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Martin Luther King’s Sermon on Service, Race, and the Ego – Two Months Before His Assassination

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Martin_Luther_King_press_conference_01269u_editOne of the best ways to celebrate MLK Day is to hear how he viewed the world and wanted to be remembered. We can do this by listening to his speech “The Drum Major Instinct”. It may be his best speech in his history of amazing American speeches.

He describes the Drum Major Instinct as both a useful and destructive instinct in all of us.

“Yes, don’t give up this instinct. It’s a good instinct if you use it right. (Yes) It’s a good instinct if you don’t distort it and pervert it. Don’t give it up. Keep feeling the need for being important. Keep feeling the need for being first. But I want you to be first in love. (Amen) I want you to be first in moral excellence. I want you to be first in generosity. That is what I want you to do.”

He talks about how the ego, the destructive version of this instinct, is the reason why race problems exist:

“Do you know that a lot of the race problem grows out of the drum-major instinct? A need that some people have to feel superior. A need that some people have to feel that they are first and to feel that their white skin ordained them to be first.”

An ironically, two months before his assassination, he talks about how he wants to be remembered:

I’d like somebody to mention that day that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to give his life serving others. (Yes)

I’d like for somebody to say that day that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to love somebody.

I want you to say that day that I tried to be right on the war question. (Amen)

I want you to be able to say that day that I did try to feed the hungry. (Yes)

And I want you to be able to say that day that I did try in my life to clothe those who were naked. (Yes)

I want you to say on that day that I did try in my life to visit those who were in prison. (Lord)

I want you to say that I tried to love and serve humanity. (Yes)

It’s a good day to take the time and listen to or read the entire speech here.

It’s 2020: Resolve To Be More Connected

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Looking for more ways to make a difference in your community?  January is National Mentoring Month and our Senior Evaluation Associate, Jessica Tufte, may have just the opportunity for you.

Buffalo String Works is an organization that provides free music education to refugee and immigrant children on Buffalo’s West Side after school.  [There are direct recruitment lines through the Buffalo Schools (both public and charter) for students.]

Right now, Buffalo String Works is recruiting volunteers for the spring semester.  Even if you don’t play an instrument, you can still make a difference by helping us run lessons and rehearsals.  We also need one-time help at our concert and other events.  Please get in touch with me at jessie@buffalostringworks.org if you’re interested! Right now, we are especially looking for someone to help during both orchestra rehearsals on Fridays from 3:45 PM to 5:45 PM doing things like encouraging students to their seats, getting extra chairs and stands when needed, taking students to the bathroom, photocopying music for when students forget it, etc..

Right now, the conductor has had to worry about a lot of these things while trying to conduct, and we’d like him to be able to focus on the music rather than the operations!”

Feedback from volunteers this fall included:

[I] have loved the collaborative feeling of the place [Buffalo String Works] and the way that musical tasks were supplemented by silliness.

I think the way the children are taught [works well], and I think the devotion shown to the students is amazing!

Question: What do you think Buffalo String Works is doing well and should continue doing?

Volunteer Response: Everything.

“Buffalo String Works’ mission is to foster inclusive communities through the transformative power of music.  Seeing the connections made not only between students, but between students, parents, volunteers, teaching artists, and even concert-goers is an incredible experience.  From a personal perspective, teaching has enabled me to better empathize with others.  I have to try to see what I’m teaching from a student’s perspective in order to explain or show it better.

This relates to the work of CCNY because I am constantly engaged in a continuous quality improvement loop with my teaching. If something worked well, I keep doing it.  If it didn’t go over so great, I strategize and try something else based on what I learned.  Music is something that I’ve done most of my life and, at times, it has been one consistent thing I can pick up and do when things get hard.  To be a part in giving others this lifeline, especially a group that has and continues to face trauma in their lives, is an incredible honor and opportunity.”

In addition to her CCNY projects dealing with child welfare and racial equity, Jessica has also been working for Buffalo String Works part-time for three years.  This year, however, due to her enrollment in the Global Leaders Program that is taking her to Chile this month (Jan 2020) to participate in real-world efforts using music/art for social change, she is unable to maintain a teaching schedule with Buffalo String Works and acts as their Volunteer Coordinator instead.  Jessica is excited to get back to teaching again next year though! 

Calling All Data Engineers

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CCNY, Inc. is recruiting for our newest Data Engineer.  We are looking for you if you enjoy the design, development, and implementation of data systems that drive organizational improvement.

We are a non-profit in Buffalo, NY that supports organizations to seamlessly integrate measurement and management, evaluation, and quality improvement strategies into their operations to develop programs and services that result in positive outcomes for their clients and the community.

The Data Engineer works as part of an interdisciplinary team and assists in developing data collection and management systems, cleans and analyzes data, creates engaging data visualizations, and produces utilization-focused reports.

We value our employees and offer a competitive benefits package including health and dental insurance, quarterly wellness activities, unlimited paid time off, IRA with employer match, professional development opportunities, and amazing co-workers!

If interested, please review the attached job description for qualifications and submit a resume, cover letter, and writing sample to hr@ccnyinc.org.

We’re Hiring!

