A well-known African proverb reminds us that it takes a village to raise a child. This idea is at the heart of community systems building. Throughout every community, there are people and institutions interested in making life better for children and youth. Community systems building brings all of these community members together to provide a space for partnership, planning, and implementation. The goal is to maximize the impact and effectiveness of every summer learning effort.
Community system building activates the cumulative power of a wide range of groups, individuals, and institutions—including libraries and museums, social and religious groups, state and local government, and local neighborhood organizations—to create new opportunities for summer learning. NSLA promotes a three-step approach to community systems building: