About 15 community members participated Wednesday in the first of five community conversations being held by United Way of Greater Baytown Area and Chambers County in preparation for developing its new strategic plan.
Jamie Eustace, Sterling Municipal Library director and United Way board member, led the conversation.
After introductions asking each person what their role in the community is, how long they have been in the community and what they like best about the community, each person met with one or two other people to consider six questions.
Two were past-oriented: Which community needs have been met in the past decade, what areas have we seen real progress, and what events/happenings have impeded progress.
Two questions were present-oriented: What programs/initiatives are currently having an impact, what human service needs are not being met and where are there gaps in effectiveness?
The final two questions were future-oriented: What forces are holding us back, and what strengths and/or advantages can we leverage going forward.
Several items overlapped about needs that have been met and successful
initiatives. Some of the frequent responses were bus service, sidewalks, business development and educational resources.
As far as impeding progress, natural disasters and flooding were mentioned frequently. Others were police interaction, limited neighborhood interaction and traffic.
The most frequently mentioned unmet need was activities for youth and young adults. Others were quality childcare, quality affordable housing and mental health services.
Two forces holding the community back that were mentioned often were lack of communication between organizations and lack of funding.
Strengths that can be harnessed moving forward included economic growth, strong leadership and volunteerism and educational resources.
Four more of the community conversations are scheduled: 7:30 a.m. Jan. 22 at Sterling Municipal Library in Baytown; noon Jan 27 at 1410 Lilton, Sonnier Ave. in Winnie; 1 p.m. Feb. 6 at Barbers Hill ISD Eagle’s Nest, 600 Eagle Drive, Mont Belvieu; and noon Feb. 10 at the Wellness Center, 2200 S. Main Street in Anahuac.
The sessions last about two hours. More may be added.
Anyone interested in participating in one of the conversations is asked to RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or 281-424-5922, extension 1001.