Social Capital

Huffington Post and Ascend Produce Series on Community and Giving

November 7, 2013  • Sarai Johnson, Guest Blogger

Ascend at the Aspen Institute is a hub for breakthrough ideas and collaborations that move children and their parents toward educational success and economic security. Ascend teamed up with The Huffington Post to produce a blog series written by leaders in the field of education and economics to bring light to these issues as they affect families. The series is being produced in conjunction with the Ascend at the Aspen Institute Inaugural Fellowship. Visit the Huffington Post-Aspen Institute channel to see all the posts in this series.

Rev. Vivian Nixon
Executive Director, College and Community Fellowship
The Potential of Formerly Incarcerated Women — And Their Children

Sometimes we look at disadvantaged people and evaluate the ways in which those disadvantages might hurt their life chances. College and Community Fellowship (CCF) takes the opposite approach. CCF serves women who face one of the most daunting challenges possible: creating a successful life despite a felony record. More often than not, these women’s struggles are compounded by histories of substance abuse, rape, violence, childhood trauma, domestic violence, mental illness, and poverty. And yet, when they come to CCF, they are not looking for an excuse to fail; they are looking to earn a college degree. CCF was created to be a place where these women can access the skills, tools, and opportunities necessary to achieve their dreams. Read More

Dr. Mario Luis Small
Dean of the Division of Social Sciences, University of Chicago
The Ties That Bind: How Childcare Centers Build Social Capital

Commentators have been sounding the alarm for several years now that the Internet is making us more isolated, replacing real friendships with meaningless online followers and contributing to a long-term decline in social capital. However, many of the tools for avoiding isolation have not changed in at least a generation. They are, in fact, being used routinely by a major segment of the population: mothers of young children. Read More 

Henry Wilde 
Co-Founder, Acelero Learning
Revolutionizing Head Start For Children And Parents Together

Two weeks ago, Angelicia, a family advocate at our Acelero Learning Milwaukee County program, told me about Sarah, a three-year-old child who had recently enrolled in our Head Start program. Sarah attended sporadically from Day One and often arrived late. Angelicia tried to call Sarah’s mom, Karen, and found the phone disconnected. Angelicia walked to their home the next morning and got no answer. The following morning, Karen brought the child in, again late, and Angelicia caught her to discuss the importance of attendance. Read More

Katie Albright
Executive Director, San Francisco Child Abuse Prevention Center
Improve Outcomes For Children And Their Parents: Fund Family-Focused Mental Health Care

Lauren needed to escape from her abusive husband. She feared for her own life and was terrified for her children, six-year-old Sarah and 13-month-old William. She found a safe place to live at a local family shelter, but felt hopeless and isolated. A victim of child abuse herself, Lauren had no job, nor friends to whom she could turn for help. She had a history of depression and started drinking as a way to cope. Making matters worse, her children were suffering from the trauma and violence. Sarah was failing first grade and William had regressed developmentally. Read More

Reggie Bicha
Director, Department of Human Services, Colorado

Transforming Human Services For The 21st Century

When Gov. John Hickenlooper took office in 2011, millions of families across the country were still suffering the effects of the recession. In a state not historically associated with high rates of poverty, Colorado’s child poverty rate was growing faster than any other state in the country. Read More