Interviewing community stakeholders

My name is Lay Dia and I am 16 years old. I am currently a junior at Hutch Tech. I am intereted in traveling to other countries to learn and experience the different cultures in our world. I am very passionate to learn and experience things that relate to our community. The community is a place we all are a part of, so I believe each individual place an important role in shaping it the better or worse. If we all work together to raise concerns and awareness in our community, we can make a change.

This school year I decided to work at MAP and so far it has been an amazing experience for me. Throughout the week I work at the center and sometimes in the garden. One of the projects we focused on that really impacted by understanding of the community was interviewing stakeholders for an event called The People's Food Movement. It is an event to display the problems that our community is experiences through the eyes of stakeholders. Stakeholders are people in our community that can affect or be affected by projects we do.

One of the stakeholders that I interviewed by phone call was Beth Machnica. She is a Healthy Community Catalyst who works in the medical campus to promote a more healthy workplace for people. As I interviewed her I discovered that I am really clueless about my community and that I need to be more aware. I also learned about problems in our community that people are facing.

One of the problems she mentioned is the lack of vehicle ownership in our community. This issue really shocked me because we are living in the 21st century and who would have thought that owning a vehicle was a concern when technology is booming? I also learned that since people don't own vehicles they do not have access to supermarkets. This causes them to depend on corner stores for food, which cannot provide them with the nutrition that their bodies needs.

Through this interview I realized that there are a lot of people who are willing to improve our communities. For example, Beth said that she attends policy meetings and worked on a project to bring samples of healthy food to corner stores. But current policies do not allow her to bring food samples to stores. Even though we want to improve our communities there will always be policies that restrict us. This interview influenced me to believe that we have to have the perseverance if we really want to make our community better.

MAP has been a great workplace for me, I am learning every time I work and I know that in the future MAP will continue to open up my eyes to the issues in my community and much more.

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