Poster for 100% Alaska Town Hall & Family Day (Photo courtesy Change 4 the Kenai)

Poster for 100% Alaska Town Hall & Family Day (Photo courtesy Change 4 the Kenai)

100% Alaska Town Hall to share assessment results, discuss state of ‘vital services’

The project is composed of four steps: assess, plan, act and evaluate

Change 4 the Kenai will next week hold a town hall to share the results of their 100% Alaska community assessment and to host a conversation about access to vital services in the local community. The town hall will run from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Peninsula Center Mall.

Coalition Director Shari Conner said the project, called 100% Alaska, is inspired by similar work done in various communities in New Mexico — detailed in a book titled “100% Community: Ensuring 10 Vital Services for Surviving and Thriving” by Dr. Katherine Ortega Courtney and Dominic Cappello.

The 10 vital services identified in that text and now targeted by the coalition are: medical and dental care; behavioral health care; housing security programs; food security programs; transportation to vital services; parent supports; early childhood education; community schools; youth mentor programs; and job training.

The 100% Alaska survey was launched in December and was available until the end of January. A press release from Change 4 the Kenai said they got more than 800 responses.

“We’re going to go over the data, what we got back,” Conner said. “See where we’re at, where we’d like to be, and then give it to the community members … see what they have to say and what their ideas are.”

“100% Community” author Dr. Katherine Courtney will attend the meeting to speak about how smaller communities who are lacking in those 10 services “grew their own grassroots efforts,” Conner said.

Conner said the town hall is an opportunity to connect members of the community, and to see who isn’t at the table — who they still need to be reaching out to.

To make the town hall more accessible to “everyone,” Conner said that child care will be provided. Ahead of the town hall, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., an obstacle course for kids will be run by River City Cheer, then from 3-5 p.m. children can watch “Inside Out” and stay in Little Puffins Discovery Playland, which Change 4 the Kenai has rented out for the event.

“We all have to be involved in order for us to really thrive and survive,” Conner said.

The 100% Alaska project is composed of four steps: assess, plan, act and evaluate. Conner said that with the town hall they’re moving into the second stage, where they will discuss the findings of the assessment and ultimately create 10 work groups, one for each of the 10 vital services.

At the town hall, they’ll look to begin identifying people interested in each group. She said that can look like a lot of different things based on the time and bandwidth that different people have. She said maybe some people have the time to attend regular meetings, while others only have the time to help compile a spreadsheet or bring bottles of water.

“The data will be impressive; it will show where we’re lacking,” Conner said.

For more information about Change 4 the Kenai, visit their Facebook page or visit their website at connectkenai.org.

Reach reporter Jake Dye at jacob.dye@peninsulaclarion.com.

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