Community residents, Coalition Board members and Magnolia Project staff participated in the 2012 Annual Spring Conference of the National Healthy Start Association held recently in Washington D.C. The conference brought together representatives from the 103 federal Healthy Start programs across the country and featured an array of workshops and poster presentations, including one on the Coalition’s PhotoVoice project. Conference participants also had a chance to visit Capitol Hill to meet with U.S. Congressmen and Senators.
“It was truly an honor to meet the staff member of Senator Bill Nelson, and a staff member of Congresswoman Corrine Brown. The conference speakers were just so motivational and an encouragement to me,” said Gladys Rivers, a resident of New Town who was involved in the Strengthening the Voices of Women in New Town PhotoVoice project. She and fellow participant Dana Gregg represented the project at the poster session.
PhotoVoice is a grassroots process in which photography is used by regular citizens to promote social action in their community. It was implemented over 18 months in the New Town neighborhood of Jacksonville. Eight women, who were mothers or caregivers of children age 0-5, participated in the project, documenting neighborhood supports and challenges to raising a family. Photos taken by the women were featured in an ArtWalk exhibit last year. The women also advocated for changes to address the problems they identified in their neighborhood.
Also attending the national meeting were Carmen Ress and Isadora Howell, members of the Magnolia Project Community Council; Marsha Davis and Angelier Wright, Magnolia Project outreach staff, and Healthy Start Board members Joy Burgess and Rev. Tom Rodgers. Thomas Bryant, director of Institute for Public Health Informatics and Research at the Duval County Health Department, also attended and presented findings from a state study of the coalition-building process.