October 29, 2014

Beyond the Idea Accelerator with Ann McAlpin: “Connections – Aged-Out Foster Kids and Caring Adults”

accelerator_logo_xsmall.jpegAs the grand finale to NTEN’s first-ever Leading Change Summit, a number of intrepid 14LCS attendees pitched and developed 24 awe-inspiring projects during the Idea Accelerator.

The Idea Accelerator was designed by LimeRed Studio’s Emily Lonigro Boylan, Owner and Creative Director, and Demetrio Cardona Maguigad, Director of Strategic Design, who teamed up with NTEN to carry out the event.

The Summit may have ended, but many of these projects are only beginning. Today, we want to introduce you to “Connections – Aged-Out Foster Kids and Caring Adults,” an idea pitched by Ann McAlpin and supported by teammates Jill Beasle, Ken Goldstein, and Kait Steele. This idea took second place at the Idea Accelerator.

photo.jpgWhat is Connections?
We will use technology (e.g., phones and wireless connections) to incent foster care kids — who really want to experience independence! — to stay connected after they turn 18 years old with an advocate or mentor who will point them towards available resources at the point in time when they need help.

How did the idea get started?
Kids in the foster care system turn 18 and are turned loose to be independent. Because of this, they face a high likelihood of having ongoing emotional difficulties, becoming pregnant, spending time in jail, and remaining homeless. These kids need ongoing support.

Who could use this?
Kids “aging out” of the foster care system.

What does this project need?
Ideas, help with measurement, and partners.

What’s next for this project?
We want to meet with local potential partners, research grant possibilities for the ongoing wireless connections, and obtain agreement from the Board of CASA to extend our strategy.

Ann McAlpin is Executive Director of CASA Child Advocates of Montgomery County in Texas.

Read more about the Idea Accelerator and pitched projects on NTEN’s blog.

Steph Routh
Steph is Content Manager at NTEN: The Nonprofit Technology Network. She has spent over a decade in the nonprofit sector, with a focus on organizational development, communications, fundraising, and program planning. Steph served as the first Executive Director of Oregon Walks for five years prior to joining NTEN. She is passionate about removing barriers to opportunities and finding equity at the many intersections of social justice work. And she feels lucky every day she is at NTEN, with a Community that does exactly that. Outside the NTEN office, Steph is the Mayor of Hopscotch Town, a consulting and small publishing firm that inspires and celebrates fun, lovable places for everyone. Steph is married to her bicycle and an aunt of two.