Bryan is one of the cities located in Brazos County in the State of Texas. Being a metropolitan area, the city is inhabited by people of different races, including whites, African Americans, Asians, Indians, and other races. According to the United States national census conducted in 2010, Bryan City had a population of 76,201 (USCB, 2015). The survey further reported 22,694 youths living in the community (USCB, 2015). Thus, in this paper, the community evaluation will focus on the young generation. Since the youths in the community have experienced a deterioration in their social wellness, the community must consider investing in various resources that will improve the lives of the young generation.
Phase 1. Definition of the Community
The target population for the community assessment is youths between 5-19 years in the community of Bryan City. The youths in the community play various roles, including volunteering in various organizations that serve the community in various capacities. In addition, the youths participate in recreational activities, such as sports, meant to entertain and unite the community. Bryan City borders other communities such as Caldwell, Calvert, and Franklin.
Bryan City exists in the region separated from other communities by Brazos Valley that covers Brazos, Robertson, and Burleson Counties in Texas. The community lives in a metropolitan area that connects to other communities outside the region by transport networks. The transport networks allow the community members access other parts of Texas. Therefore, the group is not limited to urban settings since they can access other regions. Thus, the community assessed is located in Bryan City Metropolitan area within Brazos County in the State of Texas (Map Technica, n.d.).
Purpose of the Assessment
This community assessment is being conducted to establish gaps in resource allocation and social wellness of the young generation. Once done with the evaluation, recommendations will be proposed to bridge the gaps and ensure that the lives of youths improved through policy development. Due to time constraints, the community assessment will take place from 8/8/2016 and it will last for one week. I expect to mobilize financial resources from parents and other well-wishers to facilitate the assessment activities.
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Phase Two: Assessment
Demographics of the Community
Based on the National Census conducted in the year 2010, Bryan City has a population of 76, 201 people living in the region (USCB, 2015). According to the 2010 census statistics, the young generation between 5-19 years comprised 22,694 of the total population (USSB, 2015). The entire population of the youths comprised of 8,459 male and 14,235 female (USCB, 2015). The city had 27,725 households of which 16,702 were family units and 11,023 were non-family units (USCB, 2015). Among the homes, 13,370 were owner occupied and 17,212 rented (USCB, 2010).
According to National Survey of Business Owners of 2012, Bryan City had 6,803 business establishments (USCB, 2012a). The economy of Bryan city relies on various sectors that have employed a significant number of the working class. Based on the national survey of 2010, the economy employed 10,870 people in the community (USCB, 2015). The survey also reported 234 healthcare facilities and 7 education centers (USCB, 2012a).
The American Community Survey performed in the year 2014 established that based on education levels of the community members, 33.3% of people with less than high school attainment were poor, and 23.6% high school graduates languished in poverty (National Center for Children in Poverty, 2014). Those who attained college certificates comprised 15.3%, while Bachelor’s Degree graduates comprised 6.7% of the poor population (National Center for Children in Poverty, 2014). Furthermore, 25% of children lived in poverty in a household where parents were unemployed (National Center for Children in Poverty, 2014).
Juvenile Criminal Cases
According to statistics provided by County Juvenile Court Counts, the county of Brazos, where Bryan City is located, had a higher record of children’s court cases to the tune of 507 in the year 2013 (Hockenberry, Smith, & Kang, 2013).
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Youth Risky Behaviors
Based on the survey conducted by Center for Disease Control and Prevention in 2013, many youths engaged in risky sexual behaviors in the State of Texas (CDC, 2013). Thus, according to the study, 2,853 youths reported to have had sex and 2,858 had sexual intercourse before attaining age 13 years (CDC, 2013). In addition, 908 youths reported engaging in sex without using contraceptives (CDC, 2013). The survey further reported that 3,040 youths had consumed alcohol and 3,144 youths had begun drinking alcohol before attaining age 13 years (CDC, 2013). The most amazing part of the survey is that 1,042 youths consumed alcohol given to them by other people (CDC, 2013). More to say, 3,087 youths consumed marijuana and 3,089 youths accepted to have consumed marijuana before age 13 years (CDC, 2013).
