Winston Area Community Partnership
Community stakeholders of all ages took part in two community dialog meetings to set priority goals for the Winston Area Community Partnership.
Since its formation three years ago, the Winston Area Community Partnership has brought a healthy new sense of identity to the small rural community of Winston, Ore., which lies 10 miles south of Mercy Medical Center in Roseburg, Ore. "Winston is one of the most economically depressed areas in the county, with high illiteracy and unemployment rates, but the Winston Area Community Partnership is bringing pride and hope to the community," said Janet Buchanan, vice president of mission and ministry at Mercy. The partnership, which local residents call WACP (pronounced "wake-up"), is tackling issues such as economic development, recreational opportunities, school improvement and city beautification. As a result of dialog, planning and goal setting sessions conducted by community stakeholders, WACP has already opened a family resource center; secured grants for the remodeling of parks, playgrounds and ball fields; and established a community calendar of events that is distributed to residents weekly via email. Action committees continue to work on other goals, including raising funds for a new community center that will house a library, a gymnasium and space for youth and senior programs. Hope Springs from Tragedy WACP began in response to a tragedy that shook the Winston community in 1999, when two middle school students died of gunshot wounds within five weeks of each other. Local leaders decided to take action to improve the quality of life for all Winston residents, and WACP was born. "Mercy came in not as an instigator, but as a supporter of WACP after the process of improving community health had already begun," said Buchanan. "Because Winston is a small community it’s possible to see the results of WACP’s efforts rather quickly, which is very encouraging." Mercy has supported WACP in part by obtaining a $33,065 Healthy Community Planning Grant from Catholic Health Initiatives’ Mission and Ministry Fund. "We used the grant money to hire a part-time WACP coordinator, who organizes community dialog sessions, maintains the calendar of events and facilitates the work of the committees," said Buchanan. "We also funded a special complimentary issue of the Troy Times to publicize WACP to all households in the community. The Troy Times is written and published by local high school students, and their involvement is truly essential to this healthy community initiative." First Clinic Under Construction Another current goal of the partnership is to complete construction of a new fire station and urgent care clinic. "The new fire station will replace one that is 50 years old and much too small, while the clinic will be the first one in Winston," said Buchanan. "For the first time, Winston residents with minor medical emergencies will be able to receive treatment right in their own community." For more information, contact Janet Buchanan at firstname.lastname@example.org.