Hello Insight and Youth INC are pleased to announce our 2018/2019 Superstar Award winners. Through an extensive nomination process developed by the Superstar Foundation, judges reviewed over thirty applications from candidates who are using data to improve outcomes for young people in the United States. Together, we’re excited to provide Superstar Awards to four youth development practitioners for their intentional, data-driven work that is creating real and meaningful impact for young people.

Well-run organizations and effective programs are those that can demonstrate the achievement of results. Results are derived from good management. Good management is based on good decision making. Good decision making depends on good information. Good information requires good data and careful analysis of the data. These are all critical elements of evaluation. - Guidestar, 2005

Now, more than ever, data-driven decision making is considered a critical capacity for organizational effectiveness—one that bolsters a nonprofit’s ability to meet their mission and creates sustained social change. The Superstar Awards was developed by the Superstar Foundation to provide recognition for the very best direct service staff in the field, those distinguishing themselves and their work by using data to constantly adjust their service delivery approach while intentionally striving to build transformational relationships with those being served.

1st Place, Ariela Rosenberg-Brafman

Senior Director, Program Operations, Design and Evaluation, Read Ahead

Ariela is an outstanding leader that has been helping Read Ahead leverage data from Hello Insight and other tools to inform training for mentors and program coordinators. Her nominating team reported that she is “a genuine listener who values feedback from all stakeholders,including students we serve, our front-line staff, our school collaborators, and her colleagues.” She is a “careful thinker who take the time to understand not just our program, but the mentoring field and educational landscape we work in.” Ariela is considered a skilled leader who is able to translate data and feedback into actionable change with her team.

2nd Place (Tie), Marissa Aron

Program Facilitator, Artists Striving to End Poverty (ASTEP)

According to Marissa’s nominators, she is “truly is a Superstar.” This year, she developed a visual activity for young people that helped explain ASTEP’s goal of building social and emotional learning skills and created a training module that helped explain ASTEP’s work “better than we ever have before.” She also built a new evaluation matrix and an entire training manual appendix as well as putting many evaluation support structures into place.

2nd Place (Tie), Zach Gomes

Program Director, America SCORES New York

Zach has surveyed over 500 young people about their growth in social and emotional learning. He has also garnered feedback from coaches, parents, and principals as well as data on attendance, academics, and physical fitness. Zach’s nominating team has been “blown away by his commitment to the process, his enjoyment of seeing the results and desire to enact changes throughout our program in order to make improvements for young people and coaches.” He has “gone above and beyond,” making sure each survey is properly administered and recorded in addition to his other duties as a program director.

3rd Place, Kelly Grosser

Director of Youth Empowerment Programs, YWCA Tri-County Area

Kelly has grown and refined the YWCA’s evaluation initiatives, emphasizing evidence-based evaluation tools that measure social and emotional learning and include suggestions for program improvement. Her nominating teams says, “she leads her team in being more holistic in learning and in valuing the benefits of data collection and analysis.” Kelly’s commitment to evaluation has helped the Youth Empowerment Programs build a foundation for effective growth through informed programs that makes a maximum impact on young people.