By: Debbie RolenStaff Writer
June 20, 2013
PRIDE Community Services conducted a community needs assessment in order to determine causes of poverty in Logan County and mobilize resources in a plan to meet community needs. The results of the community needs assessment are now being released.
In November 2012, PRIDE enlisted the assistance of Kingery and Company, LLC, to determine causes of poverty in Logan County and mobilize resources in a plan to meet community needs. The results of the community needs assessment are now being released.
The project included surveying residents, interviewing community stakeholders, conducting secondary data research, facilitating an analysis retreat to prioritize the issues, and providing a summary report with key findings and recommendations.
PRIDE engaged members of the community in the needs assessment process. This took place in the formation of a Needs Assessment Steering Committee comprised of internal PRIDE staff and external community stakeholders. External stakeholders included representatives of Social Service Agencies, Churches, Healthcare and Elected Officials. The Steering Committee served to set direction, assist with the collection of primary data, monitor progress, and analyze results.
“It was really important that we involved a diverse group of community representatives to participate in the needs assessment process. PRIDE Community Services is proud to lead the way in identifying needs and taking action to make life better for the individuals and families in Logan County.” stated PRIDE Executive Director, Reggie Jones.
Since PRIDE is an anti-poverty organization, it was important to use community action poverty indicators as the foundation on which to build the needs assessment. With guidance from the WV Community Action Partnership, the statewide association representing 16 community action agencies, and the Office of Economic Opportunity, the following poverty indicators served as the primary and secondary data collection issue areas: Employment, Education, Housing, Health, Nutrition, Use of Income, Transportation and Emergency Situations. The supplement indicator that was also used was Children’s Needs.
As part of a one-day debriefing retreat with the Needs Assessment Steering Committee, a paired comparison technique was used to analyze the survey results and secondary research to prioritize the issues that are most needed in their communities. Below are the results of the retreat, which includes the top issues identified and a list of action plans that will be used to help meet the needs of those in the community.
LOGAN COUNTY ACTION PLAN
Issue #1: EDUCATION
• Educate families about the available resources to achieve an education.
• Provide workshops on spendable income: minimum wage income vs. college income.
• Donate used computers to qualifying families.
Issue #2: EMPLOYMENT
• Provide in-school financial training for youth and teens on the “real world” (ability to pay for necessities and how to live).
• Educate parents on the need to support children in attempts to better themselves (Many children are told, it was good enough for me, so it will be good enough for you; some believe only “rich” kids can attend college and get degrees)
• Promote Individual Development Accounts and develop partnerships with organizations such as Small Business Association in providing training on entrepreneurialship and small business development.
Issue #3: HEALTH
• Develop and promote educational opportunities that promote healthy choices such as healthy cooking classes and Shop Smart Programs.
• Educate individuals/families on preventative health measures (many only see the doctor once something is wrong, usually requiring extensive treatment at that point).
• Develop and/or support the availability of clinics in more rural areas with non-traditional hours.
Issue #4: CHILDREN’S NEEDS
• Provide/facilitate parenting classes.
• Provide educational opportunities which will enhance family values and income.
• Educate families about the purpose and benefits of Head Start.
The final report was shared with the Needs Assessment Steering Committee in advance of the public release. Steering Committee members were asked to share the report with their own organizations and other groups in an effort to mobilize community resources to address needs beyond that of PRIDE. For a copy of the full Community Needs Assessment report, contact Reggie Jones, PRIDE Community Services Executive Director at (304) 752-6868.
PRIDE Community Services is one of 16 Community Action Agencies located in West Virginia. PRIDE is a private, non-profit corporation that provides a wide variety of services to low-income individuals and families. PRIDE’s mission is to make a positive impact on the lives of those in need by bringing together educational, financial and human resources that support self-sufficiency.