Did you know that three out of every ten kids in our nation’s capitol live in poverty? That’s about 40 percent more than the national average!
Well, visionary HyeSook Chung and her second in command at DC Action for Children, Gwen Rubenstein, know it. They attended our DC DataDive in March 2012 and threw down a challenge: build visualizations of traditional well-being data for kids living in DC that can be used to fight this battle against poverty.
These tools would be a huge step forward for the organization’s KIDS COUNT program. KIDS COUNT and similar programs typically produce static PDFs, which haven’t kept pace with state-of-the-art data crunching technology. DC Action, a small nonprofit, didn’t have the expertise or budget for such a project, but it had the drive and, most importantly, local knowledge on where to find the data.
As luck would have it, we had some amazing geographic information systems (GIS) experts at the DC DataDive. Behind those top-notch skills, the team built an initial prototype using extensive neighborhood clustering. That effort launched months of tireless work by an amazing team of pro bono data crackerjacks—Team Awesome—collecting and visualizing all the key childhood well-being indicators supplied by DC Action. From there, the team created breakout data visualizations for each cross-tab we wanted to analyze. The final 2012 e-Databook debuted to a chorus of oohs and ahhs at the DC Action Annual Luncheon, in front of child advocates, DC Action supporters, and Mayor Vincent C. Gray.
Tools & Skills
This open source technology is there for the taking. It’s bringing change to Washington, DC. Other KIDS COUNT chapters across the country are chomping at the bit to pursue their own e-Databooks!