Nevertheless, WE Persisted

NJHI 2017: Next Generation Community Leaders Emerging Leaders for a Healthier Community

Despite these unprecedented times, Perth Amboy’s Emerging Leaders for a Healthier Community remain strong and hopeful. To adhere to current state regulations in the face of COVID-19, we have transitioned to hosting our monthly meetings virtually until further notice.

During our last face-to-face meeting in February 2020, the Emerging Leaders came to a consensus that the health initiatives they would like to focus on are revitalizing open spaces and raising awareness about the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning. As part of their homework, they were assigned to interview community members and share highlights of these  conversations and experiences at our next meeting. As we reconvened virtually in March, the Emerging Leaders shared how they contacted stakeholders ranging from the Perth Amboy Fire Department to members of the Perth Amboy Arts Council. Although they faced challenges with contacting residents due to COVID-19, they were able to network and create connections with neighbors and community leaders.

Throughout the month of April until our April 23, 2020 meeting, the Emerging Leaders administered a community survey to collect the community’s thoughts and perceptions on the revitalization of open spaces and the dangers of carbon monoxide. Click here to view an archived copy of the community survey.

With more than 120 respondents, the survey provided the Emerging Leaders with valuable insight on how to focus their health initiatives to reflect what the community would like to see. As an example, they found that 83% of survey respondents believe cleaner streets make a town beautiful, and that 63% of respondents did not know they had access to free carbon monoxide detectors as a Perth Amboy resident. We also played a fun round of “Simon Says” during our virtual team meeting, which elicited smiles and laughter. 

All in all, this team remains passionate and excited about making Perth Amboy a healthier community. Although we are currently in the midst of a pandemic, the Emerging Leaders are strategizing approaches to best serve their community, even if that means carrying out the program’s first-ever virtual initiative(s). If social distancing continues to be required throughout the summer, we will remain devoted to creating a unique, satisfying and rewarding action plan to revitalize our city. For instance, we were able to kickstart our carbon monoxide awareness initiative by sharing infographics the leaders created on our Instagram account.

Track all of the Next Generation Community Leaders teams through the hashtag #NJLeaders2030.

The Grantee Blog regularly publishes updates from NJHI-supported communities. Bookmark this site to stay up-to-date and share in the work of building healthier communities across New Jersey.
Kaelin Conover
Jewish Renaissance Foundation