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Vernita Boone

Vernita BooneIn my new position at the United Way of Greenville, I work with an initiative called BOOST which stands for Building Opportunities in Out of School Time. I am the Director of Quality for BOOST whose mission is to increase quality and access to out of school time programs.  The thrust of this initiative came from United Way's community goal of increasing the percentage of high school graduates who are prepared for post-high school success.  Research shows the impact high quality out of school time programs can have on students in the areas of grades, attendance and behavior--three major indicators of success after graduation.

I am seeing what the MPA program has taught me in action here at the United Way.  This organization's approach to community issues is very much research-focused which the MPA program at Clemson supports.  The benefits of researching before acting makes for much better implementation and outcomes in this field.  Almost everything we do has research to back it up.

There is also an advocacy component to this work which coincides with the MPA program.  In South Carolina, out of school time programs open less than 4 hours per day are exempt from state standards for child care facilities.  BOOST is pushing for a change in this law as well as an adaptation of state standards for after school programs.  BOOST utilizes a 10 Element tool called AQuA to guide programs currently participating in its Continuous Program Quality Initiative, which is a voluntary quality improvement program for Greenville area OST providers.

As we continue to move this initiative forward, we will also need to continue evaluating our process.  Overall, the MPA has equipped me to be a better public servant.  My career in the non-profit sector will not just be characterized by me doing good for the sake of doing good, but doing good in the best way, for the most people, within a thrifty budget.