The Data


One of the unique contributions of YouthShift has been its efforts to collect comprehensive data on programs, services, networks and coalitions focused on children and youth. Guided by a belief that our community needs a shared understanding of where we are, YouthShift committed early on to including diverse representation in its data gathering and sharing information with those who provide this data. We have been extensive in our survey distribution and conducted focus groups with parents, youth and staff of youth-serving organizations in an effort to hear from all perspectives. The following sections summarize the results of these data gathering efforts.

New Orleans Youth Index

The Data Center has developed the New Orleans Youth Index 2015, a statistical snapshot of the well-being of New Orleans children and youth that provides baseline data. Future reports will indicate if and where YouthShift’s collective efforts have been effective for New Orleans children and youth.

The Index is divided into the six YouthShift priority areas: Health and Wellbeing, Economic Stability, Learning, Space and Place, Safety and Justice, and Youth Voice. In selecting the indicators for the New Orleans Youth Index, The Data Center considered four major guidelines:

  1. Indicators about how youth are doing, or youth well-being
  2. Indicators that capture well-being across the age ranges from childhood to early adulthood
  3. Indicators suggested by the Forum for Youth Investment’s Ready by 21 dashboards
  4. Indicators seen in other community youth well-being reports

The complete Youth Index report is available online at The Data Center’s website. Data snapshots are included here:

Solutions Mapping Project

In an effort to better understand the different programs and interventions that are currently offered across New Orleans, the YouthShift Steering Committee designed and surveyed organizations on what “solutions” or activities they were currently conducting that aligned with a YouthShift priority area. A “solution” is defined as “any program, activity or initiative” operated by an organization. A single organization might offer multiple “solutions” (e.g. YMCA offering sports and leadership programming).

The survey aimed to gather information on the priority focus or local condition the solution addresses, the strategy it employs, the age group and/or sub-population(s) it serves, and where it was located. In addition, the survey also queried whether the intervention has measurable outcomes, how many youth a year it serves, whether it engages partners to serve youth, and if it is operating at capacity.

The survey was distributed online to hundreds of youth-serving organizations. As of August 2015, 188 responses were received.


The Forum for Youth Investment developed a Leadership Capacity Audit that is based on their Change Horsepower Diagnostic tool. The audit includes two parts: a series of interviews with community leaders and an online survey that is widely distributed to youth-serving organizations. The Change Horsepower Diagnostic tool asks about the importance and effective execution of several standards regarding Broader Partnerships, Bigger Goals, Better Data and Information and Bolder Strategies.

For the New Orleans audit, an online survey about the four areas was distributed to over 600 individuals who participate in nearly 50 different collaboratives. The survey was open from July 20 to July 31, 2015. 242 people responded with 157 completing the entire survey. Also, 14 key leaders representing a range of public and private organizations from a cross sector of systems that support youth were identified and interviewed between July 1 and August 10, 2015. Prior to each interview, they were asked to complete a worksheet which asked about their perceptions of the importance of the four key areas, how well the areas were being executed in the initiatives in which they were currently involved, and how well the areas were being executed across the Parish.

NOLA Change Horsepower


As a part of its community change planning process, The Forum for Youth Investment (the Forum) has developed a methodology for identifying the existing coalitions, task forces or partnerships that have built momentum on a specific youth-related issue. The Forum refers to these as “moving trains” – because it’s helpful to align with a train, or initiative, that’s already left the station and is picking up speed. The survey assesses the focus and scope of these initiatives and provides data to inform how existing and future work can align with these initiatives.

The Moving Trains survey first asked YouthShift Steering Committee members and other youth leaders in the city to identify “moving trains.” These queries generated a list of 42 different initiatives, ranging from Mayoral initiatives like NOLA for Life to those with national ties like United Way’s Success by 6. The survey was then emailed to a point of contact for each initiative.   

The Forum received 24 responses. The charts below provide a summary of the survey results.