In mid-July, Susan Barkan (pictured far left, with other award winners and college president), Associate Director of Research for Partners for Our Children, was awarded the largest of three Winning Victories grants from Antioch College.  The grant celebrates Antioch alumni who develop initiatives through business, entrepreneurship, or non-profit ventures that accelerate the development and deepen the impact of public good and social justice in local, national, and international communities.

Antioch graduate Matt Morgan (class of 1999) envisioned and helped make possible the Winning Victories Grant, which was inspired by Antioch College founder Horace Mann's plea to Antioch graduates in 1859 to "be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity."

The grant program offers three cash awards - one for $50,000, and two for $10,000 each.  All Antioch College Alumni were invited to submit an application and nearly 60 applied. Dr. Barkan was awarded the top award for her work with Strive.

Strive is an evidence-, practice- and trauma-informed curriculum. The five-session, structured, parent support and education curriculum is designed for parents and children who are recently separated because of concerns about child welfare. Parents who become involved with the child welfare system are among the most poor and disenfranchised in our society, and, in many cases, are themselves products of the system. Strive is trying to change how the system treats these parents early on in the process, and offers them hope, and the skills and opportunities to be their best selves.

The Winning Victories funds will be used to standardize and deliver e-learning components of the Strive Visit Navigator training.  The award also will help create a platform to make the curriculum and associated materials accessible for free to child welfare systems and programs that work with child-welfare involved families. Strive offers skill development, support, and hope that likely will help children and parents have better outcomes in both the short and long run.

Susan is passionate about Strive because it represents a real opportunity not only to change the experiences of individual families involved with the program (which is great!), but also to make meaningful systemic change in the parent-child visitation.

Susan has dedicated her career to developing programs that meet the needs of the most marginalized communities and change how systems work to serve them. Her ultimate vision for Strive is for it to be freely available across the nation for child welfare visitation, and that is adapted and replicated in other states and communities.

Strive is demonstrating effectiveness in meeting its goals to improve parents’ attendance and their engagement in and quality of parent-child visits. Broad sector support and the potential to make substantive change in systemic practice around visitation is a huge victory for humanity. 

As one Parent Ally noted, “this program can be a light in a dark place for families.”

Congratulations again, Susan!!   We are so proud to know you, work with you and witness your victories for humanity! 

Read more about the award and about Strive.