August 21, 2018

We believe any program can be on its way to better results, and at VIA, I get to be one of the people helping organizations be on that path. Working here, every day feels fulfilling, and I know this is not only due to VIA’s values or the meaningful projects I get to work on. This team, the VIA team, will blow you away with their knowledge.

During my first two years here, I have been given many opportunities to build not only my evaluation know-how, but also time to explore and research subject matter that makes my reports and recommendations aligned and purposeful. I may not consider myself an expert yet, but two of our evaluators are approaching their ten-year anniversary, and let me say, they are experts.

One of those experts is Emily, our 21st Century Community Learning Centers guru. Emily attends all (or nearly all) New York State 21st CCLC conferences and committee meetings to stay abreast of any changes with the grant. While she can absolutely answer any 21st CCLC questions related to evaluation, she can probably also answer your programmatic questions, too! To describe her work, Emily said,

“21st Century is a very complicated grant line with a lot of rules, requirements, and deadlines. Being an expert means we know what these requirements are and can help our clients navigate the unfamiliar waters. I attend the conferences and stay abreast of all the changes and mandates so that the clients can focus on running the program, and we can focus on meeting grant compliance, analyzing attendance and objectives, and making worthwhile observations and recommendations.”

Personally, I do not work on any 21st CCLC projects, so the background and content knowledge that Emily possesses astounds me. After working with Emily on their 21st Century grant, Rosanna Sandell at the Lockport City School District had a lot to say (and she says it better than I could!):

“You are immensely knowledgeable regarding the evaluation process required of this particular grant and have taught us ever-so-gently how we can adjust and modify our program so that we can, in the end, have the best 21st CCLC program possible.”

Erin Holbrook