The "U-Matter" Schenectady campaign kicked off on Saturday. A coalition of more than 40 organizations and county officials are hoping to better understand not just health concerns, but also people's social needs. Karen Tararache was there to find out how they are getting it done on a hyper-local level.
SCHENECTADY, N.Y. -- You matter. That's the motto of fifteen community health workers who went door to door in Schenectady on Saturday.
"U-Matter" Project Coordinator, Erin Buckenmeyer, said, "We want to get out there and survey our community residents and determine what the needs are."
Kicking off the first of twelve weekends, participants will be asked to answer over 100 questions about their health concerns and social issues.
"We really want to start thinking about health in general so very broadly. What are all the things that effect someone's ability to be healthy and make healthy choices," added Erin.
Coordinators believe once these problems are identified, organizations that provide healthcare, social and educational services can work with elected officials to fix them.
Mayor Gary McCarthy explained, "This survey will give us the factual data to support the fine tuning of that effort so that we as leaders in the community or citizens will understand that we are spending our dollars in the most appropriate way."
Health needs and social needs differ so much from neighborhood to neighborhood. That is why it's so important for community health workers to go door to door and meet people face to face in Schenectady to say, “You Matter!”
Schenectady resident, Betty Shaw, 87, has survived strokes and cancer; but said it's now something else, getting in the way of everyday life.
"If you'd please fix the sidewalks so I could go for a walk without killing myself. They're awful," said Shaw.
"U-Matter" hopes the anonymous surveys will help people to be honest, resulting in some much needed changes being made in the community.