ENP Blog

Healthy Neighborhoods are a Community

Healthy neighborhoods foster and create a sense of community. These neighborhoods utilize the skills and assets of those that are a part of them. Our goal at ENP is to be a part of creating and supporting healthier neighborhoods.
Unfortunately, many neighborhoods in our city are not healthy. People and institutions are disconnected and distrustful of each other. Relationships become transactional instead of transformational.
As we seek to serve others in the city and be a part of neighborhood transformation, we realize that we need to build a new form of community. Communities that can combat the complex problems that affect our neighborhoods.

This idea is most easily understood through an example:

Say your church begins serving in a neighborhood and you realize that access to food there is an issue. So you start a food pantry. The church is very excited about this, and many members drop off food to pass out. Several members even volunteer to lead the pantry. But, since you are holistically minded, as you begin the project you open your eyes, start asking questions, and thru listening to others, you realize that…

  1. The neighborhood is not very walkable. Busy streets, a lack of crosswalks, and some crumbling sideways cause people not to go outside of their houses and apartments much. You are going to need to figure out who from the government can help fix the city infrastructure, and how more crosswalks and lights can be added. Does your church know anyone in Government? Can you reach out to your local council member and start a conversation?
  2. There is a lack of grocery stores in the area which sell healthy food and vegetables. There are also no community gardens. The community has gotten used to eating without fruits and vegetables. Therefore, even if there was access to healthy foods, the neighborhood residents would not buy them. Part of this stems from what is advertised to their kids at the stores and in the media. Who can help in your conversation with the store owners, the non-profit that does community gardens, and media companies who take part in advertising?
  3. Other churches in the neighborhood seem to be concerned only with spiritual hunger and “feeding souls”. They do not see physical hunger as an issue. In learning from the people you are serving, you keep hearing that the food you are passing out is not culturally appropriate and would not be eaten at residents’ homes. It is now time to engage the other churches to partner together, and shift your ministry methods.
  4. Generational diabetes, lack of exercise, and health issues have become accepted as a new norm. Finding ways to work with families to create new, healthy habits, such as walking, might be a way to create a family culture of health. 
This example depicted a made up neighborhood, but it is not too far from the truth in many Fresno neighborhoods.
To address health in a neighborhood, understand that the neighborhood is a web; everything is connected and the problems, unfortunately, are more complicated than we would like to admit. That is why we need everyone from the community to come together to serve our neighborhoods! We need the people in the church from different spheres of influence to work together to solve problems. We need people of various giftings and capacities to help address complex problems.
Come to the upcoming Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) Training to learn how you can create groups that work together to solve complex problems together. When you listen to others and work together, powerful things can be done in a neighborhood.

Register Today!

 


Photo Credit:Raúl Nájera

andrewfeil

andrewfeil

Andrew Feil is a father of three boys and is married to Denise Feil. They love and live in Fresno. Andrew is the current Associate Director at Every Neighborhood Partnership which seeks to connect churches to serve at elementary schools in one of California’s most challenged districts. Andrew is a former Missions Pastor at The Well Community Church. Andrew has his Bachelors from Fresno Pacific University and a Masters from Bakke Graduate University in Social and Civic Entrepreneurship. With whatever free time he has, Andrew loves to be active, garden, read and support the best team in baseball: the Dodgers.

andrewfeilHealthy Neighborhoods are a Community

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *