Community partnership previews plans

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Friday's Cape Girardeau Chamber of Commerce First Friday Coffee was a long time coming.

The subject of the gathering at the Show Me Center was a preview of the results of a Community Assessment Partnership survey project that began almost two years ago.

"It takes a long time to identify the goals, objectives, time tables and to study how far we've gotten and where we want to be," said Nancy Jernigan, director of the United Way of Southeast Missouri.

Jernigan and Kay Azuma of the Community Caring Council, who coordinated the assessment, presented a preliminary outline of the project's plan of action to the chamber. Their goal was to get local businesses involved in the plan's application.

In 2002 the Community Assessment Partnership, formed through the United Way of Southeast Missouri and the Community Caring Council, sent out 2,889 surveys in Cape Girardeau County and Scott City. The purpose was to gauge what the community thought were the pressing social issues.

Four major problem areas were identified: inadequate public transportation; access to affordable medical care; alcohol and drug abuse; and family issues, including poverty, parenting skills, housing and family violence.

Friday, Jernigan and Azuma outlined some of the short-term, intermediate and long-term outcomes that the groups have targeted for each issue. A majority of the short-term objectives involve raising public awareness to resources that already exist.

"People are going to the ER to get primary care," Jernigan pointed out as an example. "We don't know why, but it may be that don't know that there are clinics here that can give them that care at little to no cost to them."

Jernigan said that more detailed plans of action, including specific outcomes, objectives, strategies and time lines, are still being cultivated. She said the release@Contact note: for the final plan is still 30 to 60 days away.

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