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Community works together to solve problems from within
Fruit Heights residents have been working hard to organize an ABCD (Asset Based Community Development) program for the past few years. The goal of the program is to get neighborhoods to a point where they can rely on each other as friends and acquaintences and to possibly solve problems. "Problems" could include anything from help with plumbing to seeking help filing taxes. Larry Burdett, president of the United Way of Davis County, has been promoting the ABCD Program throughout the county. He said, "Thousands of cities are using this across the country. To solve problems, you start in neighborhoods. The traditional way is thinking that a government agency can fix a community or neighbor. It is proven that the best way is for neighbors to solve it. That desire has to come from within."

Mr. Burdett offered examples of ways to start programs in any community. The key is to make it a social, relaxed situation, like a small parade or a Flag Day celebration. An all-inclusive neighborhood organization, not connected to any particular church or group, is necessary in order to be successful.

This program proves to be even more important in times of disaster. The greater the disaster, the less likely you are to receive immediate assistance from law enforcement and emergency services personnel. That is where CERT (Community Emergency Response Training) is essential. There should be trained representatives in every neighborhood, and neighbors should know who these individuals are. Then, neighbors can literally help neighbors through those first days where outside assistance may not be available.

For more information contact the United Way of Davis County, 497-9111, or your city offices.

Updated 12/04/04

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