JoAnn GieselmanDirector for Growing Community Connections
JoAnn Gieselman is not only the host of Community Connections, but is also the director of Growing Community Connections, a 600-member, tristate network that uses collective impact to reach across state lines, break down organizational barriers, and improve the lives of all who call Siouxland ‘home’.
Since joining GCC in 2015, JoAnn has grown the collaborative from a handful of community members wanting to provide more support to the community’s children, youth, and families to over 600 partners that use data, evidence-based models, the expertise of individuals with lived experience, and many other resources to implement and strengthen initiatives that impact the Health, Safety, Education, Economic Stability, and overall Quality of Life in Siouxland.
GCC partners include businesses, nonprofit organizations, schools, churches, cultural leaders, governmental entities, and individuals who are or have lived through the very challenges the collaborative aims to overcome. All of our partners are invested stakeholders in the work of strengthening the people of Siouxland, to help provide thriving communities birth to rocker. This podcast series shares how impactful and essential collaborative efforts are in that effort.
Mental health needs among all age groups, especially youth, are skyrocketing. All too often, the stigma, cost, and accessibility of seeking care keep kids from getting the support they need. However since 2018, Growing Community Connections, the South Sioux City Schools, and Heartland Counseling Services have partnered to overcome these barriers by putting therapists in every elementary, middle, and high school in the district, training every school staff member in mental health first aid, and connecting students and families with community resources that ease stress-inducing burdens.
Data revealed that preschools in Siouxland were doing a good job, yet only 44% of children had the basic skills needed to succeed in Kindergarten. What was the problem? Erica DeLeon shares how a team of 70 Siouxland partners collaborated to find the root cause and implement solutions that would become a nationally-recognized initiative supporting early childhood education.