By Jamie Cotta, Patty Santucci, and Shayna Scholnick
Congratulations to Franklin Peralta for being recognized not once but twice this year for his work with youth in our Promotor Pathway® ! In September, he received the 2019 Mayor Muriel Bowser Hispanic Heritage Month Award. Earlier this month, he was awarded Venture Philanthropy Partners’ (VPP) first Greater Washington Superstar Award for “Measurably Improving the Lives of Children & Youth,” and he went on to win the Superstar Foundation’s national Veronica Award. The Superstar and Veronica Awards recognize direct service staff who demonstrate an exceptional commitment to the use of data to help young people in the greater Washington area. Franklin has achieved remarkable results marrying a positive youth development approach with the use of data in his work with LAYC Promotor Pathway clients.
The Pathway provides intensive 24/7 case management to youth up to age 24, for a period of 4-6 years, on average. Each youth working with a Promotor is tracked on progress toward three long-term goals: 1) increased academic success, 2) transition to work or completion of vocational/technical education, and 3) improvement in practice of healthy behaviors and decreases in risk-taking behaviors. Promotores make contact with youth an average of four times per month and track 19 outcomes/outputs in structured case notes to measure more objectively if youth are making progress towards these goals.
In preparation for Franklin’s Superstar Award nomination, LAYC’s Learning and Evaluation (L&E) team compared outcomes for all youth engaged in the Pathway with the youth who worked with Franklin as their Promotor. According to their assessment, Franklin surpassed program targets for 11 youth outcomes; these included youth maintaining a high level of preventative health status, youth maintaining a high functioning level on the legal/court involvement outcome, and youth maintaining good school behavior and engagement.
One example of Franklin’s efficient and intentional use of client data lies in the case of a client whose vocational school outcome area was flagged with a low rating; the client had indicated only a slight interest in enrolling in vocational school. This client, who was working at a restaurant, had mentioned possibly pursuing some kind of certification with his Pathway clinical supervisor. Knowing this, Franklin explored different certification options offered within LAYC, including medical assistant and IT certifications. Franklin then met with the client to identify her specific interests. Learning she was interested in working with children, Franklin was able to zero in on a Child Development Associate credential and other childcare-related programs, which were better suited to the client.
Franklin’s impact on youth outcomes is not only explained by his superior attention to data. Franklin’s approach to working with each youth is just as important. He works every day to build strong relationships that have had lasting impact. He listens, supports, remains forever calm and patient, never judges, and never gives up on a single young person. He provides ongoing encouragement and empowers his clients to take the lead in achieving their goals. He meets them where they are, teaching them how to access resources in order to be successful, while supporting them through various situations and obstacles. He also challenges his clients to get out of their comfort zones and try new things. Franklin knows he is making a difference with his clients when they begin taking the initiative to access resources on their own.
Franklin’s approach to working with disconnected youth with complex needs is a shining example of how staff can enhance positive youth development interventions by harnessing the power of program data to improve multiple outcomes for youth served.
Read more about how Franklin is paying it forward and his profound impact on the lives of youth, as well as colleagues.