A Message from Our President
With spring comes renewed hope, and my hope for the future is greater than ever. While the past year has brought unimaginable loss, I am inspired by the commitment and flexibility of my PLC colleagues. Even as they grieve, respond to increased parenting demands, cope with uncertainty, suffer from a lack of contact with family and other loved ones, and experience illness themselves, PLC staff has remained on course, prioritizing the needs of those we support. While necessity has helped us develop new ways to serve our children and youth, like you, we look forward to connecting in person. Social interaction is essential to every aspect of our health, and though virtual options have offered some relief, we cannot deny the increased potential and power of a face-to-face connection.
Indeed, our work has continued to make a significant impact. But those who were in jeopardy before the pandemic are struggling more than ever. There is so much more we can do. PLC will continue our existing effort, which is primarily funded through local and federal grants tied to specific essential services. Our ability to do more relies on private funding and community support. As we strive to provide vulnerable children and youth with much-needed, in-person academic, career and emotional support through our ACE Centers (ProgressiveLifeCenter.org/ACE), we ask for your increased commitment.
Please consider donating to our spring campaign, becoming a sponsor of our golf tournament or conference, volunteering for an event, or introducing PLC to others who will help advance our work. Together, we will go beyond ensuring the currently-funded basics, and begin empowering our overlooked children to become fulfilled and valued members of their community.
Together, we are stronger.
Dr. Laurence E. Jackson
President and CEO
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PLC Events are Back with a Priority on Safety
In 2020, our conference was a virtual success, but we erred on the side of caution by cancelling our popular golf tournament. With safety a priority, we are now making plans for both events in 2021! As we approach each of our fall events, we will continue to follow regional and national guidelines to ensure your wellbeing. Keep and eye an on our website and social media for updates, and mark your calendars for September 21 and November 19!
Save the Date:
The 3rd Annual Dr. Frederick B. Phillips NTU Conference
November 19, 2021
Social workers are essential workers. They drive the fulfillment of PLC’s mission and are fundamental to a community’s wellbeing. In March, when we celebrated National Social Work month, two PLC Delaware social workers received public accolades for their commitment and expertise.
By the Office of the Child Advocate of Delaware, PLC’s Melita Grimes was selected as a Star Family Court Representative based on her meticulous presentation of foster child case information, thorough permanency testimony, strong working relationships with birth parents, and effective collaboration with state attorneys and other supportive permanency resources.
“Melita has been an awesome [social] worker advocating for children experiencing foster care. She gets to know the children and families on her case load, goes above and beyond to help in any way she can, and is a wealth of knowledge.” –Delaware’s Office of the Child Advocate CASA Coordinator
“I appreciate the family courts taking time to acknowledge what sometimes feels like goes unnoticed. It’s a blessing to be able to get up every day and do what you enjoy, and I am happy that Progressive Life Center gives me that opportunity.” -Melita
Gifty Akpandja earned special recognition from Delaware officials and Department of Family Services leaders for the outstanding outcomes resulting from her work with a struggling youth unable to communicate in English. Gifty was also recognized for exceptional case review during the annual Department of Family Services audit – only one of two staff recognized in the entire state of Delaware!
“Gifty, the exceptional quality of your work, which is I’m sure a reflection of your heart, goes a long way to both positively impact families and spread the good news about PLC to our community stakeholders.” – Dr. Laurence Jackson, PLC President and CEO
Congratulations to Melita and Gifty, and to all of PLC’s compassionate and courageous social workers who have beautifully navigated a challenging time, not missing a beat in their advocacy of vulnerable children and youth.
We’re here to help with your spring cleaning! Did you know that PLC can accept your unused car, truck, motorcycle, boat with trailer or RV? You will receive a tax receipt after the sale of your donated vehicle. You clean up, we clean up!
Click to learn more.
Those of you who text regularly, and especially those of us who are texting with teens, have likely typed in a simple “OMW” a time or two. These have been welcomed letters for our Baltimore Adolescent Clubhouse staff. Although Clubhouse programming has continued to take place over Zoom, our staff has enjoyed the occasional in-person visit to drop off project supplies, gift cards, and family essentials. Even the masks can’t hide the big smiles! “We are grateful for the opportunity to continue services over Zoom, but can’t wait to get back to the Clubhouse. Meanwhile, these short in-person connections are good for both the staff and the youth,” says Clubhouse Director Neville Hodge, pictured below right, masked and delivering supplies to a Clubhouse family.
