Partnership with Bristol Cares Coalition

Bristol Cares Coalition Improves Sense of Community in Bristol Township
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A partner of Bristol Township School District, Bristol Cares is a prevention-based coalition developed to support positive youth development, and works to create a sense of community in Bristol Township and Bristol Borough.

Bristol Cares Coalition opened the Martha Miller No Longer Bound Community Center at 5616 Mitchell Road in March, and is currently planning exciting programs for the summer that are backed by data.

Damita Harris, Prevention Manager of Bristol Cares Coalition and No Longer Bound, says they are a data-driven coalition.

“We use survey data that was collected from Bristol Township School District to find elevated risks that we need to respond to,” said Harris.

The 2021 survey data from YouthTruth and Pennsylvania Youth Survey (PAYS), found three of those risks that Bristol Cares hopes to improve: belonging, mental health and food insecurity.

In the YouthTruth survey only 29% of students felt strongly that they belonged at school. As a result, Bristol Cares is making sure they are helping students form relationships and build community through their programming.

Their youth summer camp will help students make new friends through engaging, team-building activities. Additionally, Bristol Cares is planning programs for young people and families, and movie nights.

Bristol Cares also hopes these programs will improve students’ mental health as many reported in PAYS that they needed more supports.

“Our goal is to create opportunities for students to share, heal, and connect with each other,” said Harris.

Bristol Cares is also collaborating with Digital Promise to create these positive opportunities.

Another focus area that came to light in PAYS was food insecurity with 13.9% of students reporting that they were worried about running out of food in the past year. That data was from November and with food prices rising, the numbers have likely increased.

To address food insecurity, Bristol Cares is partnering with United Way and Buck County Opportunity Council to come up with an action plan.

Harris would love to hear more youth and parent voice to know what types of programs they are interested in.

“We need volunteers for feedback, assistance at events, community outreach, and mentorship,” said Harris. “We need parents involved because it really does take a village for all of us to thrive.”

Parents are also invited to attend Bristol Cares’ monthly meetings on the third Wednesday of each month. They share data and resources, and collaborate on building community.

To contact Bristol Cares, email [email protected].

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