To Make an End is to Make a Beginning, 2017
2017 was certainly a year full of change, yet it was also full of transformation.
Here at VIA, we had not only the pleasure of seeing our own company step into the future, we also saw our clients’ programs grow in new and diverse ways. We are so honored and inspired by the work of the schools, community organizations, higher education, and foundations that are shaping our communities. While we can’t wait to see what 2018 will hold for us and our partners, our team would first like to reflect on and share some of the meaningful moments that made 2017 so impactful.
“Oh my! 2017 has been SO memorable, with not one, but TWO life changing events: having my son, Azure in June, and just a few weeks later in July becoming an owner and the CEO in July of VIA with Jessica. I am so lucky to have awesome partners, colleagues, and family – the year has flown by!”
“We at VIA are working on new ways to meet and work with people and organizations as we’re entering an exciting period of growth. One way we’re doing this is through attending more conferences and trainings, and improving our use of social media.
While attending one particular training session from our state liaisons, I met many people who’ve devoted their professional lives to creatively and successfully addressing major issues around homelessness. That experience, and a subsequent report that focused on this issue in Buffalo and other large cities in NY, inspired me to develop and write about approaches and tools that we at VIA could use to lend further support to these committed people and their missions.”
“In the spring, the New York State Department of Education announced the recipients of Round 7 funding for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Grant. A total of 138 grants were awarded statewide. Of those grants, VIA is evaluating 16, and I am personally evaluating 10. It is such an exciting time for afterschool, and I am truly grateful to be a part of it.”
“This year, I celebrated my one-year anniversary here at VIA. If you had asked me three years ago, I would tell you I’d never heard of evaluation and certainly wasn’t planning on starting a career in it. Now, I cannot imagine another way to spend my days helping our, and our partners’ communities. I could not feel more blessed to be working for such an incredible company.”
“As 2017 ends, I’ve been reflecting on my role as an evaluator. I keep thinking about the expression ‘to see the forest through the trees’ or to keep an eye on the big picture when immersed in details. That’s how I spend my days-evaluation in a nutshell.
I work with my clients in the trees. We work together to ensure quality and seamless data collection. I continuously push myself to find new ways to reduce the burden of data collection and make the evaluation process work well for programs. I comb through data to find patterns, focusing not only on the trees, but on the needles, leaves, and bark. At the same time, I keep the forest in mind–the program mission. I share best practices. I provide feedback and recommendations. I offer support in tough situations. I am a critical friend when I need to be, having difficult conversations for the greater good.
I support my clients so they can achieve their goals. Essentially, being an evaluator is awesome. I am proud to continue my work in 2018 and beyond.”
“Taking on ownership and leadership of Via Evaluation with my partners was definitely the highlight of my year! I am excited to be a leader of a majority women-owned business that positively impacts communities around New York State. And, I am grateful that I get to work with the intelligent, compassionate, dedicated people here at Via for many years to come. This year, the team here provided 50 organizations serving vulnerable populations with services they can use. I can’t wait to see what 2018 will bring!”