At the beginning of 2012, I along with the assistance of community leaders in Galena Park led and organized a city wide Community Survey, Community Mapping Workshop, and a yearlong community monitoring project in Galena Park, Texas. This was the first time Air Alliance Houston (AAH) teamed up with community leaders to conduct projects of this magnitude. Goals set were surpassed as each project was completed. Detailed reports were carefully and strategically comprised of projects results to share with the community. Some reports generated media attention and all projects were shared with other environmental organizations across the country.
This year I will be taking the same community projects to the neighboring city of Pasadena, which sits South of Galena Park. We will concentrate on the Northern side of Pasadena, which is the older and more economically challenged side of Pasadena, and sits the closest to HWY 225 which is known as refinery row.
As a member of the Healthy Living Matters advisory board, I knew this would be the best place to start when reaching out, which is what I did at the January meeting by presenting our proposed work. Healthy Living Matters Pasadena is a private/public collaborative dedicated to increasing active living and healthy eating opportunities that aim to reduce childhood obesity in Pasadena, TX. Their advisory board is comprised of area community leaders who meet monthly to help guide the Healthy Living Matters team through the process of achieving goals set from the beginning of the program.
Late last month, a few members from the Healthy Living Matters advisory board agreed to meet and give their input on the survey. The survey should gain information that other organizations can use to better serve the community, and I wanted to make sure the questions would reflect the true needs of the community. During the meeting we found out that the local community Health and Dental Clinic had recently conducted a survey of their patients and are in the process of completing the report of their results. The group was very engaged and very knowledgeable of their community.
The next steps are to gather the canvassing team and take to the streets with our questions. At the same time, we will be promoting the community mapping workshop, which is used to collaborate with area residents on concerns and solutions for their community. It is also used as an education tool as well as the introduction of the air monitoring project.
This is a bigger area and not as tight-knit as Galena Park, and will bring more challenges. However, I believe we are off to a great start and with more networking, things will fall in line with each project. I cannot wait to see what unfolds in Pasadena as compared to Galena Park.