Community Engagement

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Community Engagement Essay
By: Chris Colón

October 25, 2010

One of the reasons I enjoy working for the Community of Northeast Ohio is because I believe I can have a powerful effect on people’s lives. America is currently facing hardship times and we should all, for the most part, enter into collaborate agreements to support community engagement. I believe we should identify the relevant issues and make decisions about how to address them, evaluate and share the results with the community. As the current Executive Director of the Christian Family Center, we are faced with the increasingly difficult challenge of stabilizing our communities and neighborhoods in the face of the devastating impact of economic disruptions and dislocation, foreclosure, joblessness, and diminishing traditional resources. My passion to work, not just with the Hispanic Community, but with all the communities of Northeast Ohio, is what drives me to succeed and make a significant impact on those with great need. The statistics indicate that unemployment, foreclosure, high costs of Health Care and poverty levels are constantly rising across all of Northeast Ohio. According to a recent article published in The Plain Dealer on September 29, 2010, one out of every three people lived in poverty at the end of 2009, making Cleveland the second-poorest big city in America, according to estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau. Many people, in my opinion, are feeling the pangs of hunger and fear for the first time in our communities. Between 2007 and 2009, poverty increased in Cuyahoga, Summit and Lake Counties, rose sharply in Lorain and Portage counties, and nearly doubled in Geauga County, where poverty ensnared 9 percent of the community, according to a Plain Dealer analysis of census data. And more than half of Cleveland's children -- 51.3 percent -- are growing up poor, according to the Census Bureau. Escalating medical costs are threatening the nation’s...
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