the aspen institute
All it took was one visit to Aspen, Colorado for Walter Paepcke (1896-1960) to see the potential that this area has as a gathering place for thinkers and leaders. Just four years after his visit, in 1949, Paepcke created what we now know as the Aspen Institute. There is now also another site for the institute; the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore houses another campus.

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization, and focuses on creating leadership initiatives globally. The institute achieves this by doing four things continuously: seminars, young-leader fellowships, policy programs and public conferences and events. A recent network launched by the institute is aimed at educating people so that one day we can break the poverty cycle. This network is called The Two Generation Approach.

The Two Generation Approach recognizes that it is not usually good enough to just educate children, but parents must also be educated. How it works is by creating opportunities that address the needs of both parents and children. Three main components make up the approach: education, economic support and social capital.

Through focusing on education, programs with the Two Generation Approach give opportunities for children and parents. Giving the tools to parents to go back to school and get a degree that will land them a good job is the starting block to educating their children as well.

Economic support is also given to those in the program and these can include “housing, transportation, financial education and asset-building, tax credits, child care subsidies, student financial aid, health insurance … food assistance” and more. This relieves the parents of these stressors, so pursuing education can become their primary focus. Social capital is the last key component of the Two Generation Approach. Social capital research has proven that peer support and maintaining family relationships help lead to success.

Launching the Aspen Institute Ascend Network on April 24, 2014 required a lot of help. A group of around 60 national organizations teamed up with the Institute to represent 24 states creating two-generation approaches to end poverty.

The Aspen Institute website states that “[t]he goal of the Aspen Institute Ascend Network is to mobilize empowered two-generation organizations and leaders to influence policy and practice changes that increase economic security, educational success, social capital, and health and well-being for children, parents and their families.”

Brooke Smith

Sources: NHSA, Aspen Institute, Aspen Institute 2
Photo: PRWeb