by Madison White Franks
BROWNS STORE—After six months of conducting and gathering information, the Northumberland County Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) community survey results are in.
On Monday, Dr. Laverne Carter of Research, Evaluation and Social Solutions Inc. (REESSi), presented her findings in which she, her husband, Lawrence Carter, and Jacob Lanuza, a Northumberland High School student, analyzed.
Approximately 30 people attended the presentation at the Northumberland County Community Center Organization Inc. facility in Browns Store.
She developed the survey to focus on what residents see as important resources in the community, how satisfied they are with current resources, what they know about the NAACP and how they think the NAACP can support the community.
Some 192 surveys were collected with 60% of respondents female and 40% male. Black respondents made up 65% and white 25%.
The largest age range was 61-75 at 45%, then greater than 76, 25%, 40-60, 20% and 18-39, less than 10%.
Survey questions were related to availability of employment opportunities, good places to live, quality teaching at schools, affordable day care, affordable medical services, affordable prescription drugs, parks and recreation, adequate transportation, supervised after school activities for kids, youth employment opportunities, opportunity for participation in religious activities at local churches and response time to emergency calls to police and emergency medical services (EMS).
“This will be the beginning point for developing a strategy for our community to address the issues and concerns that our citizens have articulated in this survey,” said NAACP vice president Dr. Tyron Williams. “The worst thing we could do is get all this information and then do nothing with it.”
According to Dr. Carter, EMS response time, affordable medical services and having a good place to live received the highest ratings for community resources. Responses among women were mostly even, while responses from men were scattered.
Among comments, respondents expressed they wanted better medical and health services, programs for children, more or better recreational options, improved quality of schools and more or better employment opportunities, said Lanuza.
Respondents also indicated they are not satisfied with the available resources, said Dr. Carter.
The survey showed that both men and women’s top three satisfactory resources are religion, EMS and Northumberland is a good place to live.
The open ended questions revealed the survey respondents are unsatisfied with the medical services, shopping, employment opportunities, racism and distance between locations such as grocery stores and recreation centers.
The respondents are satisfied the community offers peace and quiet living, low traffic levels, availability of local churches, low population and schools.
Survey questions related to the NAACP focused on its mission and activities, membership and attendance of NAACP events. The survey also asked if they would like to learn more or join, if they think the NAACP would be a good way to address issues and if they would attend a community mobilization event to develop solutions for issued faced by residents in the county.
The top two responses show the respondents knew a Northumberland NAACP member and that they have attended a meeting. The third among women was that they are familiar with the mission and activities and among men, they have attended a social event.
Comments revealed many people know very little or nothing about the Northumberland NAACP and suggested the organization needs to become more exposed in the community. It also revealed the organization needs to expand membership, host community gatherings and announce public gatherings and meetings to increase awareness.
The outcome of the survey revealed responses differed by gender with males giving overall lower rating responses than female across all survey item, said Dr. Carter. It also revealed affordable health care and EMS services were rated as the most important resources by males and females.
Female respondents are more concerned about all vital resources than male respondents, she said.
There is a definite gap between what resources residents believe should be in the community and their satisfaction with what is actually in the community, she added.
The final outcome is the NAACP should increase its visibility in the community, said Dr. Carter.
The next step should be to build a coalition of stakeholders to address the gaps and resources, develop a strategic plan for action and seek resources to implement the plan, she said.