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Early Childhood Community Engagement

February 1, 2017

In the first few years of a child's life, hundreds of neural connections form in the brain. When children engage with and receive thoughtful responses from adults, they form strong relationships that bolster healthy growth. Creating conditions (in the home, at school/childcare, and in the community) that promote robust brain development and reduce toxic stress early on is likely to be more effective and less costly than healing the effects of adverse experiences later in life. Families of all backgrounds and incomes can benefit from carefully woven supports across public and private services that foster strong starts for children, spanning prenatal wellness to early learning and family engagement.

NH Blue and You: Dover Creating Community Change Through Connection A NH Listens Summary Report

January 18, 2017

In November of 2016, over ninety people attended the NH Blue and You community conversation at Flight Coffee Co. in Dover, New Hampshire. NH Blue and You―a partnership of the Seacoast and Manchester NAACP, NH Listens, and the NH Association of Chiefs of Police―was initiated to provide interested communities an opportunity for conversation between residents and law enforcement on critically important policing issues. The local event was hosted by the Dover Police Department, Dover Listens, the Dover Housing Authority, and the Greater Dover Chamber of Commerce.The discussions took place on the evening of Tuesday, November 15, 2016 from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. and were open to the entire community. Save the date information and flyers were shared through a variety of methods in the community (flyer may be found in Appendix A). Only two individuals preregistered, but the room quickly filled with ninety-two total attendees, including about twelve officers from the Dover Police Department. Participants were split into nine small groups, each with a trained facilitator.

A Community Schools Approach to Accessing Services and Improving Neighborhood Outcomes in Manchester, New Hampshire

May 16, 2015

In the several years since the Great Recession, New Hampshire, like the nation, has witnessed and experienced growing economic disadvantage. The state's poverty level stands at 8.4 percent, and child poverty increased from about 8 percent in 2000 to nearly 10 percent in 2012. Some areas of the state have been hit harder than others. In the state's largest city of Manchester, for instance, the poverty rate rose from 10 percent in 2000 to 14 percent in 2012, and within Manchester some neighborhoods have become poorer than others (Figures 1 and 2). Increases in poverty and educational disadvantage are steepest among minorities and immigrants, the city's fastest-growing demographic groups.The vulnerabilities to which people are exposed as a result of poverty can have devastating consequences. Children living in poverty are less likely to graduate from high school, and they have worse educational outcomes overall; one study found that living in a high-poverty neighborhood is equivalent to missing a year of school.4 Poverty-afflicted children are also more likely to live in poverty as adults. In an era when a state's economic health depends more than ever on the physical health and educational capital of its residents, stakeholders across New Hampshire have a vested interest in alleviating the growing poverty in Manchester and the wide disparities between Manchester and the rest of the state.To engage in this challenge, the Manchester Neighborhood Health Improvement Strategy Leadership Team launched the Manchester Community Schools Project (MCSP)—a partnership between the Manchester Health Department, city elementary schools, philanthropists, neighborhood residents, and several nonprofit agencies—to improve and enhance educational achievement, economic well-being, access to health care services, healthy behaviors, social connectedness, safety, and living environments.