Walking with Families and Communities, 2-Generations at a Time
“Consilience Group helped Agape expand into greater fields of service. They are different from other consultants; with an in-depth knowledge of the subject matter, they facilitated a conversation between the director, the board, and the community, allowing us to dream together, think out loud, understand the context of the community, and connect us in a way to design innovative service models that tap the wealth of resources Memphis and its people can offer. With Consilience Group’s guidance and on-going support, Agape is able to honor Christ by walking alongside our neighbors to provide safe homes for children and families.”
–Executive Director, Agape Child & Family Services
For over 50 years, Agape Child and Family Services has worked to strengthen families by creating healthy home environments. In 2009, Agape wanted to live their mission more deeply by offering innovative, effective services to reach people living in neighborhoods with scarce resources to build sustained change for families and their communities. Agape called on Consilience Group to help launch its innovative Powerlines Community Network (PCN), a place-based, two-generation (2-Gen) strategy that connects high-risk families to resources that foster empowerment, resiliency, and nurturing home environments where children and adults thrive.
Consilience Group has provided facilitation, strategy, design and implementation support at every stage of PCN’s evolution, from pre-launch planning through its on-going expansion. Grounded in an intensive internal reflection process, Agape board and staff were engaged to make a long-term, transformational commitment to neighborhoods through a multi-generational approach to empower families to own their own determination and success. Consilience Group worked with Agape to build capacity for authentic community engagement by practicing deep listening with families living in low income apartment complexes and community schools to respond to the community’s stated needs. Consilience Group continues to partner with Agape with consultation and capacity-building for program design, data system development, quality improvement, and organization infrastructure.
PCN, now a collaborative effort between 100+ organizations that serves over 10,000 people each year, is regarded as a national 2-Gen model particularly for families served through TANF. Agape’s goal is to reduce poverty for those served by 1% annually for the next 10 years (only 5% of families living in poverty in Memphis ever escape poverty). As of the last quarter, 9% of the families served by Agape are no longer living below the federal poverty threshold. Families in the program are achieving significantly higher employment, income, housing stability, and school attendance, as well as decreases in school behavior problems – all at higher rates than the program goals.