Our guest blogger for the month is ICAN’s Family & Community Programs Manager, Ixtchell Ledesma, who coordinates activities for the Chandler Coalition on Youth Substance Abuse to help prevent youth substance abuse within Chandler Arizona. Every year the U.S spends $180 billion on the negative effects that illegal drugs have on the mind and body but also on the production, sale, and use. The Chandler Coalition on Youth Substance Abuse (CCYSA) is organizing residents, parents, and teens to take back our streets. This past year Chandler was able to successfully remove 300 pounds of Marijuana from our community. Furthermore, over 400 residents were educated on the laws and harms of underage drinking. The CCYSA is excited to announce that a community website has been launched to help parents, teens, and community residents learn about the myths and realities of substance abuse. The website will provide Teens with opportunities for involvement and launch them into a Peer Leadership group that take pride in reducing the access and availability of drugs in their community. The Teen program meets on a daily basis learning the fundamentals of what it means to be an active participant in the Chandler community. Parents and community residents will learn about the tell signs of use resources for individuals seeking treatment and counseling. Lastly, the website will provide areas for involvement and strategies being practiced and implemented by Chandler residents to maintain safe and drug free neighborhoods. Visit our website to become involved and learn more about what you can do to stop illegal drug use in your community www.ccysachandler.org
There’s a good chance that you have heard by now the announcement that ICAN has a new CEO, Becky Jackson. She’s been getting acquainted with the position for 2 months now. Becky is the former President of the Chandler Chamber of Commerce and, most recently, the Executive Director for the Desert Southwest Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). Although she is new to the ICAN staff, she previously volunteered with the Only ICAN Capital Campaign to build a new facility. Becky expressed her excitement after receiving the CEO position, “This opportunity signifies for me, a blessing and an opportunity to assist in leading a focused and driven organization such as ICAN. The amazing achievements in out of school programming ICAN is accomplishing and its unique brand of community service are a direct match for my experience and skill set. I am definitely looking forward to working with the families, the community and the board to build ICAN’s future focus with youth and families at its epicenter.” Becky was chosen from more than 20 other candidates, primarily from her measurable efforts leading the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the Chandler Chamber of Commerce. ICAN Board of Directors Chair, Patti Bruno, found Becky’s qualifications to be refreshing, “Becky’s experience in managing staff and committees and her able network among local professional, civic and community organizations make her the right choice for ICAN. The ICAN Board and staff are enthusiastic in its endorsement of Becky and where she will lead us as we accomplish critical short term objectives and plan for the sustainment of ICAN for the long-haul.” Becky Jackson replaces Christy McClendon, who left to pursue other opportunities in non-profit work outside of the Chandler community.
ICAN’s focus is not solely on youth alone, but their parents and families too. Working with a youth’s surroundings to assist in daily choices for positive change makes a greater impact than working with youth alone. This is why ICAN also offers valuable parenting and family programs to build better family relationships. Strengthening Multi-Ethnic Families is a program that was designed to effectively model and teach appropriate behaviors for a healthier and stronger family. It also encourages parents to explore their discipline options, practice methods of building a solid support system in their home, and strengthen their family’s communication strategies. The program lasts 6 consecutive weeks and meets twice each week. Free dinner is served for participants and any youth ages 3+. It’s open to anyone and does not cost anything to attend! If you are interested, please contact ICAN’s Family and Community Programs Manager at 480-821-4207 or firstname.lastname@example.org If you are interested in donating your time to assist with Family Programs or are able to provide food for one of the evenings, please contact ICAN’s Family and Community Programs Manager at 480-821-4207 or email@example.com
This month celebrates the 20th anniversary of ICAN’s youth and family programs! To celebrate this tremendous milestone, we reflect on how far ICAN has come from operating out of a high school gymnasium 20 years ago to anticipating a move into a new 21,000 square foot facility this spring. In early January 2011, StoryCorps made a stop in Phoenix and gave the opportunity for ICAN Founder, Henry Salinas to be interviewed by ICAN Board Member Commander Edward Upshaw to record his story about founding ICAN as part of an oral history project with the Library of Congress. Henry Salinas shared his founding of ICAN to address the gang activity that was growing in his Chandler neighborhood in the early 1990’s. Henry shared about overcoming the odds to bring free programs to Chandler’s children and youth—including the doubts of community leaders that change could occur. Cmdr. Edward Upshaw, who was the Chandler Police Department Gang Sergeant at the time, recalled a conversation with Henry in the early days, stating, “My job was to eliminate gangs from Chandler; my job was not to mingle with them but to eradicate them.” After being volunteered for the ICAN board however, Commander Upshaw began to see how his involvement with these kids could and would make a difference. Henry has also seen the impact and understands the importance of continuing ICAN’s preventative programming, “I’d rather see prevention than prisons (for the youth) and we just need to continue. We have broken the chain, and will continue to break the chain and never stop.” Click here to download Henry’s full StoryCorps interview Help us celebrate our 20th anniversary by sharing your vision for the 20 years, as Henry and Commander Upshaw have. Visit ICAN’s Facebook to leave your mark on ICAN’s future!
