Creating partnerships to improve the quality of life within the Appalachian counties of Ohio.
Describe the need affecting community
Jackson Area Ministries was and is intentionally located within the Appalachian counties of Ohio. While there has been significant advancements in the quality of living within our region, meeting the basic needs of people/families remains chronic. We are attaching several graphs that will document the situation. In summary, Appalachia Ohio continues to lag behind the rest of the state in median income, education, employment, health delivery, and housing along with access to a majority of basic needs of individuals/families. Counties in our service area continue to lead the state in economic indicators such as poor housing stock, aging population, quality medical care, living wage jobs, educational opportunities and many others. Two of our service area counties (Athens and Morgan) have the highest unemployment and largest percent of persons living in poverty. With each generation traditional cultural values of Appalachia are significantly diminishing leaving the region with limited unifying traditions and/or values. This reality degrades a sense of community within our churches and their communities.
How will this Advance project help to address the need?
Jackson Area Ministries’ mission statement commits us to initiate/sponsor ministries that will “improve the quality of life in our region”. Hopefully all our efforts are directed towards fulfilling this goal. This mission’s entire passion/energy is focused on responding to the enumerated needs. (see Statement of Need) Jackson Area Ministries will address the needs as follows: 1) Gather regional leaders to dialogue about the chronic economic/cultural situations. 2) Provide vegetable seeds and plants to enable families to produce their own food. 3) Offer volunteers to render vital home repairs. 4) Encourage local churches to sponsor community Vacation Bible Schools. 5) Create a cadre of regional volunteers which will provide valuable service as well as generate the sense of “community”. 6) Offer the storage area of our office as a support of other public/private organizations. 7) Construct a house as replacement for substandard living environment.
Describe the primary goal of the project
Establish an “affordable” housing ministry which will include the development of a long-term cadre of volunteers who will be trained, credentialed, and equipped to respond to this and various other appropriate service projects.
Describe the change you would like to see in the community as a result of this Advance project
Hopefully the stated goal will: 1) Create a larger number of individuals/congregations that understand the social economic environment in which they reside and the region as well. 2) Identify a number of volunteers from across the region committed to render volunteer services to persons/families within the community. 3) Organize a diverse group of United Methodists from two districts that will share in a common goal of improving the “quality of life in the region”.