CBR Project Archives

Addressing the Needs of Volusia County Students (2008)

Samantha Lange (Student) and Jerome Porter (Chisholm Community Center)

My objective was to discover what resources high school students are receiving to help them complete graduation requirements, as well as identify the alternative avenues available to students that do not demonstrate the ability to succeed in the mainstream scholastic program. Deland High School and the greater Volusia County School District and Florida Department of Education have recently taken several steps to add to student resources and options from the time they enter high school through their graduation. Although I initially set out to identify lacking areas in such resources and programs, the real problem seems to be unawareness of the existing programs. The Florida “Ready to Work” program, in particular, is one resource that should be advertised. Business partnerships should be utilized to their fullest potential; programs specifically aimed at increasing class attendance should be pursued. Overall, students have a positive outlook on their high school experience.

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Awareness of Workers' Rights and Aid Resources Among Farm Workers in the Pierson and Seville Communities in Florida (2013)

Alexandria Delgado (Student), Alicja Duda (Student) and Marcos Crisanto (La Plaza Comunitaria)

The purpose of our qualitative research is to investigate migrant farmworkers in the Pierson and Seville communities, particularly their awareness of workers' rights, their exposure to pesticides, and their accessibility to various resources. This cross-sectional qualitative study was conducted with Marcos Crisanto, the coordinator of La Plaza Comunitaria in Pierson and the Redlands Christian Migrant Association (RCMA) office in Seville, where interviews with the farmworkers were conducted. The investigation suggests that farmworkers in the Pierson and Seville communities are in constant exposure to pesticides, are underpaid, and that more than half of the farmworkers are unaware of their rights. We believe that such investigative research is important because our findings may yield valuable information that can benefit community efforts to increase farmworkers' awareness of rights and accessibility to resources.

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Disaster Communication Needs of Elderly Residing in State-Registered 55+ Mobile Home Communities in Volusia County, FL (2007)

Elsie Kraft-Richmond (Student) and Rick Moore (Volusia County Emergency Management)

The goals of this project were to ascertain which methods of communication will be most effective in educating the elderly and those with special needs on disaster preparedness, as well as explore channels and tools to effectively market disaster preparedness information to the elderly and special needs population of Volusia County, FL. 746 self-administered questionnaires were distributed to residents of state-registered 55+ mobile home communities in Volusia County, FL in 2007; data were collected and analyzed from 184 responses. The length of residence did not affect an individual's level of preparedness; although many residents perceived themselves to be at least somewhat prepared, the results showed a desire to acquire preparedness information by attending informational presentations. The major concern of the respondents appears to be where to go in the event of an evacuation order, how to prepare for an evacuation, and how to prepare for temporary living in a shelter. One particular area of concern appears to be a lack of awareness of the existence of special needs shelters. Most importantly, a vast majority of respondents indicate a desire to receive emergency information by telephone. A sophisticated and fully operational reverse 911 system is deemed appropriate as a method of improving disaster communications with the elderly.

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Disaster Research in the Terra Mar Community and Review of Emergency Websites (2013)

Keighla Burns (Student) and Kristen Erichsen (Student)

Stetson University students Keighla Burns and Kristen Erichsen conducted research in the Terra Mar community on behalf of the Volusia County Department of Emergency Management (VCEM) to determine the effectiveness of their tornado response in December 2012, to determine residents' feelings of preparedness for a natural disaster, expectations of VCEM, and the most effective method of communication. We conducted a second research project to determine how VCEM can improve their website. Residents were most concerned with the current warning systems and received the most support from volunteers. The most effective method of communication proved to be cellular phones and television. We found that the members of the Terra Mar Home Owners Associate stated a need for an improved warning system within community and cellphone alerts would likely be an effective method of communication to warn of an oncoming disaster. Television was a common source of information for the residents. Overall, residents do not own disaster preparedness kits, although residents generally feel like they have access to preparedness information, many do not own a disaster preparedness kit. Volunteers are the most vital resource in disaster response, and comments from residents revealed that there was some damage that no agency was responsible for such as debris. Further research should be conducted to determine what would convince residents to gather this kit and to determine what types of in-community warning systems can be put in place.

