Every two years, ICAN conducts a community needs assessment to ensure that high-quality programs are offered to empower youth to be productive, self-confident and responsible members of the community. The results of this assessment identify the current conditions of the community and provide direction and focus to the planning process of all ICAN programs.
ICAN continues to serve a high percentage of families living in poverty, with an annual income of less than $15,000 for a family of four. More than a third of ICAN families are self-identified as “mother only”, no husband present. The target area is identified as the low to moderate income area of Chandler that falls under the 85225 zip code.
Four main areas were analyzed with the information gathered for this needs assessment: education, substance abuse, healthy lifestyles and community resources.
In the education area, the needs assessment shows that dropout rates continue to be high for the 85225 zip code. Additionally, the majority of schools where ICAN members attend show school report cards with low academic performance, and several of them report high numbers of suspensions during the last school year. Nevertheless, ICAN youth identified that being part of ICAN has helped them to improve their academic success.
The second area analyzed underage substance abuse. The 85225 zip code area continues to be at great risk for alcohol, drugs and tobacco use and abuse among youth. Alcohol continues to be the substance most used by youth followed by marijuana and cigarettes. Results show that parties continue to be the main source of alcohol for youth in general, while parents or family members are the main access for alcohol for younger children.
Healthy Lifestyles was the third area analyzed. Diabetes, poor eating habits, being overweight, lack of exercise, and not going to the doctor or dentist for preventative screenings were some of the most common problems identified for youth living in the target area. Evaluation results indicate that the great majority of youth members report improvement in their appreciation of their health and wellness through ICAN’s programs.
The last section covered in this assessment was community resources. This section covers information related to the risks that youth living in
85225 face including their family, community, school and their friends/peers. Information shows that half of the students living in this area report risk in all areas, which increase youth vulnerability regarding substance abuse, delinquency, school dropout and/or violence. The greatest opportunity for overcoming these risks is to create positive relations with peers and role models at school, which building a stronger believe in the moral order
The needs are evident, and ICAN is here to help address them. ICAN could not accomplish this without the support of generous individuals and businesses in the community who recognize the importance of the work being done. Businesses like DPR Construction, who recently awarded ICAN with a $60,000 grant to support programs, give ICAN the ability to offer quality programs and resources to this community that is in such great need.
To access the entire report, please visit www.icanaz.org/communityneeds