HUS 2307 Community organizing and development
Assignment 1: Know your community
I’ve lived in my community West Farms for about 11 years. As for communities go in the Bronx it’s neither the safest nor the cleanest, but the community does care for each other. In the summer there’s a block party and everyone pitches in to bring food and drinks, it’s a lot of fun.
My community board doesn’t have a president, but it does have a chair and its Wendy Rodriguez, Ivine Galarza is the community board’s district manager. My current New York City council member is Ritchie Torres, Torres serves the Central Bronx communities, and Torres severs on the public house committee. My New York state Assembly member is Luis R. Sepulveda. My New York state senators are Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer; they are both my U.S senators as well. My U.S. congressional Representatives are Joseph Crowley and Jose E. Serrano.
So the total population in West Farms is 58,893; which is made up of 27,249 males and 31,644 females, the median age in this community is 26.7. The ethnicity that make up West Farms are: Puerto Rican, Dominican, Mexican; which makes up more than half of the population, African American and Chinese. The income level in West Farms is between low – middle income, the average household income is $36,828 and 64.49% of households have children living. The education level in this community are very low; 39.79% have some high school experience, 27.55% have graduated from high school, 17.30% have some college experience, 6.53% have their Associate’s degree and 6.53% have their Bachelor’s degree.
Finding information about my community’s health status was hard, but from what I did find was that my community is very unhealthy. In my community there isn’t a lot of healthy eating options in West Farms compare to communities in Manhattan. All the dells advertise unhealthy foods like chips, soda, fried foods; that’s one the main reason why people in my community are unhealthy. 63% of adults are overweight or obese, 31.7% of the youth is overweight or obese, 43.5% of adults consume one or more sugary drinks a day and 55.8% of the youth consume one or more sugary drinks a day. One thing I was surprised to find was that smoking is very low in West Farms, only 17.3% of adults smoke cigarettes and 6.9% youth smoke cigarettes.
The crime rate in this community is terrible but compare to 23 years ago it’s a drastic improvement, for example in 1990 there was 653 reports of murder compared to 2013 there was 83 reports of murder. West farms was really unsafe in the 90’s its still unsafe but it’s not as bad as it was 23 years ago. In 2014 there were 60 complaints about murder, 222 reports of rape, 2,671 reports of robbery, 3,691 reports of federal assault,1,959 reports of burglary, 4,079 reports grand larceny and there was 984 reports of grand larceny auto.
The educational and cultural resources are limited but do exist in my community. There are four Elementary Schools, six Primary Schools, six middle schools and seven high schools in west farms. I was disappointed to find only one museum in West Farms and its called Bronx River Art center; it a multi-art, non-profit organization that provides a place for the community, artists and youth to transform creativity into vision. And there is only one library branch in West Farms, called the West Farms library.
The recreational resources in this community is good there’s a lot of thing to do and it very family friendly, the biggest one here is the Bronx Zoo, families goes there all the time and its free on Wednesdays. There’s only one public pool called Mapes pool, it an outdoor pool and direly across the street is the Mapes Ballfield, it has two baseball fields. One of the things I like about the parks in this community is that they are big, there’s a playground and also a place to barbecue or relax. There’s only two parks here in West Farms one is called Vidalia park; I will admit it’s not the safest park in the community, but they have a lot of events there. And there River Park it’s my favorite park, it’s called River Park because there’s a waterfall that connects to the Bronx River. Also there are three community gardens there’s the Krystal Garden group, Daly Avenue garden and the Volky Garden.
The religious institutions in this community are very diverse which is great; everyone has the opportunity to practice their religion. There are seven different religious institutions in West Farms: there the Grace Episcopal Church, St. Thomas Aquinas RC church; which is a catholic church, gifted life, I don’t know what they practice there. There’s also the Honeywell Baptist church, New Tabernacle Baptist church, and the Emmanuel Swedish Evangelical church which is a Lutheran church.
There is a lot of locally owned business in west farms most of them are groceries stores, hair salons and family discount stores to just name a few. There are no big name banks in the community like TD bank and Chase; there are these ATM places I wouldn’t call it a bank but there’s three of them in West Farms. In low income community like mine there are more check- cashing places then actual banks branches; there is two in the community, one is called Pay-O-Matic and the other one is called Cash Transactions Inc. There are only two supermarkets one is called Price Choice and Pioneer. The rest of them are small grocery stores there is about seven of them. There is five real estate agencies in West Farms, there one called Chadwick Realty group. There are nine hair/barber shops in West Farms; there are three on my block alone, there’s Lucy’s Unisex salon, Ace’s barber shop to name some.
The infrastructure in my community needs some improvement when it comes to the sidewalks; it’s really bad there are cracks, bumps it’s not safe people trip on the sidewalk because of the damage. The roads need work as well there are potholes that need be filled in, road bumps and the road needs to be repainted. The tree care in this community is good the parks department comes often to do maintenance on the trees.
After my walkabout in my community I’ve have identify some my community strengths and weakness. Some of the strengths include the parks, the Bronx Zoo and the religious institutions. Some the weakness are the high crime rate, the lack of healthier food options and for some reason there are no trash cans on every block; and for the blocks that have one its always over full; and this community have a big problem when it comes to picking after their dogs, it makes the community smell really bad and look dirty.