factors, the odds of achieving success are almost insurmountable for children growing up in these neighborhoods. Creating a continuous system of support with programs that are accessible and relevant will break the cycle of poverty and help children achieve success.

 Neighborhood Impact
There are several excellent programs in the Quad Cities area. But the effects of a few good, or even excellent, programs are easily diluted in otherwise under-served neighborhoods. To bring about widespread change it is necessary to work in a concentrated area to create momentum and synergy in a community’s cultural norms, thus achieving momentum allowing for a shift away from destructive patterns and towards constructive goals. To accomplish this momentum, the collective programs of FEC must reach about 50-60% of the total children in the area served.

At FEC, we focus on a specific neighborhood in which we can concentrate intensive services on a large number of children and families, including those that are hardest to reach. We surround children with positive role models, excellent programs and continual services to ensure success. As an increasing percentage of the community responds to these services, we create a synergy toward positive community norms. This strategy changes the odds for an entire neighborhood rather than just helping a few kids beat the odds.

The FEC continual services provide children and families with a seamless series of free/affordable, coordinated, best-practice programs. We focus on the needs of children at every developmental age, including specific programs addressing pre-natal care, infants, toddlers, elementary school, intermediate school, high school, and college.

Through high-quality early education, afterschool and parenting programs, FEC will help children achieve academic success. We will also encourage nurturing stable families, supporting youth development, improving health through fitness and nutrition, and cultivating engaged and involved adults and community stakeholders. Children can enter FEC programs at any age and  will be supported with high-quality programs. By providing aggressive outreach efforts we will allow families to easily access our programming.

Our goals are to:

1) Increase educational achievements for poor children
 2) Ensure that each program in FEC is strong and incorporates best practices
3) maintain continuity and seamless transitions in our programs
4) maintain a neighborhood presence responsive to local community needs
5) provide accurate relevant data to staff so that they can improve services and to investors and policy makers to ensure the greatest return on investment.

FEC programs have been developed using hard evidence of what works for poor children and their parents. Each program is effective, but the cumulative effect of all of the programs working together helps children reach their full potential. FEC programs will consistently produce outcomes that meet or exceed national, state, and city averages.

 Community Collaboration
Even with the most effective programs, we realize it takes an entire community working together to create lasting positive change. FEC will work collaboratively with local residents, faith-based institutions, cultural organizations, and other leaders on issues affecting the children and families within the Goose Creek area.

Children’s development is profoundly affected by their environment. We realize the most important part of that environment is the family and the home. The neighborhood in which each child grows up also greatly affects him/her. Pride in the neighborhood and strong, thoughtful local leadership must flourish alongside stable families and effective programs. The residents, stakeholders, and local institutions will ultimately sustain and strengthen a vibrant community.

 Long term plan
FEC realizes that the Goose Creek Heights neighborhood is only one of many impoverished areas in the greater Quad Cities area. As we gain success in this area, our intent is to replicate FEC and mobilize similar efforts in other under resourced areas.