During a period of 24 months, United Way visited 42 different groups of Buncombe County residents and asked 326 people about their dreams for a good community. We asked them what kind of community they want, what it means to have a good life, what gets in the way of that here, and what can be done to fix those obstacles.
We learned a lot and we are inspired by their thoughtful conversations with each other. People were sincere and forthright in their responses. When we compiled all the responses, we realized 4 strong themes from every conversation.
Buncombe County residents aspire for a community that is:
- Healthy – One where people are physically safe, have access to outdoors activity, can get medical and mental health care when they need it, enjoy good food and a clean environment.
- Harmonious – A community where people want to get along with everyone, where differences are respected and people support each other.
- Thriving – A place where everyone’s basic needs are met, people can secure good paying and interesting jobs, strong public education for every child, and a level playing field of opportunities to succeed.
- Vibrant – One with variety, energy and enthusiasm, a balance of work and play, creativity, activity, natural beauty; and leaders who work together to protect what we have and plan for the future.
People believe that everyone should have a chance at a good life. They expressed a real interest in helping each other but weren’t sure how to go about it.
It was compelling to learn that people didn’t have a lot of faith in the public institutions or the elected officials in our community. They felt more like it was up to them to take care of themselves and others. They couldn’t clearly identify who to trust to lead us in making our community a good place for everyone.
We are just beginning to release the report: starting with those who participated in the conversations, our volunteers, Board members, and agency partners. It is posted on our web site and links are provided on our Facebook page and newsletter.
Check out the full report and share your ideas of how we as a community can come together around the issues important to us and make the kinds of changes we need. If you’d like to answer the questions yourself, go to this link and complete the survey.
Please go to either of these links to view the report and tell others about it. We are pleased that we had so many different people participate and would like to add your thoughts.