Scattergood Foundation

Advancing Innovative Strategies for Change in Behavioral Health

Positive Minds

Name of Innovative Program: 
Party With A Purpose
Sponsoring Organization
Positive Minds
Name of Innovative Program Lead: 
Jeannine Cook
E-mail Address of Innovative Program Lead: 
positiveminds04@gmail.com
Project Description: 
Once a month, my two sisters and I host theme-based large group (15-25 people) activities coined the Party With A Purpose (PWAP). Friends, family, and strangers (on average ages 18-45) are invited into our home (or an intimate space) to share a free home-cooked meal and an activity. Participants go through several seemingly spontaneous (yet meticulously planned) experiential exercises that allow them to "see themselves" and find compassion for the decision making processes of others. Each party ends with a circle and open sharing about revelations, aha moments, and implications for the future. Upon completion members of the group coninue as "buddies" and agree to support one another with goal completion until the next "party."
Creativity and Innovation: 
Our Party With A Purpose (PWAP) is a highly organized and meticulously designed example of creativity and innovation. Each month the space is decorated and arranged to reinforce the theme of the event. For example PWAP 3 was called Behind the Mask and it took place on Halloween night. The main rooms of our home were decorated to look like the scene of a crime. Homecooked chili and cornbread was served to guest. The main activites supported participants with getting "behind" the "masks" that they wear to cover fears or guilts. The night was broken into 3 sections, dinner and an opening mixer, an experiential large group activity, and finally a closing circle for reflection. No two parties have the same theme, decoration, activities, or participants, yet they all center on personal growth, commitment, and responsibility.
Leadership: 
My sisters and I are each trained facilitators certified by Trainers for Change and Personal Dynamics. In additon we each hold a degree in corresponding areas of study with extensive background in education, art therapy, life coaching, and restorative circles. Our Party With A Purpose repurposes space to break participants from comfort zones while providing tools designed to support young adults with living responsible and committed lives.
Sustainability: 
Party With A Purpose invites a range of business owners, non-profit leaders, spiritual practioners, students, and educators into the space to consider how a version of PWAP could be used with supporting their work. We provide several examples of how compassionate communication can be used as a technique for building authentic relationships. We have hosted PWAP luncheons for this constinuency and received effective feedback on how the events can be customized.
Replicability: 
Those looking to replicate the PWAP model use what we call a party in a bag. The bag provides a very detailed manual for others that are looking to build these types of relationships within their organizations. We also host "train the trainer" parties, which are another way to support others with using our techniques to facilitate workshops, classes, focus groups, and trainings.  In Philadelphia we have a functioning relationship with YESPhilly (Youth Empowerment Services), District 1199C Training & Upgrading Fund, Philadelphia Public Library, Youth Build USA, Communities In Schools, Philadelphia Freedom Schools, Philadelphia Youth Media Collaborative, Point Breeze Performing Arts Center, Education Works, Belmont Charter School, Slought Foundation, People’s Emergency Center, Philadelphia Art Education Partnership, and the Knight Foundation.
Results/Outcomes: 
The Party With A Purpose party bag includes everything from the activities to the themes, decorations, and structure. We are very passionate about this work and with the proper investment we look forward to multiplying the reach and power that this work has on young adults who are in need of peer to peer supports and space for large group discussion.
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