PROJECT BY AREA OF FOCUS
Community Economic Development
Regional Innovative Homeless Initiative: G&A facilitated an eight county collaboration to create the Regional Employment Collaborative, a $1.8 million initiative to create regional strategies for improving employment services for person who are or have been homeless.
Parks and Recreation: The area of mentoring, drop-in centers and “safe spaces” for socializing and group activities was the focus of G&A’s citywide evaluation of the Oakland Parks and Recreation Department (OPR) services. OPR engaged G&A in 2001 to perform a longitudinal evaluation study of the quality of its programs and services, most of which are to young people (i.e., ages 5 — 13 years old make up over half of OPR clients). G&A conducted independent observations of programs at 28 Recreational Centers throughout the City. A key strategy deployed in the OPR evaluation was the use of youth researchers to conduct focus groups and interviews with staff and program clients, as well as to conduct structured observations of program operations. This method ensured that the authentic voice of the OPR youth clients was expressed throughout the evaluation. In addition, G&A designed and analyzed a survey of over 1000 parent/clients each of four quarters of operation and analyzed client demographic, enrollment and services data across sites. The evaluation made comparisons at three levels: between individual Recreation Centers, between each Center and the overall OPR system and with comparisons of Centers/programs and OPR over time. G&A worked in a participatory process with OPR administration to identify special areas of focus of the evaluation each year (e.g., fees for service, staffing capacity, program quality of specific recreational centers). G&A analyzed the changing role of Parks and Recreation Departments over time and noted innovative approaches being taken in comparable US cities.