Nonprofits often start with a vision — for a better future, to see certain needs met or to see the world change in some beautiful, positive way.
When Springboard to Opportunities began, there was a vision, too. We wanted our work to be radically resident driven. That meant involving the people we want to help in the conversation.
Springboard to Opportunities is designed to meet people’s needs where they are. Because of that, no two projects look the same. So far, we’ve partnered with the residents of two affordable housing communities in Jackson, MS: Commonwealth Village and Lincoln Gardens. While affordable housing gives people a home and a place in which to live and raise families, it is not enough on its own to meet the needs, everyday challenges and long-term goals of residents.
From the answers to these questions, we developed programs to address the specific and unique challenges of the families we work with. If residents’ needs evolve, so will our programs. Nonprofits have to meet the real needs of real people — not give them what we think they need. In our programs, we do not make decisions based on theories or limited perspective. We actively involve the communities we serve in the conversation alongside policy makers, social workers and advocates. We believe that those affected by programs and policies should have not only have a voice in the process, but be the central focus. Their stories, daily challenges and future ambitions are our priority.
As we expand our work from Jackson to the rest of Mississippi and beyond, we know that no program will be just alike. Springboard to Opportunities is here to help people with limited resources solve their most pressing problems in life to chart their course towards achieving their big life goals. The commitment to a radically resident-driven model that brings hope and agency to those we work with — and together, we can break the generational cycle of poverty.