POLK COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT
July PACE-EH Update
Date: August 23, 2004
Parker, MSP, GAL
Assistant Division Director, Division of Environmental Health
From: Gloria L Graham
Community Assistance Specialist
Subject: Wahneta Community-PACE-EH Update
Polk County Health Department, Environmental Health Division
Wahneta is going through a major state of transition.
Since our first meeting on July 8th, the community has shown an
intense passion to move things in a more positive directions.
My initial impression of the community changed immensely
after our first community meeting. We had 12 community members attend
the first meeting. I gave a preliminary explanation of the PACE-EH
process and why Wahneta had been chosen to complete the neighborhood
assessment. When given the opportunity to explain what issues they
were most concerned about, they focused on the organization of the
present neighborhood association. Officially named the Wahneta Sports
and Neighborhood Association, members felt that not enough time
was spent on addressing neighborhood issues. The residents further
claimed that lack of accountability of the leaders to the community
kept the residents from being informed about current events in the
After doing some research about the community, I found
out that the community was a 501(c)4 neighborhood association. At
the time of inception, the neighborhood association was changed
into the Sports and Neighborhood Association because the same residents
were involved in both aspects of community building. However, over
time it has led to a major focus on the sports program, alienating
residents who were not interested in the childrens sports league.
Furthermore, the present bylaws relinquish all decision making abilities
to the Board of Directors, leaving no room for change except on
the election year which takes place every other year.
Fortunately, this is an election year and the community is attempting
to breath new life into the organization by making a drastic change
to the organization. In summary, the organization will divide into
two separate boards under the 501(c) 4 umbrella. This will the residents
an opportunity participate exclusively on desired goals and residents
that want to participate in both may do so. The bylaws are getting
a major overhaul that will give residents more say in the running
and decision making of the organization. By working on this project
with the community, it gives me a chance to understand some of the
recent history of the community and build a working relationship
between the community and EH.
In order to complete the necessary work by August
28th, election day, Wahneta has been meeting 1-3 times a week to
finish the major work that will ease the transition as much as possible.
This has placed the PACE-EH process in ultra slow motion. However,
regular PACE-EH work will resume by the second week of September.
Regarding the PACE-EH process, we have completed the
The community has defined environmental health
as the state of a person surrounding as they go about day-to-day
living. This includes social, financial, mental, and traditional
environmental entities. They have decided that in order to improve
environmental health, it is necessary to improve all aspects
of a person's quality of life.
The community has started to consider what they
would like to establish as goals. I have assigned several homework
assignments that we will be able to utilize after the election
process is completed. Please see below for an explanation of
the Hunks, Chunks, and Bites model that Im using to identify
Though we have made little progress, I have been
gathering a vast amount of information for the community to use
as they consider goals. As I explained the PACE-EH process in depth,
I informed them about the Wahenta Neighborhood Assessment that was
completed by Post, Buckley, Shuch and Jernigan and requested from
Polk County Neighborhood Services. They have chosen to use that
neighborhood assessment in conjunction with a neighborhood survey.
The Effects of Hurricane Charley:
Community organization work came to a halt because
of Hurricane Charley. Though the community suffered some structural
damages, the majority of the problems arose from the lack of electricity
in an urbanized poor community. Down trees and debris created a
mess for many residents. After spending the whole weekend helping
residents cleanup up debris, I held a meeting with some of the leaders
of the community on Monday, August 16 at Helping Hands Ministries,
who is a member of the PACE-EH process. We briefly discussed the
long term and short term needs in the community regarding disaster
preparation and help.
This really gave several of the PACE-EH group members
an opportunity to work together to get the community organized.
It was very helpful in developing cohesion in community members
that had worked and lived in the same neighborhood for some time
and had never worked together before. Because of the storm, the
residents worked together to get water/ice distributed to their
area, provide an evening meal to residents, and locate homebound
residents who could not get to needed items.
I assume because of the timing of Hurricane Charley,
the residents will incorporate disaster preparation in their upcoming
goals for PACE-EH.
Im encouraged by the energy that the community has
shown in the past month in the half. However, Im monitoring them
closely because it is easy to burnout when running on this level
of energy. After the elections, I will insist on going back to 1
meeting a week at least for the next couple months to preserve the
energy that the community is expending.
We have been very fortunate in getting both the White
and Hispanic community working at the table together. I informed
them right from the very first meeting that if they could not work
together, I would not work in the community. I have been very careful
to place the responsibility of keeping both parties at the table
on the residents' shoulders. Because of the history of not working
together, if I kept the responsibility of involving both groups
to myself, it would be easy and unnatural for both parties to continue
to work with each other after I retreat from the community. I insisted
on discussing the racism issue at the very first meeting. Throughout
the process thus far, as opportunities arise, I have taken the opportunity
to show how subtle behaviors and ideas cause a break down in communication.
For example, the community organization wasnt exactly sure what
kind of activities that the community side of the organization
would do because they have so long focused on the sports leagues,
there was no activity on the other side. I mentioned that many organizations
have speakers come and talk to them about laws, events, and changes
that effect and enhance their community. However, I informed them
that it is their (the community's) responsibility to make sure that
when they do have speakers, the speakers are made aware of and prepared
to communicate with both English and Spanish speaking residents.
Kirst-Ashman, K.; Generalist Practice with Organizations
and Communities, Second Edition
Kretzmann, J. P. & McKnight, J. L.; Building Communities from the
Kanfer, F. H. & Goldstein, A. P.; Helping People Change
Community Tool Box -
National Community Building Network-
- Goals are your hunks.
- These give you a broad vision of what
your outcome is going to look like. For example, a goal may be that
you want the people in your PACE-EH area to be healthier. Goals
are reachable but vague. They are supposed to be that way.
- Objectives are your chunks.
- They are a bit
smaller than goals in that you will begin to lay out a plan on what
issues need to be addressed. Following the previous example about
a healthier community, you may decide your objectives may be to
make sure that
Families are informed about how to make healthy
Public is informed about local health risks and
Health Service are provided to the indigent.
- Finally, come your bites.
- This is where you
lay out step by step exactly how you plan on reaching your objective.
This is where your PACE-EH group will be able to tackle the specific
"soap box" issues that they are concerned about. Take
Objective 1 from your previous example. The steps to keep families
informed about healthy choices may include:
Your bites list can be as long or short as you deem
The city will sponsor a health activities fair
for the next five years
Provide annual grant funding for local community
groups willing to sponsor physical activity days
Partner with schools to remove candy and soda
machines from schools, etc....
Media Coverage (.pdf files)
December 9, 2004 -
DOT Plans Projects To Improve
June 13, 2004 -
Groups Can Make A Big Difference
January 13, 2004 -
OKs Help for Combee Residents
December 2, 2003 -
Deluged With Funding Pleas
October 10, 2003 -
Residents Rank Local Concerns
August 3, 2003 -
Asks for Help to Fix Area's Problems
May 4, 2003 -
of Polk community of Combee looking to clean up
April 21, 2003 -
wins grant for health study
April 17, 2003 -
Set to Improve Lakeland's East Side