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  • Vanesa Pinto

CHEER’s “Coffee Conversations” program for resident civic engagement discussions

CHEER’s dedication to community and civic engagement spurred an area program, “Coffee Conversations,” that brings together local residents and organizations to discuss and analyze issues and needs for the community.

Supporting the idea of collaborative work between organizations, CHEER established a strong relationship with Linkages to Learning (YMCA – Youth & Family Service Program) that works inside Title I Public Schools in Silver Spring. Once a month we facilitate a discussion session with parents or community members around a topic of concern according the Community Needs Assessment conducted in each site. Rolling Terrace ES, Montgomery Knolls ES and New Hampshire Estates ES are the three elementary schools we have been working with since last year. During 2016 we plan to work also with JoAnn Leleck ES (former Broad Acres ES), Centro NIA (Early Head Start Program), and Carroll Ave Community Center (run by YFS-YMCA).

In 2015, CHEER conducted 19 presentations and training workshops and the total participation was about 292 people surrounding civic action, health care coverage, community participation, and many other community related topics.

By providing information about the enrollment to Affordable Care Act health coverage CHEER continued working on community based integration and improving the linkage between community building and improving health conditions for residents in the past year. For low income uninsured people who don’t qualify for ACA, we inform and identify access primary care through Montgomery County safety-net clinics. We also continued with our effort to improve health conditions at home through improved housing by facilitating information, and getting training on housing and how to utilize county services. Moreover, we continue promoting awareness of rights and responsibilities as tenants discussing and studying the material available.

We will continue raising the discussion around the importance of civic engagement/action, its impact on new generations and the current multicultural population, and find more opportunities to learn and share important topics.

Where would you like to see the next Coffee Conversation to take place?

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