The Experience – From the Participants!
Neighborhood Connections to Health has been working towards the creation of the Freehold Intergenerational Community Council (FICC) during 2020. While COVID has caused modifications in original plans, it has also provided opportunities to improve the participation of those who have applied, leading to a more empowering process. NCTH has strived through the FICC selection process to provide resources and guidance, but NOT make the decisions.
The process is best articulated by those who have participated. Below, a recap from Emma Howson, a 15-year old member of the FICC Selection Committee, discusses what originally drew her to apply for FICC, but also how the selection process made her feel.
“In March of this year, my mother approached me after dinner with a proposition. She had received an email from the superintendent of my brother’s school system about this thing called “FICC” and, knowing I had been involved in the National Junior Honor Society, she thought that I would have a good chance of getting in. In typical teenage fashion, I was initially pretty hesitant to apply for FICC since my mother suggested it. However, my mom kept talking about how much it couldn’t hurt to apply and eventually I relented. I filled out the application and promptly forgot about it. Months later I got an email saying I was accepted into the FICC selection committee and that we would soon start meeting. My previous apathy toward the group was left in the dust. I was actually quite excited to be a part of, not only FICC, but the group that would select its members! With a bit of nervousness, I joined the first Zoom meeting. It was awkward initially, but after a meeting or two, everyone in the group warmed up to each other.
So far, I’ve loved FICC. I feel like everyone listens to me when I have something to say; they pay attention to me, even when I rant about how much I don’t like red cabbage (yes that actually happened). But I also feel like working with FICC gives me an opportunity to connect with people my age as well as those who are older. I am sometimes shy, and talking to people I don’t know well is intimidating to say the least. During the selection process, I collaborated with several people from different walks of life. This definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone in the best way. One person in particular that I worked with was Krystina. She and I partnered up to select several candidates who made it to the final vote. It was really fun to work with her and hear her perspective on the candidates she thought were suitable for FICC. And when I worked with the whole group, I felt appreciated and that my voice mattered.
In conclusion, my experience with FICC has exceeded my expectations, and I’m glad that it has turned out to be so interesting and rewarding. I can’t wait for FICC’s future and I’m excited to be a part of it.”
NCTH thanks Emma and the full FICC Selection Committee for her work, dedication, and willingness to share her experiences. We are greatly looking forward to the next steps, welcoming the full FICC group together to begin the next phases of the project.
About the Grantee
Neighborhood Connections to Health (NCTH) is a community non-profit organization, which began as a portion of the work of the Visiting Nurses Association (VNA). NCTH was formed in 2016 and currently works under 4 priority areas: Intergenerational Physical Activity, Bikeability/Walkability, Lead Prevention and Access to Healthy Foods.