Community Assessment and Plan

Community Assessment & Plan

This assignment will allow you to practice several skills related to community assessment and the planning stages of community organizing. The emphasis for this assignment is on tapping into a communitys strengths to create positive change. You will need to select a community for this assignment. For practical reasons, the community needs to be a city or county with at least 100,000 residents. You will also need to select a health-related issue for your community; the choices are unemployment, STDs, obesity, or personal crime/abuse (related to harming a person, not stealing or harming property). There are five steps in this process, so the assignment will be divided into five sub-parts, but the community you select and the related goals and themes will stay the same throughout the project. In other words, each step will build on the previous step.
You do not need to go ahead for these project, I will teach you how to do each step in class and then you will be given an opporunity to submit drafts of each step early in the semester for feedback, before the total project is due toward the end of the semester

Step 1Asset Mapping: As discussed in class, the idea of asset mapping is looking for resources already existing in the community that can help address a challenge. For example, if my issue were physical activity, then I would want to know how many parks, swimming pools, bike trails, gyms, etc. are in the community and where they are located. For this step, you will create a Google account and then use the My Maps tool. This will allow you to search for resources (assets) in the community and mark them on the map (it also provides symbols and colors for different categories of resources). This will require some out-of-the-box thinking to make sure you identify all the assets; go beyond the obvious ones. You will need to save and submit this as a color pdf. You can give me you map in two ways: you and make pdf files of the map and the data tables and attached them to Blackboard or you can simply share you map and attach a link back to it in Blackboard. Either way, remember to tell me which community you have chosen, which health issue you are focusing on, and briefly, why you selected each category of assets (how it they would relate to your health issue) (10 pts)

Step 2Coalition Building: When addressing a community challenge, you dont want to go it alone for several reasons: you may be duplicating effort, you need the help, other people may have good ideas, and if you get other stakeholders involved the program will get more support and last longer. As discussed in class, coalition building and community organizing are involved processes. We dont have the time to experience all these processes in class, but you can try a couple early phases. For this step, you will do a couple early phases of the coalition building process: recruiting the right people and devising preliminary objectives. Based on what you learned from your asset map, you will a) make a LIST of people you would like to invite to an initial planning meeting (name, title, organization); b) write a professional LETTER inviting potential attendees (why should they want to come?); and c) come up with a draft AGENDA for the meeting (objective and issues to be discussed; review our discussion of what should happen in the first two meetings). (10 pts)

Step 3Policy work: There are many potential actions a coalition could take to address a challenge; one is to try to influence laws and policies. For this step, you will write a short proposal for a new policy or law. The proposal could be addressed to any level of government or organization that you believe would have the most influence (e.g., city council ordinance, school policy, etc.). You will a) write up the language of the law or policy and b) include a short rationale (reasons and support why they should adopt this new policy/law). (10 pts)
Step 4Media work: Another potential action a coalition could take is to work with media to get their message heard in the community. There are several avenues for this type of advocacy. For this step, you will write a news piece that could be printed in a newspaper or read during the television or radio news. This is not a public service announcement; it is to be in the form of a news story. Follow the guidelines discussed in class and in the text; make it current, emotional, of special interest and newsworthy. This will hone your writing skills. (10 pts)

Planning for the Evaluation
Step 5Logic Modeling: As discussed in class, there are multiple ways to measure the success of your community organizing efforts and specific initiatives. We dont have time to try all of them, but for this step you will get experience with one framework. Logic Models are graphical depictions of the logical relationships between the assets, actions, and short- and long-term outcomes. Though Logic Models are typically used in the evaluation stage of a program, they can also be designed during the planning stage. Some Logic Models can be quite involved. You will use a fairly simple framework for this step with only five columns (see below). There are also many examples online. Use color to enhance readability. (10 pts)

What people, organizations, agencies, and resources do we have in the community to help address this challenge?
What specific actions will the coalition take to address this challenge?
Who will be responsible for and/or involved in these specific actions?
What impacts from these actions will we immediately notice in the community?
What will be the long-term effects on health and quality of life in the community?

You will be given the opportunity to submit ungraded drafts of early steps of this project if you would like to receive early feedback before the final project is do. If you do not submit a draft by the draft deadline, I will not feel obligated to give you feedback.