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21st Century Community Learning Centers

Identify Partners

How do you find potential partners?

Identifying partners takes having a clear understanding of surrounding resources and knowing who to ask. In the beginning, cast your net wide — unexpected partners may help you explore new and innovative programming ideas, but over time, begin to narrow down your list to find partners who'd be the best fit.

  • Be creative — partners aren't just people: They're locations, organizations and places.
  • Use connections such as friends, parents and the youth themselves to identify potential partners. For example, does one of the students have a parent who works at an organization you would like to partner with? Have them make an introduction. 
  • Think about partners both in terms of how they can enhance a particular project (e.g., partnering with a bank for a project on personal budgeting) and how they can support the overall program mission (e.g., partnering with an area grocery store to provide healthy, low-cost snacks to youth).
  • Leverage technology. The wide variety of Web-based tools makes it easier than ever to form strong relationships and share information, even across a distance. If you live in a rural or even an urban community, use technology to work with partners from a distance. 
  • Use the Strengthening Partnerships Implementation Planner to identify a wide array of potential partners.
  • Find partners who specialize in supporting young people in difficult situations, such as drug and alcohol abuse. Whether the youth are experiencing addiction issues or are concerned about a family member or friend, you can find advice and assistance through these sources, and encourage youth to do the same. Here are some examples:

    > Connect with a local effort already working toward a safe and healthy, drug-free community through Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America.

    > Take a look at Above the Influence’s Get Help page (Ask the Doc, Help a Friend and When Parents Use).

    > Get steps to take, facts to know and a helpline to call at The Partnership at drugfree.org and Time to Get Help.

    > Find nearby treatment options using the Treatment Finder on the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s website.

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Strengthening Partnerships

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Glossary

Strengthening Partnerships