Minnesota
Our SCALE Journey

Our Mission:To have 75% of Brooklyn Park Residents report overall wellness by 2020 with equitable health experiences across cultural groups.

Where we are?

Who we are?

The Brooklyn Park SCALE Team is a collaboration of Community partners  through the  Accountable Community for Health (ACH), focusing on the Northwest Suburb of Hennepin County, Minnesota.  The aim of the Team is to improve the overall wellness of Brooklyn Park Residents to 75% by 2020 with equitable experiences across cultural groups. Below is how far we come with Community Champions Project.

Cultural Leaders in Brooklyn Park Take the Lead in Promoting Health and Wellness

As the Brooklyn Park SCALE Team promotes positive Health outcomes for residents of Brooklyn Park and its environs to 75% by 2020, Cultural Leaders took steps in making sure that our goal of promoting health and wellness to 75% in 2020 is achieved through direct and meaningful engagement of people with lived experiences.  Over the past Months, Cultural Leaders met every other Wednesday to discuss a culturally acceptable approach to engage community members on improving the health and wellness of the community; as well as making sure that Community Leaders are at the table and part of decisions that affect the community internally and externally.  

These Leaders are members of the community who are leading community based organizations, Students in the field of Nursing, as well as heads of institutions that care for the Elderly. In the wake of the Ebola outbreak and the struggle for Immigration status for undocumented members of the community, it became clear to these leaders that it was time to fill the void that existed when their communities were faced with these problems. They have seen firsthand what impact their involvement had on educating and narrating the stories of the stigma and isolation that was felt by the students from elementary to university.   After carefully considering the suggestions and inputs, Leaders agreed that the best approach was to recruit community champions who can commit to going out into the community and have these discussions. Having set their mission around harnessing community resources in designing and implementing a Community Champions’ Program a program that will engage community members our various health topics that would help create understanding that can ultimately lead to healthy choices that will help improve their overall health and wellness , the Cultural Leaders concluded on the following:

Position description

1.      Community Champions roles and responsibilities

2.      Criteria for selecting the priority areas for Champions

3.      Areas of focus: Mental Health, Sexual Health and Physical Health.

 Overall responsibility

Goal: Through community outreach and engagement, Community Champions will play vital role in improving the overall health and wellness of Community members in Brooklyn Park and the Northwest Suburb of Hennepin County. They are leaders who are willing to engage because the have the knowledge and know the community very well.

Time commitment

Minimum of 12 months

28 hours per month

1. Attend Train the Trainer sessions

2. Prepare and conduct meetings Monthly or as determined by each community

3. Recruit and train ONE new Community Champion

4. Attend SCALE Monthly meetings for coaching, but not required

Characteristics

Ø  Willingness to engage with community around a specific topic/focus area

Ø  Knowledge of the specific cultural groups represented in the northwest area

Ø  Knowledge of the needs of the specific cultural groups related to a specific focus area

Ø  Experience working with community members in groups and individually

Ø  Experience communicating and working within a group

Ø  Ability to work with a diverse group of individuals

 

Our Community Champions will have many Roles and Responsibilities as indicated below

Ø         Establish relationships  and collaboration with community organizations
Ø  Initiate roundtable community discussions
Ø  Engage faith based organizations/institutions
Ø  Provide speaking opportunities for health experts
Ø  Encourage community involvement through outreach and recruitment
Ø  Champions’ focus is in the community
Ø  Design and conduct community outreach to solicit community participation in the project
Ø  Recruit one new Community Champion for specific focus area
Ø  Mentor new recruit
Ø  Lead community meetings
Ø  Arrange for meeting location
Ø  Prepare agenda
Ø  Submit community group meeting notes to Cultural Leaders group
Ø  Other as identified in order to facilitate regular community meetings
Ø  Other as identified as the project evolves
Ø  This project will continue as we train Champions every year


The Brooklyn Park SCALE Team has nine Community Champions from five different countries, Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Kenyan, and the Ivory Coast. They speak seven to ten different languages, with the ability of reaching all languages spoken in their various countries. Educationally, there is a wide spread of credentials from an MA, BA, to License and leadership. The Champions are well positioned, experience wise to carryout authentic engagement through formal presentation of sourced materials, as well as engagement at a level that an ordinary person can reciprocate.     
Challenge

The initial goal was to have an inclusive and diverse Community Champions project with Champions from the various minority communities; African, African-American, Latino and Hmong. Though the Team strived to bring representatives from these communities, our effort fell short due to low or no feedback from these communities. Those community members  that came from the start of  our outreach and engagement to these communities, we could not retain nor have members from these communities to commit to attending all the meetings that led to the selection of the current Champions. In the end, we decided to go solely with the African Community Champions, hoping that a success with this group can serve as a model for further engagement with other minority communities.