Many youths were also reported to engage in violence and other unintentional injuries. According to the CDC Survey (2013), 3,073 youths were involved in physical fights with their colleagues, while 3,094 young people carried some crude weapons to school. Among the youths surveyed, 3,128 reported having been forced into sexual intercourse by their peers, while 3,169 reported having driven while drunk (CDC, 2013). Furthermore, 3,143 youths admitted having considered committing suicide (CDC, 2013). Regarding weight and obesity, 3,039 children were reported to be obese, and 3,039 were overweight (CDC, 2013). Despite knowing about the risks of overweight, 3,124 young people admitted having ignored any efforts to reduce their weight (CDC, 2013). Apart from the youths who had reported having abused drugs, 3,120 also admitted having sold and offered illegal substances on school premises (CDC, 2013).
Children School Enrollment
Regarding children enrollment in schools, 15,224 children are recorded in households. Thus, 12,809 children were enrolled with 94.5% in public schools, while 5.5% were enrolled in private institutions, and the remaining 1,687 children did not enroll in any school (USCB, 2012b).
Due to financial constraints, I could not afford to hire a private car for the purpose of data generation from the community but instead resorted to public means of transport. During my survey, I observed the following:
Transportation. My first observation in the community was the principal means of transport used by community members. The community members used limousine services, taxi services, buses, and shuttles to go about their business and get to various destinations. The limousine and taxi services were majorly used by both local and foreign tourists to visit sites of attraction within the community. Motorcycles and bicycles were also other means of transport employed by the community in the city. While many people used public transport, others resorted to walking home from work in cases where the distance was manageable.
Business entities and stores. Bryan City hosts some stores and business establishments. Along the streets, I noticed many commercial buildings housing financial institutions such as banks and insurance firms. Retail shops within the community were uncountable together, with some wholesale shops dealing with general merchandise. There were also some manufacturing plants such as Mega Food Blood Builder, Enercon Manufacturing, AGC Industries, Frito-Lays, and many other industries. The community also boasted of some professional consulting firms and private services providers like schools and hospitals. There were also some billboards along the streets and some were mounted on top of buildings in the city. Other media displays included signboards of various institutions within the community.
Parks and places of worship. The community of Bryan City boasts of some parks and recreational centers. For instance, the Sue Haswell Park is located to the East of the city and Tangle Wood Park is located south East and close to College Station. Most of the places of worship in the community were churches. The churches identified included Living Word Worship Center, Life Church, Kingdom Ranch Church, and many others. Most of the churches were established in the heart of the city.
City hygiene. The City of Bryan experienced congestion with much space occupied by residential and commercial buildings. Many buildings were firmly packed, leaving little space between them. Most of the homes in the community were old, suggesting early settlement in the region. The community maintained some level of standard hygiene as I observed two major waste management organizations namely, Bid Dumpster and Texas Commercial Waste. Most of the prominent streets in the city were clean despite some little scraps seen along pathways in the community.
People. The community comprised of people from various races, including whites, blacks, Asians, and Indians. Most of the people out in the community were business people, social workers, schoolchildren, sportsmen, and women. Some people were present in the recreational centers and parks engaged in various social events.
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My primary focus was on the youths of the community. The city is endowed with some schools including elementary levels, middle schools, and high schools. There were also some tertiary colleges within the community. The existence of schools indicated a high standard of community development regarding education. All the young generation had access and opportunity to attend schools to acquire knowledge. The population of youth in the community is large, leading to some level of congestion in the existing schools. Most of the schools had private ownership and only three were public schools.