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Disaster Vulnerability of Citizens in Pierson, FL (2007)

Sara Strickhouser (Student) and Rick Moore (Volusia County Emergency Management)

Twenty-five surveys were conducted in Pierson, FL, to understand how Mexican immigrants behave in times of natural disaster. The results implicated the large language barrier as an impediment to receiving disaster preparedness information. For the information that was getting through, television and radio were popular mediums, as well as family and friends. Newspapers were infrequently used to gain information about a natural disaster. After the natural disaster, 44% of respondents indicated that they would seek out information at their church. Future research should find a way for emergency management to target family and friends as a means for disaster preparedness information.

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Family Structure in the Spring Hill Community of DeLand, FL (2008)

Karen Glick (Student) and Donna Banks (Spring Hill Resource Center)

After conducting interviews with my community partner and church leaders in Spring Hill about the changes in family structure, it seems that on the whole, the age of grandparents is decreasing, there are more marriages, and marriages are lasting longer. Single mother households, as in the US in general, are the most at risk of poverty due to fewer resources.

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Investigating the Missing Link: Effects of Noncompliance and Aging Private Infrastructure on Water-Quality Monitoring (2018)

Adam Cooper (Student), Alexa Fortuna (Student) and Santander Ahuja (Chemists Without Borders)

Because of the "lead ban" amendments to the Clean Drinking Water Act of 1986, new infrastructure has resulted in a drastic reduction in aqueous lead levels. However, many systems installed prior to this legislation, as exemplified by the Flint crisis, can deliver water with high levels of lead. There are disparities in drinking water quality among older communities with aging water infrastructure. This led Dr. Ahuja, VP Special Projects at Chemists Without Borders, to begin a study of water quality in the United States. In DeLand, FL, the concentration of lead is just under the minimum reporting level for federal and state drinking water quality standards. Their poor sample-collection participation may be indicative of governmental distrust, which is found disproportionately in poorer neighborhoods with older infrastructures, and thus a higher risk of contamination. The current lack of policies and funding in place for the replacement of lead-based infrastructure gives little opportunity for affected populations to replace their infrastructure and improve the quality of their drinking water. The first step in solving this issue is to gather data on impacted communities. A community-based approach has been piloted in the Spring Hill neighborhood in DeLand, FL. Lessons learned from this approach can be helpful in determining further community interventions and shaping policy.

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Middle School Life, Home and Community Perception in the Spring Hill Community (2008)

Michael Jones (Student) and Donna Banks (Spring Hill Resource Center)

Early adolescence is an age often overlooked by researchers despite being critical in forming trends of academic success and feelings of connection to the community. The aim of this project was to understand the perceptions, complications and expectations of middle school students (age 10-14) concerning their relationship with their school, family, and community. After conducting both verbal and written polls and interviews with middle school students in the Spring Hill area, it was concluded that middle school-aged kids in Spring Hill feel safe walking around the community alone or with friends, although some felt that the police treated them unfairly. There appeared to be a lack of activities available for the kids after school. Like many youth, it seems there is hesitancy or resistance for them to express their opinion; there is no avenue through which the kids can relay information except through parents and select leaders. It is recommended that Spring Hill develop more activities for the youth, especially leadership-developing programs.

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New Smyrna Urban Blight Project (2013)

Brynn Lipira (Student), Brittany Becker (Student) and Felicia Becker (Student)

[The research goal is] to determine whether or not blight is present in the US 1 Corridor of New Smyrna Beach, Florida, and what types of improvements business owners feel that they need in order to maintain their business sustainably if they choose to keep their business open, and if a community redevelopment area (CRA) would be beneficial in fulfilling the business owners' needs by providing grants for improvements among other assistance. The proposed redevelopment district extends along U.S. 1 from the municipal airport to the Edgewater city limits, along with portions of the Historic Westside community, the Canal Street Historic District and stretch to State Road 44 to include the old Kmart site. The city's current CRA, which was created in 1985, runs through an established boundary that includes the Canal Street, Flagler Avenue and Third Avenue business districts as well as a portion of the Historic Westside.

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Spring Hill Community Needs Assessment (2015-16)

Asal Johnson, PhD (Assistant Professor of Public Health)

A group of Stetson students--with the vision and guidance of the Spring Hill Neighborhood Association and Ms. Shilretha Dixon, alongside the Volusia County Health Department--surveyed community members in the Spring Hill area to identify their most pressing health and safety concerns. The survey was distributed at a local church and was completed by 180 community members, both residents and non-residents of Spring Hill. Dr. Asal Johnson, Professor of Public Health at Stetson, supervised and compiled the final report for this project. Among the findings of the survey was community concern for access to fresh and healthy foods, drug and crime problems, and poverty and unemployment. Since this report was published, several projects have been initiated through collaboration with Spring Hill community leaders to address these concerns, including the Spring Hill community garden and the SNAP station at the Artisan Alley Famers' and Makers' Market.

