Life Notes: What is a Healthy Community?
by Bob Flournoy, Ph.D.

Some people would say a healthy community is one in which there is a low incidence of cancer and other diseases. I would agree to some extent but I feel it is more than that. I believe it involves the “social” issues we so often overlook – crime rates, abuse cases, illiterate citizenry, sexually transmitted diseases, nonexistent social graces and disrespect for authority.

When we have “Health Fairs” for blood tests, blood pressure monitoring etc., why don’t we take time to have meetings to discuss the lists of “social” issues? Perhaps such gatherings might focus the community on the “other” need. What is the key to achieving lower rates of unemployment, lower crime rates, etc.? I believe “education” is the key. Increasing the number of high school and college graduates in a community will greatly deter the all-too-prevalent “social” ills.

How does the Methodist Children’s Home help Ruston to be a healthy community? We have an accredited school on campus for our youth, and this year we graduated several with their GED’s.

We teach social skills to our youth so that they may learn how to handle various social situations- introductions, proper table manners, conflict resolution, etc. The staff teach at least one session on social skills. The Ruston community has some healthy indicators such as a low unemployment rate but they could be lower. We must continually work on ways to bring in more businesses so that the community has a source of livelihood. Many industries, however, need technically-trained or skilled workers to keep the industry competitive and profitable. Again, the importance of education is the answer.

A community must continually work to reduce those factors that keep it from being a “healthy community”. The Methodist Children’s Home is doing its share. How about you and your organization? Jesus said it in Acts 20:35: “It is more blessed to give than to receive”.

The Life Notes articles are written by staff of Louisiana Methodist Children’s Home and are published in The Ruston Daily Leader.

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