April 28, 2014
Students' voices needed for community assessment
Individuals living in Riley and Pottawatomie counties are encouraged to provide input regarding the quality of life in their communities and to identify their communities' unmet needs in connection with a comprehensive community needs assessment currently being conducted. It is important to hear voices of all residents, including students, to accurately determine the resources and needs of our community.
Residents can take the needs assessment survey online through May 26. There is an adult survey and a youth survey. Residents also can print hard copies from the website and once completed can drop them off at the Seniors' Service Center, 301 N. Fourth St. The survey is available in English, Spanish and Korean.
The needs assessment was made possible with a grant from the Caroline Peine Charitable Foundation-Manhattan Fund with additional funding from Mercy Regional Health Center, Riley County Council on Aging, United Way and Wamego Health Center. The assessment is being coordinated by the Riley County Seniors' Service Center.
"It has been more than 20 years since the last community needs assessment was done," said Jami Ramsey, center director. "Our community has changed a lot since 1992 when the last assessment was done. The center needed up-to-date and reliable information about the community's needs and we knew other community agencies needed the information, too."
The Seniors' Service Center worked with the Center for Community Support and Research, Wichita State University, to develop the needs assessment. Center for Community Support and Research will contact some residents by phone and mail to ask them to complete the assessment. The seniors' center also requested input from representatives from local community organizations and agencies to ensure that the assessment covers information that they needed.
The issues covered by the survey include quality of life, physical health, mental health, social issues, children and youth, education, aging, housing, transportation, infrastructure and economics and personal finance.
"Because this is a comprehensive community needs assessment, it's long," said Debbie Nuss, center project coordinator. "We hope people will be patient and take the 20-30 minutes needed to complete the survey. The more people who complete it, the better we will know what the community thinks it needs."
The final results of the survey will be available in late fall. The results will help local organizations and agencies determine how to direct their resources. The results also will support their requests for funds from outside granting agencies.
In addition, United Way plans to organize community conversations to talk about the survey results.
"The conversations will focus on the unmet needs that have been identified by the survey and what we, as a community, might want to do to address them," said Lee Ann Smith Desper, United Way director.