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“We Got This" : complex economic and social issue addressed and funded by one community

"We Got This" is a grassroots community initiative that empowers and employs young black males to become active in the cleanup of their own community while receiving exposure to notable positive male role models and their messages—from We Got This Facebook page  Every week teens arrive to work and adults to donate and advise. All donations come from the community and must be dropped off in person. Outside donors or online funding is NOT wanted— community funding delivered in person is essential. What started as one adult helping one teen stay out of trouble quickly grew into a 60+ person initiative benefiting the entire community. For some of the teens this is their first opportunity to make money and be around positive role models.

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We Got This reminded me of the simplicity of Benjamin Booth's Lawn Mower story but on a larger scale. In We Got This:
1. one parent identified a need (something to keep her son safe)
2. another adult provided the model (pay for weekly neighborhood clean-up)
3. community provided funding
4. community members are role models and advisors

Back story
We Got This started in Milwakee when a mother asked her neighbor for advice in keeping her 12 year old son, who had already been in trouble with the police once, safe and out of trouble. The neighbor and local activist Andre Lee Ellis offered to pay her son $20 to spend a Saturday morning cleaning up the neighborhood.
 
The teen had to be there on time or the offer was rescinded. The following week he brought a few friends. The following week, he brought even more friends. There are now 60+ participants weekly.
 
Key interesting points

networking opportunity
Local adults can mentor and advise teens during clean-up. It is an opportunity for adults to see their teen neighbors as hard, reliable workers. 
 
personal and community-funding
The program is personal-  completely human-to-human. No big grants, no online pledges. Donors drop off money themselves every Saturday in donations of $5, $10 or more. 
 
The “We Got This” Facebook page explicitly states:  
We Got This is COMMUNITY-FUNDED and driven and does not, nor seeks to be funded by any city, state, federal governmental, charity or foundation. WHY? - because WE GOT THIS!!!

entire community benefits from initiative
Funders and workers know one another and benefit from each other’s efforts in more than just financial ways— adults are valued as benefactors & role models, teens are seen as hard workers, their neighborhood is cleaner  — the entire community benefits in a visible and immediate way.
 
Article on milwaukeens.org
http://www.milwaukeenns.org/2014/06/30/activist-says-we-got-this-when-it-comes-to-keeping-black-youth-busy-and-safe/#sthash.DCOOOfiH.dpuf
 
We Got This Facebook page
https://www.facebook.com/wegotthismilwaukee
 

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Photo of Meena Kadri

Fab share, Lauren and great highlights on the success of the community model. Tip: to activate links in your post, hit the Update Entry button up there on the right, then follow the instructions here: http://bit.ly/oi_link  Great to have you onboard OpenIDEO...

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