Why “Meet Me Halfway?” The Meet Me Halfway title was coined by the youth who participate, reflecting the program’s successful harm reduction approach. Harm reduction refers to a set of compassionate and pragmatic approaches that aim to reduce a variety of risky behaviors including drug or alcohol use, teen sex, bullying and other social pressures. Clubhouse programming is designed to motivate youth to evaluate their lives, consider changes, and succeed in implementation thus taking power over their own lives.
Our Clubhouse team asks youth, “What DRIVES you?”
Determination, Respect, Integrity, Vision, Excellence!
When you think of PLC, you might picture our compassionate clinicians working hand-in-hand with children and families. And yes, this is an essential piece of the PLC machine. But the PLC engine wouldn’t run without our adept and skilled staff of accountants, administrative coordinators and specialist, and program managers. Last month, the team that keeps our Community Programming Initiative (CPI – ProgressiveLifeCenter.org/CPI) at peak performance, earned a 100% on their annual compliance audit, and we want each of them to hear our applause!
Congratulations Team CPI, for recognition of your excellence in the categories of finance, training and capacity, quality assurance, contracts management, and events and activities. Sheree, Judy, Christiana, Sarina, Carlton, Teresa, Kianga and Teneisha, the outcomes realized by the youth and families served through CPI are made possible only with your expert support.
What is CPI? For court-involved youth referred to DC’s Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services, PLC coordinates 17 providers to streamline treatment for youth and their family, ensuring the achievement of personal goals and strengthening of families.
Charles Evans knows business systems, he knows operations management, and he knows PLC. Before earning his new title as Chief Operating Officer (COO), Charles served for seven years as our Washington, DC Regional Director. With a Master’s in Public Administration from George Mason University, a Bachelor’s in Business Administration from James Madison University, and 20 years of growth experience, we know we’re in good hands.
“PLC is very near and dear to my heart. I have a tremendous amount of respect for its leadership and staff and the work we do for our clients and families. I look forward to ongoing partnership with PLC’s leadership to support our work and Dr. Jackson’s vision for the agency.” – Charles Evans
As COO, Charles’ efforts are crucial to PLC’s mission advancement. While managing and evaluating PLC’s
day-to-day operations, Charles will take action to improve PLC’s business functionality and efficiencies to drive sustainable growth. His efforts will strengthen PLC’s internal business systems, quality controls and efficiencies, reinforcing the foundation on which our important work relies. We are grateful for his essential support that impacts every aspect of PLC’s work.
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month | “Sistahs” Offers Year-round Healing
Under the impetus of Lisa Streeter, Sistahs With Voices has become a reality.
It is incredibly rewarding to provide a confidential healing space for women to learn from one another and heal together. I have witnessed NTU used in a holistic way and women come out on the other side learning so much about themselves. – Lisa Streeter, Sistahs With Voices Facilitator
As Outreach Coordinator, Lisa is integral to the success of PLC’s domestic violence and sexual assault (DV & SA) education programming in Prince George’s County. In addition to “Sistahs”, she and Regional Director Evette Clarke started an awareness program from scratch, partnering with CAFY (Community Advoacates for Family & Youth) and other community providers toward the development of relevant and engaging programming. Originally, in person and now over Zoom, the workshops educate a community of “bystanders” to recognize signs of DV & SV, and offer ways in which we can provide support to friends and safely intervene.
Is fostering a child or teen right for me? So you have room in your heart and your home! Scroll down for some other questions should you be asking yourself.
PLC has compiled some great resources to help you better understand what foster parenting involves – and if it’s right for you! Here are some highlights from the questionnaires and quizzes we’ve compiled:
- Do you feel you have more to give?
- Do you want to share your experiences and good fortune?
- We know you must be kind and loving, but can you be firm?
- Are you patient and do you enjoy a challenge?
- Do you have room in your schedule?
- Do you have a strong support system?
If you can answer “yes!” to these questions, you just might make a great foster parent! Email us at email@example.com to learn more. Or complete the online interest form for our Maryland, Pennsylvania and Delaware foster parent programs which can be found at ProgressiveLifeCenter.org/FC. We can work directly with you in many mid-Atlantic locations, or refer you to another provider who serves your community.
Get to know our highly-effective
Parents Progressing With Life (PPWL)
Empowering Philadelphia Parents with New Skills to Build Stronger Families and Brighter Futures
Thanks for being part of our community. We hope to see you soon!