A Infancy to Innovation Guide is a person available to help you and/or your agency or department navigate an unfamiliar system. For example, you can contact a guide to obtain suggestions, advice, or recommendations regarding who you should contact in order to establish a partnership related to the Infancy to Innovation framework. This relationship could be as straightforward as a faculty member seeking out a community group to partner during the grant writing process or a community member trying to find expert advice on a policy issue. Infancy to Innovation guides can be found in the university as well as in the community; they can be thought of as aids, brokers, or "critical bridge" people.

Although the Infancy to Innovation framework aims to create systemic change to support healthy child and youth development at the organizational, system, and community level, we appreciate that the underpinnings of such changes are often face-to-face, individual relationships and efforts.

Susan Ostrander, in her article on university-community partnerships, Democracy, Civic Society, and the University: A Comparative Study of Civic Engagement on Five Campuses (2004), recommends that collaboration involve both freestanding associations joining community and university, with university staff and community members who serve as "critical bridge persons." The Infancy to Innovation framework takes Ostrander's proposal a step further in the creation of a website that aids in the development of an organizational structure to support sustainable engagement and enact the necessary changes at the system level.

The website emphasizes the need to institutionalize university-community partnerships as well as maintain connections among universities and communities on multiple levels. Infancy to Innovation guides offer a means to overcome many of the common challenges to university and community partnerships.

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