–submitted by Roger Phelps; photo by Mike Engelberger
Joe Parisi offered a down-to-earth pragmatic approach to some of the recurring problems of unequal access to key services. Many of these approaches transcend the single agency or single resource access. Instead, Joe offers a “partnership model” for addressing problems that plague our youth, minorities, poor and underprivileged communities and other segments that are finding themselves increasingly cutoff from traditional means of accessing services. A few examples:
- Early Childhood Zones – partnership with schools, parents and United Way designed to stabilize vulnerable families and better prepare young children prior to 4K.
- Mental Health Issues in Schools – partnership with schools, parents, mental health professionals and Catholic Charities to build bridges and provide help to schools struggling to deal with individual mental health crisis among its students. The goal is to provide staff and parents with options other than calling law enforcement – options to de-escalate a crisis and stabilize it to help minimize future crises.
- Driver’s License Program – a program to increase Drivers Training for job seekers who find it difficult even to drive to an employment interview. There are currently extreme inequities in driver’s license ownership by white and minority communities. This is a major factor in inequities in employment rates in Dane County.
Joe Parisi’s general approach to the above and other problems is to map out the problem, identify the choke-points and then form a partnership between public and private stakeholders who can provide a combined solution.
Thank you, Joe, for enlightening Rotarians at today’s meeting and for showing us how we can all be part of real-world solutions to some of our county’s problems. Let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work on these issues.