After years of working with Healthy Communities, SHIP (State Health Improvement Plan through the PA Dept. of Health, and the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), my first thought with addressing the concerns in our area was to see what is already in place and not reinvent the wheel. I wondered if there was a local Healthy Community group and a SHIP locally.
Healthy Community embraces the broad based concept of health, In addition to access to health care and our traditional perceptions, it includes safe streets, clean air and water, education, skill building to ensure marketable skills, youth mentors, volunteering, transportation. Dr. Peter Benson's 40 Assets for Youth and Colin Powell's America's Promise exemplify these concepts.
All are asset based. Instead of focusing on the results we don't want which is so typical and defeatist (crime, drug use, disease), these visionaries determined asset based results and moved in a positive direction with remarkable outcomes.
Fortunately, there is a SHIP in Maryland, called the State Health Improvement Process. The Maryland SHIP has a wealth of information including statistics, newsletters, events and webinars. There are promising and model practices from Healthy Community sites all over the country such as Establishing a More Livable Community through Community Collaboration.
Sadly, there have been some changes since I was director of local SHIP. Words that enhanced and drove our work, "science based" and "evidence based", have now been banned by the current administration.
Words have been banned. Let that sink in.
Our local United Way was superlative, and the hub of resources and funding locally. I chaired the youth component. We organized and delivered training throughout the community including youth groups, church groups and school programs using the 40 Assets for Youth. If youth organizations couldn't demonstrate results through evidence, they weren't funded. I wonder how the CDC and SHIPS are monitoring results with these bizarre restrictions.
It's been years since I was involved. My job as director, in addition to being president of our local America's Promise, and co-chair of the Gandhi-King Peace Coalition were all consuming. When I came to Maryland, my daughter got me this business card holder.
"My mission is
to help others see and cherish the beauty,
romance and treasures within and around them
that are often dismissed or completely overlooked."
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