Process helps map way to community well-being
Editor’s Note: MAPP (Mobilizing for Action through Planning & Partnerships) is a local process 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, environmental, mental, physical, and spiritual health.
We have all seen examples of how “many hands make light work.” Examples that come to mind might involve yard work or weeding a garden, building a house, lifting a heavy piece of furniture or moving to a new house.
The same concept can be applied to lifting hefty issues such as increasing economic stability or providing equal access to community services. While the solutions to social issues may not be as straightforward as loading the UHaul for a move, if more of us focused on the same goals with a shared plan for doing so, we would be able to make progress on these hefty goals.
Our community has many businesses, organizations, and services — especially for its size and location. We’ve got lots of energy going in many directions. In order to address the community’s most important needs, MAPP of the Southern Kenai Peninsula strives to support our community in aligning efforts to more effectively improve community health.
MAPP is not another nonprofit organization, a business, or a division of the government. Rather, it is a roadmap or process for working together so we can more effectively address shared goals. This roadmap involves assessing our strengths and needs and working together to identify and address priority areas for improvement. MAPP has one half-time staff member, a volunteer steering committee that reflects our broad definition of health, and relies on the participation and commitments of community members like you to make things happen.
Many opportunities have become available to our community as a result of using the MAPP roadmap. Since 2008, this process has led to more community partnerships that have taken on topics ranging from increasing local community gardens to reducing underage drinking.
Recently, we have become a Green Dot community, increasing our awareness, developing our skills, and taking responsibility for safety in situations before an act of violence might occur. The list of opportunities and successes goes on.
Earlier this year, the community selected family well-being as a top priority area to address. Many things impact family life, ranging from education to cost of living, child care to social connections. MAPP is identifying what most impacts families on the southern Kenai Peninsula.
In order to bring in many hands to support this hefty goal, MAPP will be hosting a Collective Impact workshop on Monday, Sept. 29. This workshop will provide a fantastic opportunity to better understand how collectively we can impact tough social issues and how our community can apply it to specific issues here on the southern Kenai Peninsula.
This workshop will be facilitated by the Tamarack Institute, a well-respected charity that develops and supports communities, helping people collaborate and co-create strategies to address complex community challenges. We are extremely fortunate to locally host the Tamarack Institute for this capacity-building and effort-aligning workshop.
Think your efforts or interests are too unrelated to participate? If your individual or professional interests are related to cultural, economic, environmental, mental, physical and/or spiritual health in this community, then please reconsider. All of these perspectives contribute to our well-being, quality of life, and sense of place — all of which are reasons we might choose to live here.
This Collective Impact workshop is free and open to all interested community members; however, seating is limited and registration is required to participate. For more info, please visit www.mappofskp.net or call 235-0570.
Megan Murphy is the MAPP coordinator. She writes that she “strongly believes in our community’s capacity to envision and create the community in which we want to live.”
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