In the fall of 2019, a group of individuals working in public health and healthcare attended a 90 hour Community Health Working training program taught by the Southwestern Area Health Education Center. The group learned the core competencies needed to address the community issues that prevent people from experiencing optimal health. After spending such a significant amount of time together in a learning community and realizing the extent of the health issues in Bridgeport, the group committed to continuing its work to make changes in Bridgeport. The Be The Change Project was born.
We have envisioned a number of initiatives to implement in Bridgeport. Please let us know if you have interest in getting involved in any of the activities described below:
The “Be the Change” project will implement a demonstration project to address trauma as an underlying cause of poor health by using Community Health Workers to conduct outreach, education and opportunities to prevent and heal trauma.
A steering group consisting of project partners, including CHWs will be formed to guide project planning and implementation.
A community-wide survey will be conducted to gather Bridgeport-specific data on ACEs, trauma and health status. The Steering Group will also facilitate community listening sessions to gather perspectives on ACEs and trauma in the community.
Community Awareness Campaign
A Community Awareness Campaign will be developed to increase awareness of ACEs and their impact on long-term health and wellbeing. Activities will include social media and participation in community health fairs, farmer’s markets and other community events. The project will develop a website with resources.
The project will produce a series of videos (Public Service Announcements, educational videos) for posting on the website as well as in community presentations. Participants in the project will implement a VideoVoice project on the topic by utilizing Southwestern AHEC mobile video production studio.
CHW training will be available to community members interested in becoming Community Health Workers for the “Be the Change” project. Participants will be able to gain the experience needed for Certification in the State of Connecticut through the project, including an internship experience and continuing education. In addition to adults, a training for youth CHWs (16-21) will be offered. All CHWs will receive assistance in becoming certified by the State of Connecticut.
The project will coordinate and conduct a series of community education opportunities on ACEs, Trauma, Resilience Skills and other related topics.
Community Building Workshops
The Foundation for Community Encouragement (FCE), founded by Dr. M. Scott Peck (bestselling author of The Road Less Traveled and The Difference Drum) will collaborate with the “Be the Change” project to facilitate Community Building Workshops. The Community Building model has been demonstrated as an effective experiential model to support individuals in healing trauma. The approach has been successfully utilized in a number of community settings, including Project Return (New Orleans for ex-prisoners returning to the community) and with the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation (High Five Project—5-year Office of Minority Health-funded project to address historical and generational trauma in tribal youth).
Cadre of “Be the Change” community members
Participants in Community Health Worker training and Community Building Workshops will have the opportunity to become “Be the Change” members to support project activities that promote Bridgeport neighborhoods as Trauma-Free Zones. Both a youth and adult corps will be organized.