By Jennifer Jones, director of the Change in Mind institute at the Alliance

The Alliance for Strong Families and Communities’ seeks to achieve its vision for a healthy and equitable society by accelerating change to ensure policies and systems provide equal access and opportunity for: Population health and well-being, educational success, economic opportunity, and safety and security. Our strategic action network uses innovative research and science-aligned interventions to achieve long-term outcomes in these areas.

In a 2015 article in the Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics, authors demonstrated that growing up in poverty influences a child’s brain development and these effects on brain growth meaningfully account for a sizable part of the educational achievement gap between poor and middle-class children.

Organizations like Children’s Home Society of Washington in Seattle and Episcopal Community Services (ECS) in Philadelphia have, based on the science, identified the need to provide economic mentoring with their clients and are using Mobility Mentoring to help move their clients to economic stability and self-sufficiency. Through the Mobility Mentoring Program, professionals partner with participants so that, over time, they may acquire the resources, skills, and sustained behavior changes necessary to attain and preserve their economic independence.

Children’s Home Society adapted Mobility Mentoring to its early childhood programs to help families develop the necessary tools to move toward financial security while supporting their children’s healthy development. The Washington State Department of Early Learning’s study of the Mobility Mentoring program found that families made substantial improvements over the school year. Alliance members can log in to the Alliance Library to access a recording of a previous webinar on Children’s Home Society’s use of Mobility Mentoring.

In a recent article in the Social Innovations Journal David Griffith, executive director and head coach at ECS, highlights efforts to train all employees in the Mobility Mentoring model and integrate it into several programs. Based on the growing body of research and positive results within the organization and other similar organizations, ECS has made the strategic decision and established a three-year schedule to shift toward the mentoring model.

For more information on Mobility Mentoring, visit the EMPath website.