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Mattapan United holds 'give back' meeting, forms action groups

Posted by Patrick Rosso  June 28, 2012 06:11 PM

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Mattapan United, a group of neighbors and community stakeholders, identified a raft of challeges the neighborhood must confront if it is to improve the lives of residents.

At the group’s “give back” meeting at the Young Achievers School, group leaders and members went over data collected over the past year that will shape how the group, a Local Initiatives Support Corporation funded organization, moves forward and tackles concerns raised by residents.

According to Wednesday’s presentation, employment was one of the biggest concerns, followed by substance abuse, obesity, affordable housing, youth violence, education, and recreational opportunities for youths.

The data, which was analyzed by the University Massachusetts Boston, was collected through three sources: a recent visioning meeting, one-on-one interviews, and community questioners.

The information provided by residents and people who work in the neighborhood largely concentrated on what people would like to see done and how they feel about their neighborhood.

The presentation by Donna Haig Friedman, director of the UMass Center for Social Policy, also highlighted the limited educational opportunities in the neighborhood, lack of efficient public transit, and a 37-percent obesity rate.

To better handle the trials ahead, the group formed small action groups to handle the specific issues highlighted through the data. Those groups are: Business Development, Community Fabric, Jobs, Safety, Open and Clean Space, Housing, and Health.

Each group will be chaired by a community member and specifically work to tackle the topic through engagement and community generated initiatives.

With the action groups Mattapan United will also look to create a “community contract” or strategic plan that will help guide group development and neighborhood initiatives including greening the square, more community events, youth activities and the development of a community website dubbed “MyMattapan”.

The contract, part of the core of LISC's Resilient Communities/Resilient Families program, which funds the group, should according to Mattapan United, be out by October.

For more information about Mattapan United visit its website by clicking here.

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Email Patrick D. Rosso, patrick.d.rosso@gmail.com. Follow him @PDRosso, or friend him on Facebook.

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