What does it take to build a great community? While many would certainly have a few suggestions to offer, a group of Valparaiso residents have joined together to create the Agenda for a Better Community (ABC). This agenda is meant as a “Blueprint for Better,” and lists initiatives and decisions that would need to be made to ensure the community is headed in a good direction across the spectrum.
ABC was brought forward by Project Neighbors, a group who has been heavily involved as a force for good in the community for the last 50 years. Project Neighbors believes in taking challenges as opportunities and using them to improve the community. Some of these opportunities have led to the creation of organizations such as Hilltop Neighborhood House, HealthLinc, Dayspring, Neighbors Educational Opportunities, WVLP, and more! These individuals are accustomed to seeing a need and trying to address it, which led them to create the ABC.
Patricia Terrell, Vice President for Health Management Associates, led the group and helped create the initiative.
“How do you get individuals to band together, organize, and change the community for the better?” Terrell asked. “These are real challenges that need real accountability from the voices that lead us.”
The ABC is meant to be a document that spurs dialogue and debate, and stands as a valid way to hold leaders accountable to positive change. The initiative currently has seven elements, each of which houses sub-points to fulfill the overall goal of creating a healthy, thriving, just, and sustainable community.
The seven points include:
1. Assuring a welcoming community for all people
2. Assuring the availability of quality housing for persons at all income levels
3. Assuring a healthy community
4. Assuring a strong and equitable economy
5. Assuring that all residents have access to comprehensive educational opportunities
6. Assuring a sustainable environment
7. Assuring a safe community for all residents
The agenda is meant to open conversation and provide a standard to which community decisions can be held to. It is hoped that these guidelines will provide a basis for deciding the best course for Valparaiso’s future, and for finding the best leaders to bring the community there.
“We wanted to create an agenda that anyone could sign onto that allows Valpo to be thriving, equitable, just, welcoming, and safe,” explained Paul Schreiner, a member of the group.
The Agenda for a Better Community is a starting point to help Valparaiso, its leaders, and its citizens make positive decisions for its future. To read the full agenda and learn more about the organization and the upcoming events they will be hosting to engage the community on these topics, visit abcvalpo.org. Follow them on Facebook here.