Wellpoint in the Community
After re-examining and updating our equity and inclusion efforts, Wellpoint Care Network has been focusing on ways to become a better neighbor, both through our direct services and our work facilitating connections. It’s all part of an effort to better know our neighbors and contribute to a thriving community in our surrounding area and across Milwaukee.
“We’re transitioning from a long history of direct care on our campus into doing more community care in neighborhoods,” says Alex Williams, Wellpoint’s first Director of Community Engagement. He believes building strong relationships is a critical foundation of our efforts. “We’re an organization that serves people. The people in our community should be the driving force of everything we do.”
We all know that living in supportive, healthy communities helps families thrive. Adults who have strong connections and resources have more tools at their disposal to raise healthy and safe children. Environments with resources like affordable housing, healthy food, transportation access and neighbors who know and look out for one another help build resilient communities that can recover more easily from challenges.
Connecting with people where they are
To begin having those vital conversations, Wellpoint has begun hosting more community events (like our Back-To-School Bash in August) where guests can enjoy food and fun activities alongside information about our services and those of other organizations.
“We want our services to be available and accessible across neighborhoods and communities,” says Williams. “We want people to know that anyone can reach out to us and receive care.”
We’ve also increased our presence at events put on by other organizations, where we share information about our work and run activities like “Regulation Stations” where attendees learn hands-on how to manage stress in a fun, healthy way.
While some of our services have been doing community engagement work for a long time, the entire organization is taking intentional steps toward being more community-facing. To make that transition, Williams wants to ask the people around us what they’d like to see from us, and there are needed service areas that have been overlooked. “We want to do our part to contribute to a thriving local community, and we know the people in our neighborhood are the experts.”
Attending and hosting community events allows us to maximize the reach of our skills and services, says Williams. “It also provides the opportunity to learn what people already know about Wellpoint, so we can know if we need to update our outreach approach.”
GROWING COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS
Wellpoint is also making exciting new updates to our campus on Capitol Drive to help bring the neighborhood to us. In addition to renovations that will offer indoor community gathering spaces, we recently opened the Wellpoint Care Network Community Garden. This garden will be a shared space with individual and family plots, a community grow space, and a Peace Garden to help facilitate healing through nature and serve as a safe gathering place for all.
Interested in having your own plot in our Community Garden? Please reach out to Alex Williams at 414-465-5131. He will be reaching out to all interested parties in early 2023, in advance of growing season.
Communities need stability to BE Resilient
At Wellpoint, we use the Five Pillars of Stability framework to help individuals and families meet their needs. We know access to the Five Pillars is heavily influenced by the community environment. When local resources offer ample opportunities, it is easier for families to achieve and maintain stability. And getting help is easier when people have caring connections with others their community.
Ultimately, we want to support individuals and communities tapping into the resources and connections that already exist. As Alex puts it, “Our role is to lift people up and help make or grow connections, to make sure that people have the tools in their toolboxes” so they can achieve the goals they set for themselves.
By expanding our community engagement efforts and opening more of our campus to our neighbors, we hope to do our part to break down barriers to connection and care and facilitate an environment where children, families and community members can thrive.
To learn more about upcoming Wellpoint outreach activities, sign up for our To The Point newsletter below, or follow us on Facebook. And keep an eye out for the Wellpoint van at events near you!