Priority 1: Education Quality
Access to quality education plays a role in families’ ability to provide their children with the best chance at lifelong financial success. It is especially important in the Southside, which has a higher percentage of people under 19 years old (32.5%), compared to the city as a whole (24.2%). In order to be a successful student, youth must have adequate resources both at school and in their community. These resources include strong communication channels between teachers and parents. Academic success is not only built through traditional education pathways, but also requires learning opportunities beyond the classroom, like mentorship programs and hands-on experiences.
Priority 2: Community Engagement
Increasing the number of highly engaged residents can directly support safer, more connected, and sustainable neighborhoods. Southside families recognize the power of this need for cohesion and want opportunities to safely and conveniently bond. Facilitating such connections requires more formal and natural spaces for residents to interact, as well as safer routes to get there. When residents have more opportunities to connect, they can begin build trust, exchange ideas, and draw on each other’s wisdom.
Priority 3: Housing and Infrastructure
A home is a stabilizing factor in many people’s lives and should be a family’s refuge. Southside residents should all have access to high-quality, safe, and affordable housing in their neighborhood. Maintaining good housing stock within Southside - where less than 1% of all housing built in the neighborhood has been developed in the last two decades - requires a concerted effort from multiple sources. Not only do residents need to know about opportunities for home buying, upkeep, and advocacy, but local officials and decision makers can also better connect with neighborhood issues to understand Southside’s unique needs.
Priority 4: Youth Services
Outside a school setting, Southside youth want to have opportunities to participate in activities that allow them to explore their interests. The activities suggested by residents involved exploring new activities and interests for youth that are not often presented or readily available to them. These opportunities could include learning more about Southside’s history and connecting with others in their neighborhood. Schools, community centers, local government, and local businesses could all play a role in identifying non-traditional and non-school-based engagement strategies for youth.
Priority 5: Youth Employment
Entrepreneurship opportunities allow Southside youth to consider possibilities and explore innovative ideas, non-traditional avenues, and careers that align with their passions. Currently, the unemployment rate is higher in Southside (17.8%) than the city’s (10.1%). The soft skills that entrepreneurship trainings offer are transferrable to other personal and professional endeavors. Bringing Southside’s youth into such spaces through formal programs allows them to build connections and skills that are useful throughout their lives. It also creates more community awareness about small businesses and also increases civic connections.