This month’s guest blog post is from ICAN’s Youth Program Manager, Heidi Harlow. She gives a brief overview of the Culture of Poverty and how it’s used for ICAN youth programs… Part of the training that all ICAN staff receive is on the “Culture of Poverty”. This theory, made popular by the book A Framework for Understanding Poverty by Ruby Payne, suggests that the different socioeconomic classes operate under a specific set of hidden, or unspoken rules, that are essential for survival in that class. ICAN incorporates many of the beliefs into policy and practice in the following ways… Students need to be taught the hidden rules of middle class – not in denigration of their own but rather as another set of rules that can be used if they so choose. Many of the attitudes that students and parents bring with them are an integral part of their culture and belief systems. Middle class solutions should not necessarily be imposed when other, more workable, solutions might be found. Support systems need to include the teaching of procedural self-talk, positive self-talk, planning, goal-setting, coping strategies, appropriate relationships, options during problem solving, access to information and know-how, and connections to additional resources. Students from poverty need to have at least two sets of behaviors from which to choose – one for the street and one for the school and work settings. The purpose of discipline should be to promote successful behaviors. Teaching students to use the adult voice (i.e., the language of negotiation) is important for success in and out of school and can become an alternative to physical aggression. Structure and choice need to be part of the discipline approach. Discipline should be seen and used as a form of instruction. Taken from http://wik.ed.uiuc.edu/index.php/Framework_for_Understanding_Poverty%2C_A
ICAN’s 2011 Pack-a-Backpack Drive just launched and we need your support! Each year the Pack-a-Backpack Drive collects backpacks and back to school supplies for underprivileged ICAN youth from July 1-15. We are excited to welcome back the Chandler Compadres as sponsors of the drive and will be providing 175 backpacks and t-shirts for the youth. The items we are collecting during the drive include: No. 2 pencils, pens (blue/black ink only) Highlighters notebooks (wide ruled & college ruled) loose leaf paper 3 ring binders pocket folders colored pencils erasers markers This year we have begun collecting new tennis shoes for school-aged children since many of our youth receive hand me down shoes that are falling apart and don’t have the means to get new ones through the school year. Supplies can be dropped off at the following Chandler businesses: ICAN Edward Jones Covance Chandler United Methodist Church Avnet PayPal On July 18, ICAN will host a back to school luau where youth will receive their backpacks and supplies. Volunteers are welcome to help and urged to sign up through ICAN’s Volunteer Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org. Just a simple donation of pencils, pens, paper, etc. can make a huge difference in a youth’s success for the school year. You donation not only helps them succeed this school year but is reflected through their academic future.
