March 09, 2021

5 Key Takeaways from our “In It Together” Virtual 2Gen Panel

Read the insights from our panel and watch the recording

For more than 28 years, Friends of the Children has been impacting generational change by empowering youth who are facing the greatest obstacles through relationships with professional mentors for 12+ years, no matter what. With our two-generation (2Gen) approach, we are leveraging our proven model to impact generational change for both youth and their caregivers.

Empowering voices of strength and influence to improve systems for families is a top priority for us. We were fortunate to have four incredible leaders in the field participating in our 2Gen Virtual Panel: In It Together: Why Two-Generation Approaches are Critical to Family Health and Well-Being:

- Jeanine Balfour, Senior Program Officer, The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation
- Gary Clemons, Executive Director, Friends of the Children–New York
- Tiffany Day, Systems Change & Policy Analyst, Ascend at Aspen Institute
- Drayton Jackson, Founder, Foundation for Homeless & Poverty Management; Parent Advisor, Ascend at the Aspen Institute

Each of them highlighted several key takeaways that will continue to inform and guide our work.

1. Jeanine Balfour reminded us that words matter. She emphasized that narratives about families and youth have to change – from deficit to asset-based framing, in order to achieve the kin of systemic change we know is needed.

2. Gary Clemons emphasized the need for long-term commitment to youth and caregivers remind us that "reparative justice models" to dismantle centuries-old systemic and institutional barriers require more than short-term fixes.

3. Tiffany Day stressed the need to sharpen our equity lens as we meet the moment holding systems accountable to break down barriers and create pathways of opportunity for Black and Brown families.

4. Drayton Jackson challenged us to value the true experts in the systems we want to change – namely families with lived experience. He stressed the policy changes should be driven by those most impacted by systems and policies.

5. Finally, all panelists emphasized that in their experience, two-generation approaches work and should be foundational to an equitable, post-pandemic society.

Now more than ever, our country needs solutions that create pathways to economic mobility for families. As children, parents, and families grow and change across their lifespan, 2Gen approaches align opportunities to help families pursue their goals and thrive, optimizing each person’s potential along the way. The results are healthy children meeting developmental milestones, healthy parents with family-supporting jobs, and better-connected individuals able to participate in civic and family life.

Want to discover more takeaways, you can check out the recording of our virtual panel discussion here on our YouTube channel.