Athens Wellbeing Project

The Unified Government of Athens-Clarke County is partnering with the Clarke County School District, the Athens Area Community Foundation, Family Connection-Communities in Schools, the United Way of Northeast Georgia, and the University of Georgia to undertake the community-wide Athens Wellbeing Project (AWP). 

The mission of the AWP is to integrate the planning efforts and improve the outcomes achieved by local institutions, organizations, and community stakeholders through collecting and sharing open-access, neighborhood-level data that is representative of Athens-Clarke County's population. 

More than 100 UGA graduate students led by Neighborhood Leaders from Family Connection-Communities in School undertook door-to-door data collection for the Athens Wellbeing Project from September 19 through November 18. These teams of Neighborhood Leaders and students from the School of Social Work and the College of Public Health collected data from neighborhoods all over Athens-Clarke County through anonymous, voluntary 15-20 minute surveys. 

The 15-20 minute household survey being used in the AWP's inaugural year was designed by a team of researchers at the University of Georgia, led by Dr. Grace Bagwell Adams in the College of Public Health.

"We're asking basic questions," says Dr. Bagwell Adams, "but the answers add up to a map – both literally and figuratively – of how to improve housing, transportation, lifelong learning, community safety, wealth and employment, civic vitality, and health in Athens." 

Following data collection, information will be analyzed and then disseminated to the public in summer 2017. Data collection is completely anonymous; it will not include participants' names or any identifying information about individual households. Results will be reported at the "neighborhood" level, which is defined locally as elementary school attendance zones. 

Each institutional partner has specific plans to utilize the data once it is available next year. For example, the Clarke County School District plans to provide their new Local School Governance Teams with data on each elementary attendance zone. 

The Unified Government will also use the data from the AWP in a number of ways. The Athens-Clarke County Police Department hopes to use the data to strengthen its community policing strategy. 

"We recognize that community safety is about more than law enforcement," says Chief Scott Freeman. "Sponsoring summer camps, health fairs, and basketball tournaments may not be typical police department activities, but listening to our neighbors is how this Police Department builds relationships and strengthens neighborhoods from within."

The Athens-Clarke County Housing and Community Development Department (HCD) plans to use the data from the AWP to help determine areas of need related to the department's activities, including identifying gaps in services to help set goals.

For more information from the Unified Government of Athens-Clarke County on the Athens Wellbeing Project, contact the ACC Housing and Community Development Director at 706-613-3155.

Learn more about the Athens Wellbeing Project at www.athenswellbeingproject.org.

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