The Challenge & Initiatives
IMPACT AREAS: Family & Life Services, Mentoring, Education, and Community Outreach
Here are the challenges identified...
CCDN is headquartered in an area of Birmingham where individuals and families are fighting uphill battles to survive on a daily basis and often cannot see past their daily challenges to improve their long-term family situations including education, employment, and vocational training, child care, and healthy relationships. We help fulfill basic daily needs, build relationships as we meet those needs, and then help address underlying circumstances. Our clients come from many locations within the Birmingham Metropolitan Area serving most in the 99 neighborhoods. While we are open to serving individuals from any community and have served families from locations including Bessemer, Jasper, Decatur, Northport, and Huntsville.
It is widely known that the contributing factors to the best chance at success in life include family structure, education, residential stability, income stability, and access to healthcare. CCDN works within communities to improve each of these factors for families and children. We address the following challenges outlined by these statistics specific to these communities:
Income: The median household income is $26,193.50 within the 35206 and 35212 areas, compared to the median household income of $53,107 across the Birmingham area. In addition, approximately 29.4% of individuals live below the poverty level in these communities. Though many of our clients work full-time jobs, that are considered underemployed or work in jobs that do not provide enough income to fulfill monthly obligations including rent, health care, transportation, and food. In addition, due to the current Covid-19 situation, our community is seeing rising unemployment as the nature of many jobs in our community are service-oriented and have been impacted by temporary closures within the city. Before the Covid-19 situation, the unemployment rate of Jefferson County was 3.1%, and by April of this year, it was 12%.
Family Structure: Approximately 72% of households within the Birmingham city limits are led by single parents, primarily mothers, which is the 2nd highest percentage of single-parent families among the 100 largest metropolitan cities in the US. Approximately 44% percent of single-parent homes live below the poverty level.
Education: Within the local city schools from elementary to secondary, 93.6% of students are eligible for free or reduced lunch, and 100% of schools in the district are Title 1 designated, defined as schools with a large concentration of low-income students. Woodlawn High School, the local public high school where youth in our primary communities’ attend, has a graduation rate of 77% compared to a 93% graduation rate in neighboring Homewood High School and a 92% graduation rate at nearby Hoover High School.
Health Care: According to the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s 2019 Community Health Needs Assessment, a small area of West Central Jefferson County specific to the primary communities we serve are currently designated as a Medically Underserved Area Populations (MUAP) according to criteria developed by the Department of Health and Human Services. This is specific to primary care, dental care, and mental health care and is based on the availability of licensed physicians and specialists within each area. The 2010 Health and Disparities Report indicates that minorities comprise 52 percent of the uninsured and suffer from illness and death at a greater rate than whites.
Food Insecurity: One aspect of food insecurity is a lack of income to provide food. An estimated 1 in 4 children within Birmingham live in families where additional income or assistance is needed to purchase groceries on a weekly basis. In addition, the availability of nutritious foods including produce and lean meats is a challenge in our primary communities. Approximately 40% of residents in Birmingham live in a defined food desert, and this outlined area covers the 35206 and 35212 communities. A recent survey commissioned by Main Street Birmingham and conducted by Mari Gallagher defines a food desert as a large contiguous geographic area that has no or distant mainstream grocery stores. So while income is a struggle for many, the access to healthy foods when income is available is an added challenge
Unity~ Community~ Legacy
Unity = Family Foundation-Our focus is to help unify families and communities by building faith-based principles and foundation through education, enrichment, and advancement.
Community = Growth-We provide a platform for communication with families that creates enhanced growth allowing our families to become productive, strengthened, and unified.
Legacy (Work) = Future-We are innovators! Our programs and services allow families to understand the importance of building a legacy and a future sustaining their families into positive outlooks and setting goals.
What do we help with, and how?
Life Services-Connection to services that affect everyday life. Medical, Shelter, Safety, and Food. Our purpose in this area is to help individuals connect with organizations helping them get back to living life and enjoying it. Also, helping individuals develop life plans to help them get unstuck.
Family Structure: We are aware that family structure is a pivotal factor in the success of children and families in our community. In partnership with the Department of Human Resources (DHR) and through the recruitment of volunteers, we carry out mentoring programs and are a host site for family reconciliation visits. These include Family Reconciliation, Mentoring-Youth mentoring, parent mentoring, family mentoring sessions, and workshops available to help build healthy families.
-Family Reconciliation-Reconnecting families through setting standards, boundaries, and values healthy communication techniques with children, co-parenting communication development, and healthy communication in broken relationships.
-Mentoring-Youth mentoring, parent mentoring, family mentoring sessions, and workshops are available to help build healthy families. Working through communication, hearing, and action steps to heal broken families.
Education-Reading and math enrichment. The top two skills that we learn at grade level and will use for the rest of our lives are reading and math skills. We work with children in middle school and high school at least 1-grade level behind strengthening their reading and math skills.
Workforce Development-Meeting, the basic needs for food and clothing, is our primary goal, however as we get to know them and determine their background and employment status, we can provide them with education and life skills to seek, find and retain career-track employment or seek vocational training for career-track employment. Soft skills, customer service training, and life development plans offered to youth and adults. Providing key education on how to search for a job, seal the deal, and perform on the job.
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