Helping Communities in Irwin County Trounce Unemployment and Poverty

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The Dictionary Give-A-Way Project is sponsored each year by Irwin County Family Connection and the Irwin County Rotary Club
The Dictionary Give-A-Way Project is sponsored each year by Irwin County Family Connection and the Irwin County Rotary Club.

Kudos to Irwin County Family Connection Executive Director Laverne McConico  for sending a letter to the editor of The Ocilla Star, announcing our new data resource to help her county help kids and families.

By using the news of the new data tool as the anchor for a story, Laverne was able to offer her community a new resource. She also uses the opportunity to call attention to the county’s most vulnerable families, and to talk about her Collaborative’s vital role in the community, the region, and our statewide network. And she closes the letter by inviting her community to get involved by showing what the Collaborative has been up to, backing up those activities with data, and finally, by offering her assistance to the community.

Here is Laverne’s letter, which ran in the local newspaper’s May 27 edition.

Family Connection has new Tool

Irwin County Family Connection proudly announces a new data tool resource to assist the county. Georgia Family Connection Partnership has debuted a new data product to help Collaboratives in all 159 counties across the state understand the needs of the children and families in their communities—and to inform local decision-makers and stakeholders who are working together to develop creative solutions for Georgia’s most vulnerable citizens. 

The county Birth-to-21 Snapshot features nine carefully selected indicators, intended to offer a representative sample of Georgia KIDS COUNT’s 47 indicators in a single-page format. Each indicator highlights the most recent county and state rate, along with the county’s rank in Georgia for that particular year. A green dot indicates that a county is doing 10 percent or better than the state average, a yellow dot shows that a county is within 10 percent better or worse than the state average, and a red dot means a county is 10 percent or more below the state average. 

“The county Birth-to-21 Snapshot is an effective tool because it presents—on a single page—a picture of overall child and family well-being,” said Georgia Family Connection Partnership Executive Director Gaye Smith. “The red, yellow, and green dots make it easy to see the contrast between the state and the county rates. But even as we compare our county numbers to the state rate, we need to acknowledge that each county contends with unique circumstances that we must take into account when looking at data.” 

These tools give Irwin County Family Connection Collaborative members a way to view the county’s unique situations and provide the community members an opportunity to work together in community development to improved conditions for the children and families.  

Irwin County has a set of data tools to help us assess the well-being of our children and families:

Even as we compare our county numbers to the state rate, we need to acknowledge that each county contends with unique circumstances that we must take into account when looking at data. 

Just because a county rate is lower than the state’s, doesn’t mean the county isn’t improving or can’t get better. For example, third-grade reading has been improving across the state for the past several years, and while some counties’ rates are still lower than the state’s, those counties are still moving in the right direction. 

Looking at the state comparison empowers our Collaborative to set appropriate benchmarks and to keep track of the current conditions for children and families in our county-and where they’re going. 

Family Connection was created to convene community leaders to help identify the challenges the children and families in our county are facing, to eliminate duplication of services, and to innovate new solutions to our local challenges.  

Right now, the data shows that lowering the extremely high unemployment and poverty rates in Irwin County are issues that are critical to helping our community thrive. Here is what our Collaborative with our partners are doing to help address our community’s challenges: working with the schools and other organizations to keep children in school and on track to graduate on time.  

Some of the projects that Irwin County Family Connection have provided with our valuable partners are:

  • Annual 3rd Grade Dictionary Give Away;
  • Middle and High Schools Teen Mazes;
  • Annual Career Expo/Job Fairs; and
  • C.A.R.E Resource Fairs, resource referrals, and other programs and activities throughout the years.

Let me know about additional data I can provide for you and other ways Irwin County Family Connection and I can assist you as we serve the children and families in Irwin County. 

Laverne McConico
Irwin County Family Connection, Executive Director
[email protected]
229-468-9719