I wanted to begin this week by sharing how much the Fedcap family, along with the rest of the nation—and the world—mourn the deaths of the 17 people who were killed at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Valentine’s Day. The ripple effect of these—and too many other—tragic shootings will echo throughout our country and the world and will impact generations to come. These heartbreaking stories of lives cut short and the reverberations of the trauma and tragedy become part of a family and a community’s legacy. Like so many, my hope is that by working together, we as a nation can come together to solve the problems that lead to this sort of trauma and tragedy.
Solving seemingly intractable societal problems is difficult and important work.
For the Fedcap family of agencies, we actively pursue precise interventions to eliminate barriers to economic well-being. Doing this work day in and day out demands persistence, vision and a belief in what is possible. We are striving to halt legacies that affect not only an individual, but a family, a community, and a generation.
In our work we have learned that there is no “one size fits all” solution to eliminating barriers to economic well-being. That said, we have learned that there ARE consistent mechanisms that help. One of the most essential keys is having one or more champions who offer support, and who inspire the belief that a life can change for the better. Another factor is the access to new skills that provide a tactical and practical toolkit for growth.
One great example of interventions that made a difference is the story of Leslie Fields. Leslie had a long history of drug abuse and incarceration and a lot of bad luck around her. She was lonely, afraid and thought her life’s course was cast. But then, while in rehab, Leslie was referred to our Facilities Management Program to learn new skills. She joined our Wildcat Neighborhood Improvement Project, did well, and then went to work at Governor’s Island. She continued to do well and was then transferred to our corporate offices in Manhattan. She says of her success, “The work was great, but it was the positive energy at Fedcap that helped me to finally feel better about my life. The truth is, Fedcap gave me hope when I had none. It was like suddenly I had a friend who would back me up, no matter the situation.”
Sustaining relationships, practical skills, and hope propelled Leslie Fields to a better life. Each of these problem-solving tools can be systematized and intentionally driven. With them we are working every day to solve problems, creating a legacy of sustainable, relevant impact.