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Schenectady organizations team up for community health

By Bethany Bump
Thursday, February 21, 2013

Agencies across Schenectady County have joined together to assess the community’s health, behaviors and access to care, and they’re going to do it neighborhood by neighborhood, door by door.

If you knock on Jazella Lewis’s door, the 34-year-old mother of two will tell you there are too many children in her neighborhood with nothing to do after school, and that it’s affecting kids’ health as they grow up.

“The children don’t have positive things to do after school and they can get into other things, things that they shouldn’t be doing,” she said. “They’ll follow the wrong crowd, and not only will it be not healthy for them physically, but it’s not healthy for them mentally.”

This, of course, is precisely what the Schenectady Coalition for a Healthy Community is hoping to learn in a new campaign launching this Saturday called “UMatter Schenectady.” More than 40 organizations across the county will oversee a door-to-door survey of Schenectady residents in an effort to identify unmet health and social needs, and subsequently build an action plan to address them.

The entire list of organizations is available below.

The success of UMatter Schenectady depends largely on the community players involved, said City Mission Executive Director Mike Saccocio.

“This is not a top-down process where some experts are gathered in a room, making assumptions saying we know what needs to be done,” he said. “The best people to run these sorts of things are the people in the community who have credibility and know how to listen. So as things come up, they might not be just health care related, they might be something social or something else, and there’s going to be a broad range of resources to help.”

A full version of this story will be in the Friday issue of the Daily Gazette.

Follow @gazettebiz on Twitter.

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