United Way, Community Caring Council collaborate

Thursday, April 7, 2005

Last week at the United Way of Southeast Missouri's annual meeting and awards ceremony, the Community Caring Council received a special recognition award for our shared vision and commitment to the Cape Girardeau community.

The council genuinely appreciates this recognition, as it serves to underscore what has been an evolving, productive relationship with the United Way.

As we jointly moved the community through an assessment process over the last two years, our organizations have both been strengthened by that relationship. Not only were we able to involve more people in the process, but we also were able to develop and deliver a comprehensive community action plan that addresses major needs in our community.

The community plan allows for input and opinions from any level or sector in the community. In fact, it encourages interaction through the committee structure being developed to implement the plan.

We will together be facilitating several processes based on the short-term goals, objectives, strategies and time frames that are all included in the plan document.

The major areas of need identified through the assessment process: transportation, access to medical care (primary, mental and dental health), substance abuse (adult and youth) and family issues. These issues are the focus for four priority issue councils designed to oversee implementation of each part of the plan using subcommittees where appropriate.

We are jointly optimistic that there will be major strides made during the next few years to improve access to services and to remove some of the barriers existing around these four major issues. We are also optimistic that our issue councils will add numbers to their rolls as word begins to spread about the good things being done.

Our role as a community partnership is that of developing collaborative efforts to address major issues. That has made our mission and the mission of the United Way of Southeast Missouri a strong influence in this community, improving family life and empowering the community.

We will continue to move Cape Girardeau forward in looking at new ways to address identified issues and new ways to benefit from the resources of our community and its heritage.

Just as the United Way of Southeast Missouri impacts the community by funding agencies that address specific problems and populations, so do our joint efforts impact the larger community and its future.

Our continued collaboration to improve and strengthen our community and our ongoing commitment to keep the assessment data current will ensure that the community's most important resource, its residents, have a voice in identifying future needs and solutions in the Cape Girardeau area.

Please get involved.

Tom Davisson is the executive director of the Cape Girardeau Community Caring Council.

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