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Roca: Organizational Development Story
At Roca, a youth development organization in Chelsea, Massachusetts, one of the organizational mantras is “we’re running relationships, not programs.” As a strong advocate for youth, Roca had a history of troubled relations with local government. Through it’s Engaged Institutions strategy, Roca has transformed these relationships into productive partnerships that benefit both young people and the larger community.
Through the Engaged Institutions Strategy, Roca builds relationships with governmental and community organizations to address the multiple needs of youth in crisis and to enhance opportunities for their growth and development. The Innovation Center has partnered with Roca to surface and document these practices, and to provide tools and technical assistance.
Meetings are scheduled weekly and bi-weekly with Roca, the Department of Social Services, probation and the police department, the Department of Youth Services, and the Chelsea school system. Representatives from these organizations talk about young adults who are shared between the agencies and ensure smooth intake of new participants. Former Chelsea Police Chief, Frank Garvin, once a vocal opponent of Roca, helps facilitate this process as a consultant to the organization.
Roca also facilitates a weekly group with inmates at the Suffolk County House of Correction and is working with the assistant deputy Superintendent to develop a re-entry process for young men and women returning to the community, taking lessons they have learned while incarcerated and using them for the greater good of their neighborhood.
For more information about implementing these strategies in your work, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-316-0221.