community initiatives

Sherwood Trust seeks to support grassroots efforts at community problem solving and collective impact initiatives to address local challenges.  Two recent community initiatives include:

Successful Youth

Through a partnership with Blue Mountain Action Council, Sherwood Trust funded a collective impact process led by Kay Sohl of Kay Sohl Consulting to evaluate the challenges facing youth in the Walla Walla Valley and identify systems change strategies that would improve outcomes for area residents ages 0-25.  Area leaders volunteered their time to study the issue from 2014-2015, and they identified the early years (0-5) and the school to career transition years (16-25) as the two focus groups going forward.

From 2015-2016, two Systems Change Task Forces convened to identify policy recommendations for those alignments of resources and programs that have the potential to create the most community benefit.  The current focus of each group is below.

Early Years Systems Change Task Force

Co-Chairs Stan Ledington and Shannon Bergevin

  • Focus on systems changes that would better support the development of children in the pre-natal to 18-month age range, or for some members, in the pre-natal to 3-years age range.
  • Focus on changes that would help the most isolated families, those without family support and with significant barriers to connecting with community resources, make those connections and get the support they need to ensure that their young children are able to reach their full potential - intellectually, socially, emotionally, and physically.

School to Work Transition Systems Change Task Force

Co-Chairs Meagan Anderson-Pira and Alan Coffey

  • Obtaining and sustaining employment (or self-employment) that provides family sustaining income levels will increasingly require workers to complete post-secondary training/education that prepares them for continuous learning.  To achieve the overall Successful Youth goal of increasing the percentage of Walla Walla youth who achieve economic success by age 25, we will have to increase the percentage of youth who graduate from high school and enter, and benefit from, post-secondary training/education programs.
  • Focus on addressing the needs of youth in grades 9 through 12 who confront the greatest challenges/barriers to completing high school and entering post-secondary training/education.

Community Indicators

Sherwood Trust is part of a steering group with Community Council, Blue Mountain Community Foundation, and Walla Walla County Health Department examining how we can use data to better understand trends and opportunities in our region.

To help identify metrics that are meaningful indicators of our quality of life and that can be used and shared over time to measure progress in our community, we have contracted with the Washington State Budget & Policy Center to create a report for the Blue Mountain region – Walla Walla and Columbia counties and the Milton-Freewater area.  This work is based on the Washington State Budget & Policy Center’s Progress Index, with more than 100 separate measures of state-wide trends.  This report is a first step towards identifying a system to be used locally and updated on a regular basis.

We held meetings with community members on December 17 and February 25 to solicit feedback on initial findings.  Read more about the process and the final report through Community Council.