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  • Bruce Baker

The Evolution of CHEER: Where we’ve been and where we’re going

CHEER has evolved from an idea for sharing information about the community to becoming a network of support for the hopes and dreams of a richly diverse community for Takoma Park and Long Branch. Our new brochure (English, Spanish) timeline documents this. Our journey began with an effort to develop indicators of housing in Takoma Park in 2008 and evolved into a community strategic plan for fulfilling community goals related housing, health, local economy, and youth development. These goals empower the whole community to define its own destiny and aspire to give every individual an equal opportunity to live a healthy and richly fulfilling life.

The lens that enables us to see the path forward focuses on the health and well-being of all in the community. Community members have defined a community wide vision and CHEER gives people the knowledge and ability to fulfill it. We make progress along this path as we undertake projects and activities that teach and guide our children, extend our networks of mutual care and support, engage in healthy behaviors and create an environment that supports health, and make housing and economic opportunity available to everyone in our community.

CHEER has entered into partnerships with institutions that can bring resources in to this community to support this work. One of these is Healthy Long Branch, a local health alliance that seeks to create the social, economic, and environmental conditions that lead to good health. Another is the Takoma Park Youth Development Collaborative that seeks to provide every young person with the support and opportunities they need to make successful transitions to adulthood.

There are many projects and activities in our community that fulfill these goals. Many are informal and home grown and some can be found in our local schools, places of faith, and in the public sphere of civic life. Please give whatever time and effort you can to these efforts. The relationships you build and experiences you have in these effort will be among the most rewarding experiences you can have.

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