Who wants healthy corner stores?

Earlier in the fall, the Citizenship and Organizing Group at MAP had been brainstorming different ways to get feedback from the community on their project to bring healthy fresh food to corner stores.  We had data from our summer program pointing to healthy corner stores as being a very important project, but we had more questions we wanted to ask people to help verify that data.

After thinking about how to best communicate with the community, we compromised on going old school with surveys.  We were excited to finally get out of the office and speak to people, but first the survey had to be created.  Creating the survey was the group’s first assignment together, and even though there were a few kinks, in the end we had a survey we could use.

Before surveying people, we prepared and practiced.  We practiced public speaking and communication skills in our group, and talked to each other about MAP’s goal pretending to be other people.   Then we made a poster of our project idea on bringing healthy fresh food to corner stores.  On the poster we showed a visual representation of what a normal corner store or corner store with unhealthy food looks like and what a healthy corner store looks like.  We also explained our group’s mission on the poster board.  When we were ready we went to two Participatory Budgeting meetings at two separate locations in the Masten district.

Our group went to the Participatory Budgeting meetings with surveys for the meeting participants.  We walked up to people and introduced ourselves.  We told them who we are and what we are about, then we gave them a survey to fill out.  We were very nervous about going up to strangers, but we had enough practice to help us get through.

We met tons of wonderful new people at the meetings.  Out of the people that we met, some were stakeholders in our project idea and we even exchanged contact information!  The people that we met there were friendly and they were all from different places.  One person we met was from Florida.  That’s interesting, don’t you agree?  In the meetings we also participated in the Participatory Budgeting process.  Say Ra Pa shared her idea of creating more grocery stores in the Masten district and her idea got the most votes!  At another point, Daryangelik got interviewed by the news!

To get the community’s feedback we had to put our surveys into action.  We asked people’s opinions on food deserts and corner stores, learned about local conditions, and heard people’s personal perspectives on food access in their communities.  Going out and surveying wasn’t easy, but with practice it went smooth and we’re glad for that.  Since we did that, we now have more experience on talking to community residents and getting to know them better.  Now we have even more data for our project.

Click here to download and read our final survey report.

More stories about Masten District's Participatory Budgeting:
This post was written by the following MAP youth:

Caleb who loves diversity at his high school and at MAP.
Daryangelik, or Dary for short, hopes to become a Nurse Practitioner.

Say Ra Pa, a senior at McKinley, started at MAP this fall of 2015.
Supo hopes to become an ESL teacher so she can help the community.
Thaint joined MAP because she loves cooking and sharing food with people.

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