Creating new opportunities to strengthen community

Person walking down pathway.Selmont, Ala. Renovating an old football field into a community walking trail, turning the old concession stand into a Farmer’s Market, and forming a Community Development Corporation—what’s the common thread? These are all actions that the Selmont Community in Dallas County, Alabama, has underway as a result of participating in Turning the Tide on Poverty.

Working with the Dallas County Strategic Alliance for Health project, committee members have secured funding to renovate the old football field behind Tipton Middle School. The walking trail will literally help people take strides in addressing the county’s high obesity and diabetes rates. Additionally, converting the concession stand into a farmer’s market brings fresh produce within walking distance to an area where the nearest grocery store is more than five miles away.

“This process really works,” stated David Perry, study circle participant.   “Our next step is to host: Selmont—One Year after Turning the Tide on Poverty meeting to let the citizens know what has been accomplished and invite them to come aboard as we continue to move our community forward,” said Sheryl Smedley, committee member.


Washington, La. Over the last year, one of the action teams involved in the Tide project has been working to find new outlets for bringing jobs, education and income to the town.

The action idea and vision is to open a community-run nursery along with allied neighborhood gardens to produce and sell Louisiana native plants. The project has the potential to provide jobs and income to local citizens, as well as to encourage beautification of the community. It could also be coupled with education in local elementary schools to teach young students gardening skills, good banking habits, and the importance of giving back to the community. Such an endeavor would also enhance tourism and business trade that have already been established by the town’s reputation as a historic community.

When Jim Bradshaw, chairman of the project, presented the idea to the Town Council of Washington, they enthusiastically adopted the project and offered appropriate support to the action team.

March 31, 2011

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