2011 was a fabulous year for CHEER and 2012 will be even better. Below are the Details of our recent accomplishments, plans, and volunteer needs.
The Takoma Park Income Gap: In the beginning of November CHEER reported that Takoma Park had experienced a 15% decline in the number of middle income households, while the number of high income households had increased by 50%. The number of low income households remained steady. The Takoma Voice also reported on our findings.
Idea Jam: CHEER held its first Idea Jam on November 17, 2011 discussing the income gap in Takoma Park. Twenty-one people attended A community member reframed the discussion to “How do we sustain our diverse community?” Participants offered observations and suggested multiple strategies.
Takoma Park Election Day Survey: We asked what changes voters wanted to see. The theme most often mentioned was for more community engagement followed closely by local business, crime, and traffic and pedestrian issues.
“Unnatural Causes”: In the last two months we conducted two showings of different episodes of “Unnatural Causes.” In the last year we conducted 10 showings to 130 people. The screenings and accompanying discussions have helped CHEER build relationships and gather valuable information about community health and well being among Takoma Park and Long Branch residents.
Health Assessment: In addition to the discussions after showing “Unnatural Causes” CHEER conducted a targeted focus group discussion with mothers at Rolling Terrace Elementary School. CHEER has also tested many of its research tools and is preparing to employ them to gather information about health and the social determinants of health in the Takoma Park and Long Branch communities.
Long Branch Sector Plan: CHEER has been working with a group of Long Branch community stakeholders to provide input to the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission as they develop the Long Branch Sector Plan.
CHEER continues to work with New Avenues to develop research plans to address local economic conditions for Takoma Park, Long Branch, and Langley Park.
Martin Luther King Day Celebration: CHEER is supporting an enterprising group of community stakeholders to conduct a community potluck and celebration of Takoma Park’s multi-cultural diversity. The event is currently planned for the early evening of Monday January 16, 2012 at Piney Branch Elementary from 5:30 pm to 8 pm.
“Unnatural Causes”: Thanks to a generous contribution from the Consumer Health Foundation CHEER will continue showings and discussions of “Unnatural Causes.”
Community Health Assessment: Our continuation of this work will include focus groups, interviews and other forms of data gathering and analysis. We will also be making use of existing data sources and looking for best practices.
Housing and Local Economic Research: We will continue the research process, look at the income gap, and identify ways to build a vibrant thriving community.
Children Youth and Families: CHEER in collaboration with many community partners is planning a community-wide visioning, goal setting, and indicators selection process.
CHEER action team: CHEER now has an action team that implements actions that have been identified as community priorities. The team plans and conducts events, engages in service, and participates in civic affairs in ways that are tied directly to community priorities.
To make 2012 the best year yet, we need your support and help. CHEER is in particular need of volunteers to help with any of the projects identified above. We also need volunteers with the following skills:
Fund raising and grant writing
Volunteer development and coordination
Bookkeeping and accounting (experience with, or desire to learn Quickbooks needed).
Database management and maintenance (experience with, or desire to learn CiviCRM needed)
We have had a great year and we look forward to a fantastic 2012. With your participation we can make this community the best it can be!