Hence, the goal to recruit Champions from these communities has not faded, and will resume once the current Champions are trained, introduced and let out into the community. The desire is to use the current Champions as a model in initiating the effort in the other minority communities. We are therefore failing forward after realizing our shortcoming.

Our Community SCALE Team

Brenda Kennelly: Hennepin County Medical Center, Brooklyn Park Clinic

Antonio Smith: City of Brooklyn Park, Cities United

Jonette Lucia: Northwest Hennepin Family Collaborative

Veronica Rotich: African Women and Youth Resource Center

Henry Momayi: Global Health Aid Delivery Services Incorporation, (Ghands Inc.)

Mamadee Sesay, Local Improvement Advisor   


Community Champions in Session

Ubuntu- “I am what I am because of who we all are”

This is a filler image. Replace with one from your community.

Challenges 

The Brooklyn Park SCALE Team had collaborating partners that played important roles in moving the team's work forward. However, the biggest challenge we faced was Group coordination, wisely using individual expertise and philosophy of work sessions.  These issues were mostly not addressed because we work together, but did not understand each other to a level that would have eliminated our problems. specifically, 

1. Partners attended some meeting that fit within their time, creating a gap and continuity in serious discussion to move our work forward 

2. Community Members knew very little about who was on the table because the only interaction that took place between these two groups was at these meetings.

3. Opportunities were not created for Community Members know and be educated on Organizations they were being asked to work with. 

4. There were doubts from the community stand point and Stakeholders about what the other brings to the table.



Cities United Youth Engagement Planning session for Black History Month

My Brother's Keeper (MBK) removing barriers and supporting Young people

Brooklyn Park Driver Diagram

What we are doing

The Brooklyn Park SCALE Team is currently working on bringing in new partners to expand the scope to a level or greater as it was before December 31st, 2016. We realize that though the focus of the SCALE Team's work at the moment is the Community Champions project, there is an opportunity to make the Champions project one aspect of a broader initiative to address the unmet needs that we know exist in the community.

The goal is to continue from where stated as it relates to bringing in new partners from the community, which will include leaders, community members with or without expertise, as well as religious leaders who are perhaps the leading voice for their congregation. 

Through this effort, like it was done before, will bring in people with similar experiences that would make our work more meaningful. 

Each of the drivers and sub drivers are just as useful today as it was on the day it was finalized; with input from members of the Accountable Community for Health and SCALE team members. After many revision, our theory of change that guided us to this day and hopefully forward, was concluded with an insertion of the word Culture, as a representation of the different groups and experiences that exist in Brooklyn Park and its environs. 

We have tried different ways of engagements, representation, outreach, co-creation and letting community members lead meetings and play leadership roles as a way of leading from within and together; and found it to be very successful. 

The Brooklyn Park SCALE Team is in a good place to continue its work as we plan on expanding the collaboration, which presently involve only the SCALE Team.

What we have learned

We have learned that money, Stakeholders and name recognition along cannot lead to change, you must involve people with lived experience if change is to be sustained. Hence, people with lived experience from the community are now leaders in our journey to help change lives for the better. 

The experience has led to engaged different communities with different sets of beliefs and orientations. We changed from the traditional form of soliciting community input to unconventional approach that involve asking people in the language they speak fluently. 

Because of our approach, we have been able to recruit nine members of our community from different countries, who speak multiple languages to carryout community engagement work in the northwest suburb of Hennepin County. 

We are proud to say that the SWITCH theory has heavily influenced our understanding of how change is incremental and at time not as fast as would be expected by someone outside of the work we do daily.

Where we are headed now

The Brooklyn Park SCALE Team is headed for a successful outcome in improving the health and wellness of our community because of the steps taken to make that possible. We have trained our nine community champions and they are ready to engage members of our community. We concluded the Action Lab and community members have decided to host depression support group discussion for the next ninety days. While we are not hosting the support groups, they would allow us to provide assistance as needed

Our path forward is to expand our collaboration and create opportunities for community organizations that want to be part of the change. We will therefore serve as the leading advocate as we move forward with our work.