What do we want for Waco?

By Ashley Bean Thornton

Sometimes people wonder about the things that get included in the Act Locally Waco newsletter. Why do we include things like “Art on Elm” or “Do Well, Be Well with Diabetes” or “First Friday Downtown.” What do these things have to do with reducing poverty?

It’s because poverty is not a problem like a weed that can be pulled out. Poverty is a vacuum. It’s a hole where something good should be, but isn’t. The only way to make the hole smaller is to put the good things in, things like healthy lifestyles, a booming economy, art, beauty, opportunity. To make Waco a great place to live we need to focus on what we want, not just on what we don’t want (poverty).

With that in mind Act Locally Waco uses the following twelve aspirations as a guide. They are a slightly modified version of the aspirations adopted by the Poverty Solutions Steering Committee and presented to the Waco City Council in June of 2012. They express what we want for Waco. Is this what you want too? If so, join us! Get informed. Get involved! Get a great community!

What we want for Waco…

1. To improve the health of our children and to support healthy, safe lives for all. – More children in Waco will be born healthy and more residents of Waco will be healthy throughout their lives. We will all be safe.

2. To prepare our children for success in school and beyond. – More children in Waco will start school ready to succeed, and more children will succeed through high school graduation.

3. To launch our young people into productive lives. – More young people in Waco will successfully make the transition from school to productive work that pays enough to establish a satisfying quality of life, and more will know how to manage resources wisely to sustain that quality of life.

4. To gainfully employ our working-age population. – More Waco residents will find and keep jobs that pay enough to sustain a satisfying quality of life without the need of government assistance, and more will know how to manage their resources wisely to maintain that quality of life.

5. To care for our elderly population. – More of the elderly people in Waco will have the resources they need to live out their lives with security and dignity.

6. To support residents who face special challenges. – More Waco residents who face physical, mental and social challenges will have the resources they need to live their lives with security and dignity.

7. To align our social services effectively. – Social-services and policy will be coordinated to effectively support upward mobility from economic dependence to independence where possible, and to effectively and respectfully serve those for whom independence is not possible.

8. To strengthen our neighborhoods. – More of our neighborhoods and residential areas in Waco will be clean, safe and attractive. Neighbors will work effectively together to accomplish common goals.

9. To make our shared spaces beautiful. – More of our shared public spaces and commercial spaces will be clean, safe, attractive, accessible and accommodating.Logo - 11-30-2012

10. To energize our economic base. – Our local economy will create more job opportunities with the living wages needed to help employees achieve their goals.

11. To empower our residents. – More residents of Waco will have the cultural, political and leadership skills and sense of responsibility to advocate effectively for themselves, their families and their communities. More people will participate in the collaborative work of making our city a great place to live for every person of every income level.

12. To enjoy life together! – Waco residents and visitors, regardless of socio-economic status, will enjoy opportunities to appreciate natural beauty, to have fun, to enjoy the arts and to grow socially and culturally.

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