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CCNY, Inc. is recruiting for our newest Evaluation Associate.  We are looking for you if you enjoy collecting, analyzing, and reporting data that drive organizational improvement.

We are a non-profit in Buffalo NY that supports organizations to seamlessly integrate measurement and management, evaluation and quality improvement strategies into their operations to develop programs and services that result in positive outcomes for their clients and the community.

The Evaluation Associate works as part of an interdisciplinary team and assists in developing data collection and management systems, cleans and analyzes data, creates engaging data visualizations and produces utilization-focused reports.

We value our employees and offer a competitive benefits package including health and dental insurance, quarterly wellness activities, unlimited paid time off, IRA with employer match, professional development opportunities, and amazing co-workers!

If interested, please review the attached job description for qualifications and submit a resume, cover letter and writing sample to hr@ccnyinc.org.

AEA Conference Wrap-Up

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Our evaluators are back from Minneapolis and have much to share about their conference experience!

The AEA conference in Minneapolis was a great experience. What I liked about the AEA is the ability to craft your own schedule.  In doing so, I tailored my agenda to include qualitative and quantitative methods.  Some of my favorite sessions were those that I felt provided me with a wealth of information that could be applied on the job back at CCNY.  This included “Getting Started with R” with data visualization specialist, David Keyes, “Advancing the Understanding of Measurement Issues in Behavioral Health” with a panel of various researchers from across the country, and “Data Design Planning” with evaluation consultant, Jennifer Lyons.  Although these were my favorite, each session I attended provided a good amount of information that I am eager to bring back and apply to CCNY.

—Meghan Santiago Harris, MPH

Attending AEA 2019 provided me with an important opportunity to connect with CCNY colleagues and internationally appreciated evaluation influencers, some of whom had a significant impact on my dissertation research and also on my development as a community social worker (in particular, David Chavis, CEO of Community Science). One of the best workshops included exploring the usefulness of Muppets, Mad Libs, and Bob Ross as creative tools for building consensus (and discovering I am a “Chaos” Muppet-type); and another “best” workshop was Evaluation Jeopardy that actively and energetically tested our knowledge and rewarded us (me and Jessica Tufte) with a $20 Starbucks gift card for coming in third place!

The daily plenaries were a pleasant surprise and I think they served to keep the conference participants connected and focused. In the future, I’d like to see an additional plenary on the last day of the conference – the day when connections start to fray and participants begin to give up on participation. Also, some of the most important workshops could not be attended due to being scheduled in very small rooms (despite some indications that they might be very well attended, i.e. Excel, R, and Tableau). Staying in an Airbnb allowed for some face-to-face contact with Minneapolis (within walking distance of a fabulous co-op) and an architecturally fascinating walk to and from the conference every day.

I’m already looking forward to AEA 2020.  I want a re-match on Evaluation Jeopardy!

—Sandra Sheppard, PhD, LMSW, CASACII

Spending four days among such a variety of evaluators -from over 20 countries and probably even more states- was a humbling and inspiring experience for me.  Sessions ranged from quantitative-based Research Control Trials to Evaluation Jeopardy and capacity-building with youth and children.  Unexpectedly, I found myself compelled to attend a few sessions led by indigenous evaluators who find themselves drawn between the world of Western-based evaluation practices and their own native culture.  From this, I gained perspective on how our own American culture shapes how we think about not only evaluation, but the world in general.  An example of this is how many of us don’t think about literal environmental/ ecological impact in our jobs. We complicitly, and many times unintentionally, isolate our human-ness from the rest of everything else.  Imagine if every proposal, report, and meeting in every field had a section about how the work at-hand impacts the environment and other people and living things’ well-being, for example.  On a more personal note, I’m so glad Sandy was there.  She fielded a number of questions at the end of our session about Implementation of Fidelity Tools with added perspective from her extensive previous professional experience in human services.  I’m thankful she was able to jump in so quickly with relevant knowledge and enthusiasm.

—Jessica Tufte, MPH

As a first-time presenter and attendee at AEA, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I’m happy to report that the conference exceeded my expectations! The hardest part of the 4-day conference was choosing which sessions to attend, as there were so many interesting topics being presented concurrently. I personally found tremendous value in the sessions on qualitative methods, and being able to take away some helpful ways to both collect and analyze data.

Impossible to choose just one, my favorite sessions were Empathy as a tool for an inclusive future of evaluation“Hold on, that’s it?” A six-step approach for transforming qualitative analysis into a community-engaged, transparent process, and Empowering people with intellectual disabilities (ID) to have equitable health outcomes. It also was encouraging to meet others in the evaluation field embracing design thinking and human-centered design, evidenced by the ‘pop-up’ Design Loft that AEA ran throughout the day on Friday and the numerous sessions that focused on these concepts.

Once my Ignite presentation was out of the way on Friday, I was ready to do some exploring in the Twin Cities! To my delight, I was able to catch Grammy-award winner PJ Morton perform an amazing set at the Varsity Theatre and then grab a late-night bite at Spoon and Stable. Despite the chilly temperatures, I found Minneapolis to be a very warm and welcoming city. I returned to Buffalo feeling inspired, energized, and ready to try some new approaches in my evaluation work. 

—Jennifer McQuilkin, MS Arch.

Here’s to AEA 2020! 🥂