Peer-to-peer interaction was promoted by numerous opportunities in the community. The community has some parks and recreational centers where many youths converge to participate in various social events, including sports. There are also many youth programs facilitated by various organizations such as health centers, community centers, and children homes. All these avenues provided children with opportunities to interact and learn from one another. In most cases observed, the youths were peaceful and they exhibited respect and honor for one another and other members of the community. In addition, there were several volunteer programs where the teens could spend their time and their skills could serve the public in various capacities. The young people in the community appeared safe in their environment despite some risk factors that endangered their lives. Most of the students were seen riding bicycles without helmets and for those who traveled by motorbikes, they had no helmets for protection. They were vulnerable to accidents, thus sustaining injuries. Their lives were endangered by some motorists who appeared to be driving carelessly and over speeding on the roads.
Teachers, nurses, parents, and law enforcers were interviewed. Teachers were impressed with the large population of teens in school. They also cited volunteer programs that engaged youths during holidays. Many schools in the community had exchange programs that allowed students to interact with others from various schools. More to say, teachers mentioned many recreational centers and playing grounds that allowed young people interact through many social events.
Law enforcers were critical of parents and motorists. The officers cited carelessness by some drivers and riders that had cost some young people their lives. The officers cited the lack of proper parental guidance leading to many young people indulge in risky behaviors such as alcohol and substance abuse, violence and sexual engagements. The officers added that some parents consumed alcohol and other drugs, thus making it possible for the young people access them quickly.
Most parents decried high cost of living and poverty that hindered some young people from continuing their education. The three public schools in the community were inadequate to accommodate the large population of teens, forcing most parents to enroll their children in private institutions that were quite costly. Average income earners found it difficult to cope with life due to high costs of rental houses.
Nurses have reported that the community is generally healthy. Both public and private hospitals offer inpatient and outpatient services; hence, members could easily access health services. On safety, nurses cited fire departments in the community and police who patrolled streets day and night. They added that most youths were engaged in physical activities such as walking, riding, and playing various games in recreational centers, thus minimizing cases of obesity. However, more disability facilities are required in the community.
Similarities in data. Based on data collected and generated, it is evident that the community comprises of people from different races such as Indians, Asians, African Americans, whites, and other races. The two sets of data were also similar regarding economic activities and businesses within the community. In addition, the two sets of data revealed the same idea of youths’ involvement in the risky behavior. The data collected revealed some young people consuming alcohol and other drugs like marijuana. The same situation was confirmed by law enforcement officers interviewed. Poverty level within the community was also revealed by the two sets of data.
Disparities in data. There were some disparities in the two sets of data. The data collected revealed that only seven schools existed in the community, but the data generated revealed more than 30 schools. The disparity could have been contributed to the time difference in data gathering. Another disparity was with the number of young people enrolled in schools. The data collected reported a lower number of youths in schools, but as was later confirmed by teachers, more youths were enrolled in various schools.
Strengths of the Community
The community living in the city of Bryan boasts of many strengths and achievements. The community has maintained standards of hygiene, thus minimizing cases of disease outbreaks. Furthermore, several social amenities provide opportunities for families to bond together and allow children interact with their peers. Many physical activities keep the community healthy. Finally, the young generation has been engaged in many programs that keep them busy and transform their lives such as youth programs, volunteer programs, and school exchange programs.
Recommendations for Improvement
The government should expand its funding programs to students in private schools to ease the burden of paying fees by low-income parents. Public education on drugs and substance abuse is critical and highly recommended for the community. The government should also establish more facilities for the disabled group. A significant population of the young generation is disabled and they struggle to cope with life due to insufficient facilities.
Bryan City community enjoys a stable economy with many business establishments. Some community members are formally employed while others are in self-employment. With many households living in rental houses, the average income cannot sustain many families. Most children are enrolled in private schools due to the inadequate amount of public schools. Since many youths engage in risky behaviors, more education programs should be established to enhance their knowledge of drugs and substance abuse, self-discipline, and sexual behavior. More disability facilities should be established to assist disabled youths to cope with life.