You might have seen that ICAN has announced the groundbreaking event for our new 20,000 square foot facility at Folley Park in Chandler on June 18 at 7:30am. We are excited to announce that our keynote speaker is the honorable Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. This is something we have been looking forward to and are excited that it’s finally coming to fruition. If you’ve visited ICAN recently, you have likely noticed that we have severely outgrown our current 6,000 square foot facility. We serve 150 youth daily in afterschool programs, nearly 120 in our school based programming and an additional 25-35 youth in our family programs. Last year over 2,000 came through our doors! With the new facility we will have the space to increase programming and serve 55% more youth daily. This also signifies a greater return on investment to the community and is priceless as ICAN programs give youth a foundation of support and knowledge to help them reach their goals and dreams. Join us on Saturday June 18, 2011 at 7:30am at Folley Park in Chandler for an amazing celebration. The event is open to the public; during the event there will be virtual tours of our new facility and light food and refreshments will be served. This is a great milestone for our community and it’s time for us to all come together and celebrate the steps that will continue to build a positive future for our youth. Click on the invite below to view full size
The ICAN Charity Golf Tournament is coming up quick at the end of this month at the Rim Golf Club in Payson, AZ. There’s so much fun involved, that you almost have to make a weekend out of it! Not only do you get a weekend of golf and fun, but the event also benefits ICAN youth. Saturday May 21 is the pre-event dinner that will feature live music and entertainment from Michael Sicoly and a live/silent auction. The dinner always provides a relaxed atmosphere to let loose and get on the dance floor. Sunday May 22 hosts the golf tournament at the beautiful Rim Golf Club followed by an awards dinner which recognizes the 3 winning teams. This year’s ICAN Charity Golf Tournament is being organized by ICAN supporters, Chris and Caroline Hoeye of Big Two Toyota Scion and Rob Meyer of RFM Contracting, Inc. The Hoeyes recently gave a $1 million gift toward ICAN’s capital campaign to relocate to a new facility to handle the growth ICAN has seen the past several years. Their focus and involvement in ICAN has been supporting positive futures for youth, and the ICAN Charity Golf Tournament raises much needed funds for programming. Tournament entry includes golf fees/cart, lunch, awards dinner, gifts bag and a guaranteed day of fun! Early sponsors of the event this year include Big Two Toyota Scion of Chandler, Kovach Metal Roofing, RFM Contracting, Inc., Arizona Business Bank, Arizona Window Pros, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, The Cain Group, Barone Electrical Service, and Wally and Vanessa Henkel. If you’re interested in becoming a sponsor and support ICAN youth, you can download the sponsorship form here or contacting Caroline Hoeye at 928-474-8062. Interested in registering for the ICAN Charity Golf Tournament and teeing off to show your support for ICAN? Register by clicking here or contacting Caroline Hoeye at 928-474-8062.
Welcome to the ICAN blog…a new place for supporters, community members, and clients to stay in touch with ICAN. My name is Christy McClendon, and I always say that it is my privilege to serve as ICAN’s Chief Executive Officer. I have been with the organization for 6 years and continue to be inspired by the youth and families we serve. They inspire my work each day as I watch them grow, learn, and develop into productive members of our community. In the spirit of our first blog post, let me start off by saying that there are a lot of exciting things happening at ICAN! Our organization has been serving youth and families for nearly 20 years and we have seen so much change in the Chandler Redevelopment Area; however, we have more work ahead of us to increase awareness about youth substance abuse and gang activity. This blog is just one step forward to creating a larger awareness through our invaluable programming. Within the ICAN blog we want to be able to bring detailed information on some of the ongoing events and information to keep you informed. ICAN has so much going on between youth preventative programming, community outreach programs, volunteer opportunities, and community involvement through various events that we host and partner with throughout the year. Summer is coming upon us quickly and ICAN is preparing to bring positive programming from the school year into summertime. With the extra free time youth have, we provide programs and activities that not only keep them entertained, but continue their growth with the ability to make positive choices when it comes to substance abuse, gang activity, and personal development in academics and life skills. ICAN also holds the annual Pack-a-Backpack Drive from July 1-15 where the community donates school supplies so youth are ready to return to school after summer. Furthermore, ICAN is in the midst of the Only ICAN Capital Campaign to build a new facility, which a rendering of the new facility is show to the right, that will give the much needed space and expansion our programs need to serve a growing population of youth and families. We have already made some great progress, but there are still many more milestones to hit including: Ground Breaking in June Beginning Construction in September Raising $1.1 Million by August 2011 to be eligible for a significant grant opportunity I encourage you to explore our website including the Only ICAN Capital Campaign webpage. There is a lot of great information on programs, our history and the many ways you can get involved to bring change to the youth of ICAN. You can also contact our office at 480-821-4207 to set up a tour.
We’re excited about all of the opportunities ahead for ICAN and the families of Chandler, and look forward to our new website helping us build programs and success for the future. We invite you to click around and send us your feedback, and we’ll work to continue improving the site to make your experience as helpful and informative as it can be. Sincerely, The ICAN Team