Analyzing Community Issues: A Case Study Approach
There is a saying about 'small changes leads to a big result.' Therefore, to see change one must take a small step to observe where the change is needed and assist by taking the necessary action to help make an impact in one’s community. This is my community problems essay in which this topic will be discussed within my viewpoint and gained knowledge. Applying the community assessment and windshield survey from a community’s specific geographic position can help promote awareness on how certain situations can affect social groups that live within the community. It can also develop an understanding of the social norms, values, living situation, social structure, social institution, community attributes, and community uniqueness. Studying and learning the community’s population demographics, location, culture, and availability of resources can help identify and analyze potential community problems.
The zip code 89141 is the community where I live since I moved from California. It is located in the Southwest of Las Vegas Valley. I am familiar with the area before I even move to Las Vegas because of family members we used to visit. That was twenty years ago when there is no housing with minimal establishments present. It was eleven years after when the l moved to Las Vegas and the once empty dry land is now sprouting with a new community. Therefore, the increase of population and commercial business while have some positive aspects also brought some changes that create problems within the community.
The current population of 89141 is 31, 276. The racial distribution within the 89141 community is mainly White with 54.4%, Hispanic 16.5%, Black 13.2 %, Asian 9.5%, and others with 5.62%. The physical environment of the area is composed mainly of a working-class family with a median household income of $86, 895 living in a residential area with no impoverish area. Despite being located in a suburban area, there are major and minor commercial businesses that surround the community which located close to the main roads and highways. As for culture, it is primarily from the post-industrial society. There is a subculture in some gated communities that are active with growth and beautification of the areas, but it is not the same for all of the 89141. It is mainly a personal gain mentality. This is shown by the educational attainment of 94.5% of high school graduates or higher. On my daily drive, I see at least three parks, a golf course, housing, small business establishments, builders and constructions, and a couple of doctor’s offices (dentist and eye clinic). I see a lot of people walking, running, or cycling within my community. Therefore, one of the major health risks that I have observed is pedestrian accidents and motor vehicle accidents (MVA). Also, the lack of healthy food options can potentiate for unhealthy food choices and habits.
Two years ago, one of the major grocery stores within my community closed. It was replaced by a liquor store instead. With only one grocery store and multiple fast-food chains and restaurants surrounding my community, the population living within the area is at risk for developing overweight and obesity. Though there are “declining obesity among 2- to 4- and 10-to 17-year-olds in Nevada from 2010 to 2017”. This is not the same for teenagers and adults living in Las Vegas. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “approximately 60% of adults in Clark County are overweight or obese, and less than 25% of adults meet the Federal government's guidelines for fruit and vegetable consumption. Further, 12.9% of Clark County high school students are overweight, and 12.3% are obese”. The risk for other health problems due to overweight and obesity can also increase in the near future if the community does not get involved in developing plans for improving access to healthy food options.
In one year, I saw six MVA, two involving pedestrians one is my co-worker/neighbor. Since there are lots of new constructions in my community, there are some road signage that are difficult to see without proper lighting. “a study [done] analyzing Metro crash data and found there were 21,943 reported crashes across 5,171 intersections in 2018”. Distracted driving and other problematic driving behaviors can also play a part in MVA. In addition, the Nevada Office of Traffic Safety (NOTS) explained that “population growth in the nation and the influx of 40 million visitors adds roadway users and traffic safety issues”.
The origin of overweight and obesity can be tract earlier in life. Many factors can contribute to this problem— genetics, lifestyle, or socioeconomic status. Which all have a direct influence on the problem. In my community, the direct problem can be hard to presume because it can be all of it. However, one of the indirect factors is the availability of healthy food options. Supporting an increase of available healthy food options can help battle with reducing overweight, preventing obesity, and improving healthy eating habits. Engaging the community through the involvement of local farmers and grocers to develop some activities that can improve fresh food access can also help with the situation. “Integrated approaches outside of the school or other single-level focus, and especially within the community… showed significant improvements in mortality and morbidity among adults and children”. If the local government officials care about the health of their community and not just monetary gain, they can help intervene with the problem. However, with newer fast-food establishment getting built, it is through concern citizen that needs to have a sense of wanting better food options to have this problem solved.
Accidents are usually unintentional event that has an unpleasant result. Nobody can foresee it therefore the origin is a mystery. The fact can also be applied for MVA. However, there are direct factors—human factor, vehicle malfunction, environmental hazard, and traffic management errors—that can contribute to MVA. The indirect factors are inattention, poor behavioral choices, and technology. Avoiding MVA is a multi-disciplinary approach from both the government and citizens. Government bodies and other organizations should always check and improve the way to make our roads safer. They should also create better policies for seat belts, alcohol blood levels, and collaborating with other car companies for better safety technology. Other interventions like public education and awareness are crucial in decreasing MVA. As a citizen, making sure seatbelt is always on when driving, obeying traffic rules and regulation, driving without distractions, and not driving under the influence can help minimize MVA. In my community officials lower the speed limit in the residential and business area. They also started building pedestrian flashing lights and road signs to watch for pedestrians crossing or playing. Overall, the community that I live in continues to be more active in terms of making our area safe.
Since the community that I lived in was a relatively new established community built within the past twenty years, it was my co-worker/neighbor that saw some major changes. There are mixed of positive and negative changes. Some positive changes are the new road and traffic signs improvement. Also, there are more accessible restaurants and establishments in the area. There are also a growing number of community park and activities. However, with every positive growth, there are also negative ones. One of them is the increase in MVA, crimes, and environmental pollution. She recalled before she would walk around the park even at night and she felt safe but after the assault that happened last year, she doesn’t go out and walk at night anymore. She also mentioned the increase of uncleaned dog poop in the park.
Sitzman and Watson emphasized that “teaching encounters provide opportunities for more seeds to be sown, in our own minds and in the minds of those we teach”. Learning, on the other hand, is “more than receiving information, facts, or data. It involves a meaningful, trusting relationship that… lives on beyond the context of the teaching, informing the life and behavior and actions that flow from the experience”. Therefore, the Caritas Process that will be suitable to help engage and develop a healing-learning environment to tackle the issues that my community faces will be the seventh Caritas process: share individual teaching and learning that addresses needs and comprehension styles learning. Because when teaching and presenting relevant information to a different group of people with different beliefs and backgrounds, it is important to be aware of their interests, learning style, and sensitivity of the topic.
In conclusion to essay about problems in society, after studying my community’s demographic factors and community structure, I was able to understand the social and physical indicators and outlines some problems. Using Dr. Watson’s seventh Caritas process, I can approach teaching and learning holistically to create a better connection between the importance of the topic being taught and the concern of the need to change.