Saturday, October 25, 2014

Fall Community Advisory Board Meeting - Part 2

The next portion of our CAB evening was a review of the 2013 Newark Needs Assessment Survey led by CCI Senior Researcher Josy Hahn.   Josy and community surveyors, Cassandra Dock, Johnnie Lattner, and Jacqueline Limehouse provided a brief recap of the assessment data and then led small groups to brainstorm community-led solutions to the top problems. Here are the documented suggestions for two specific issues:

Public Safety (e.g., gang violence, drug selling and drug use):

·         Fostering a culture of accountability, changing the mindset of hopelessness to find solutions, and promoting more conversations and networking to share resources (e.g., block associations, community leaders and advocates, social services).  
·         Focusing on community policing, including building trust between the Newark community and law enforcement, encouraging more cops to walk the beat and promoting events for neighbors and police to get to know one another.
·         Creating more resources and opportunities for youth and gang-involved members, such as mentoring, job and economic development.

Health Issues (e.g., obesity, asthma, trauma and depression):
·         Improving public health education so that community members know about the causes of health issues like asthma (e.g., bus exhaust fumes), prevention and treatment.
·         Addressing obesity by investing in urban farming in Newark’s Adopt-a-lot programs to improve access to fresh foods and to promote key skills and create jobs.
·         Addressing depression and stress by investing in quality resources so that people have a place to go to talk to someone. These include individual counseling and group supports, and programs such as Newark United Against Violence (NUAV).

Last but certainly not least, the Newark United Against Violence team provided an update on the program’s progress over the last year.  Clinical Coordinator Colleen Smith, along with Outreach Workers Ramid Brown, Demetrius Carroll and Cassandra Dock, highlighted clinical programming such as onsite Cognitive Behavioral Therapy groups as well as Clean and Green graduations and various mentoring events.  Staff also provided a few case studies of the initiative’s impact including stories about participants supporting one another in groups and on their transitional employment sites.   As with past Community Advisory Board meetings, we left feeling encouraged and reenergized by the supportive input from our neighbors, community partners and colleagues.

Our Next CAB meeting will be in the spring of 2015 and we hope to see you there!

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