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Perceived Needs Assessment of the Homeless Community in West Volusia County, FL (2007)

Amanda Price (Student) and Lindsay Roberts (Volusia-Flagler County Coalition for the Homeless)

Homelessness has become an increasing concern in West Volusia County, Fl, in recent years. Since 2003, the Volusia/Flagler Coalition for the Homeless has conducted an annual survey of the homeless, identifying demographic information and noting services deemed necessary by the homeless community. Despite showing trends in the demographic over time, the study provides a superficial insight to their perceived needs. The purpose of this research project is to develop a better understanding of the specific needs of the homeless population in West Volusia County. In this study, a convenience sample of people who utilize the services of shelters and meal programs (n=50) was engaged in a personal semi-structured interview orally about their most recent experiences with a local shelter and meal programs. It was found that the most pressing need is for more overnight accommodations for the homeless in West Volusia and that the meal programs in that area are very effective. These results were used for county planning purposes and the reassignment of an ACT facility in DeLand to homeless use.

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Perceptions of Youth Development Programs in Pierson, FL (2008)

Florencia Abelenda (Student)

This project addressed the apparent lack of extracurricular outlets for the development of youth in Pierson, FL, a town with a large Mexican immigrant population. The schools in Pierson were experiencing gang and drug problems, high dropout and teen pregnancy rates, and low enrollment of its students in college. The town lacked a youth center and leadership roles for youth. Surveys were taken of 49 youth and 59 parents, in addition to in-depth interviews conducted with school officials, youth leaders, and city council members. It was found that youth and parents wanted youth programs in the area, but there was a lack of communication between everyone in the community. The city council was generally uninformed and denied the segregation present in the city. Some suggestions to improve the situation are to create a center or local sports/educational program for the youth and develop leadership roles for youth in the community. More communication amongst community leaders is advised. It is important to pressure the local government to listen to what the youth need and empower them to make good decisions. The results of this study informed the decision to create an after-school sports program, Youth Empowerment through Sports Activities (YESA), as well as other improvements.

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Pesticides and Sanitations in the Fields: Pierson, FL (2008)

Sam Rabin (Student) and Lariza Garzón (National Farm Worker Ministry)

Agriculture in the form of ferneries and nurseries is the main industry in Pierson, Florida. We conducted 70 surveys of farm workers there from March 2007 to March 2008 regarding issues of pesticide safety and health & sanitation laws. We found that laws regarding these issues were routinely violated, with about a fifth of respondents reporting violations for each law examined. Better enforcement is needed to ensure that workers' rights are supported. My community partner plans to use our results to lobby state officials for better enforcement of these laws.

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Walkability Assessment (2018)

Students went into the Spring Hill community, in order to assess how accessible the area is for pedestrians. Walkability is important since it creates a safe environment for exercise, socializing and connecting to community resources. The study measured walkability in terms of infrastructure quality and aesthetic factors, including sidewalk and crosswalk availability, lighting, graffiti markings, building maintenance and safety hazards. By mapping and tracking all of these features, this report shows which areas need to be prioritized, in order to create a safer and more vibrant community.

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Cultural Heritage, Social Well-being, and Public Health of DeLand's African American Community: A Community Assessment (2020)

Victoria Crawford (Student), Chelsea Seaver (Student), Tahira Perry (Student), and Dr. Asal Johnson (Faculty)

Building upon previous research conducted about the J. W. Wright Building's historical role in providing social, health, and economic resources in the Spring Hill community of southwestern DeLand, FL, Stetson students worked with local churches in the Spring Hill community to survey residents about (1) the current state of expressed social well-being and overall health in DeLand's Black community; (2) the need for additional services, top priorities, top concerns, trust issues, and satisfaction levels in DeLand's Black community; (3) understanding how the built environment may affect the community; (4) the historical significance of the Wright Building and how the Wright Building could once again meet identified community needs; and (5) the differences in needs and priorities between Black and White participants.

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