Editor’s Note: MAPP (Mobilizing for Action through Planning & Partnerships) is a local coalition that aims to use and build upon our strengths to improve our individual, family, and community health. Health is defined broadly to include cultural, economic, educational, environmental, mental, physical and spiritual health.
Take a look around our community and you will see inspiring individual and collaborative efforts abound, supporting our well-being and reinforcing the quality of life that keeps us here. Many of these efforts exist because individuals are inspired to address something that needs changing and they find others that want to join them in that mission. It’s the power of connection.
Our community has multiple collaborative efforts underway that are collectively contributing to the priority community goal of increasing family well-being. In the language of “collective impact,” these are “differentiated, yet mutually reinforcing activities.”
Examples of community health improvement coalitions, all at various stages, include:
Care Transitions: reducing readmissions into care facilities;
Crosswalk/Homer Pedestrian and Bike Alliance: transforming Homer into a safe and healthy, family-friendly, walkable, runnable, bikeable community where people like to live and visit;
Homer Arts and Culture Alliance: enhancing the sustainability and relevancy of the arts and humanities in Homer through advocacy and collaboration among arts and culture organizations;
Homer Early Childhood (Coalition): ensuring all Alaskan children begin school ready to succeed
Homer Prevention Project: reducing underage drinking and adult heavy and binge drinking in the Homer and Anchor Point area, in addition to reducing the Adverse Childhood Experiences that result from adult heavy and binge drinking;
Kachemak Bay Environmental Education Alliance: educating and inspiring individuals and the Kachemak Bay community to actively participate in environmental stewardship as integral elements of a healthy sustainable ecosystem;
Park Arts Recreation and Culture: determining the resources and prioritizing the needs for our community concerning parks, arts, recreation and culture facilities and programs with a 10- to 15-year outlook;
ReCreate REC: working toward solving the recreational needs of the Southern Kenai Peninsula;
Transformations: cultivating healthy relationships and resilient families, free of intimate partner violence, sexual violence, and substance abuse; and
Woodard Creek (Coalition): promoting the health and safety of the Woodard Creek Watershed as a community asset. (See related story, page 2.)
Wow. This list — which is not comprehensive — is an impressive reflection of our community’s willingness to work together toward common goals that raise the bar for our well-being. It also reinforces that we don’t all need to do it all. Divide and conquer! To borrow an excerpt from the Green Dot tagline, “No one needs to do everything, but everyone has to do something.”
Aligned efforts working toward a shared goal are more effective in addressing complex, social issues than isolated efforts working independently toward the same issue. MAPP provides an overarching umbrella or “backbone” for all community health improvement efforts to coexist.
Additionally, MAPP strives to connect the dots between these efforts, fostering synergy and alignment within the present overarching family well-being goal.
In order to facilitate dot-connecting, MAPP will be hosting a community gathering on Friday, March 27, from 8:30 a.m to noon at the Kachemak Bay Campus Pioneer Hall. This gathering is open to the public and provides a fantastic opportunity to hear about and share community health improvement efforts underway. It also provides facilitated work time for coalitions/groups to further their own specific collective impact goals and strategies. RSVPs are appreciated.
Are there coalition topics above that inspire you to get involved? If not, ask yourself what inspiration you need to participate in and/or initiate addressing a community need. You, too, (and a small group of people) can create a movement!
Megan Murphy is the MAPP coordinator and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 235-0570.