NEWS & VIEWS OF PHILLIPS SINCE 1976
Friday November 17th 2017

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Anchor Family CHAT

Through the Backyard Initiative Assessment process, it became apparent that families in the BYI communities are experiencing isolation and lack of resources to sustain the health and well-being of their families. It is quite apparent that this has a direct connection to the state of turmoil and destructive behavior our youth are exhibiting. Families are feeling less and less connected to one another and to the spiritual, cultural and social resources in the community that are necessary to sustain their families. These resources include someone to talk to when things get tough, wisdom from elders and those who have survived. They also include someone to lean on when their own internal resources become limited. There is a clear need to rebuild the web of relationships that will mend the fragmentation that families are experiencing. It is also necessary to restore the family bond with our youth to increase their sense of belonging and interconnectedness. This action can shift the emphasis and public perception of our youth and reinforce their positive behaviors by connecting them to elders in the community to provide guidance and direction.

Our CHAT works to solve this problem by establishing an Anchor Family on selected blocks within the 475 BYI blocks, the number and priority to be determined by the Community Commission on Health. To improve the sense of health and well being of people living in the Backyard, the Anchor Family will act as catalyst for increased interconnectedness, building community through community rituals, gatherings and relationship building activities. Anchor Families will coordinate community celebrations surrounding cultural customs, individual achievements and personal or family grief and loss.

Recent activities of the Anchor Family CHAT have included a multi-generational gathering and feast on Mother’s Day, block cleanups, barbecues, a walking club and visiting and checking in on others on the block when they haven’t see each other. Young men on the blocks with an Anchor Family are encouraged and supported to be part of the “Fellows” program. The Fellows program mentors these young men to be emerging leaders in our community.

One new initiative has been inspired and grew out of the work of the Anchor Families CHAT: the Young Business-Minded Men program. This is an entreprerneurial project that teaches youth that live in the BYI how to make money and cultivate the skills of a professional business person. Their mentors emerged from a culturally-based, all male group who attend a brotherhood circle that began as a book club. Youth from the BYI area as well as Anchor Family Fellows are mentored into the Young Business-Minded Men program. Participants in the Young Business-Minded Men program have learned jewelry making and utilizing their entrepreneurial spirits by buying products in bulk and selling such items for a profit. .

CHAT Members include: Angelica Buenrostro, Gloria Thompson, Ray Thompson, Khusaba Seka, Lee Younger, Mau Smai Aye Re, and Reggie Ferguson

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