Peter Balvanz, Erica Lane, and Alyssa Roberts are a team of graduate students from the Gilling’s School of Public Health, Health Behavior and Health Education Program at UNC Chapel Hill.
Knowing that the greatest experts of a county are its community members, we are in the process of interviewing a wide range of Caswell County citizens in order to learn more about Caswell’s strengths, weaknesses, and concerns. We are seeking insight regarding specific and broad health topics that include: civic life; the built and natural environment; physical, mental, and social health; key stakeholders and groups in the community who affect change; activities, attractions, and entertainment; community values; and the economy. A crucial component of this project is conveying our genuine interest in the community and in building positive relationships. Since beginning this project in September we have taken five trips to Caswell County to obtain a better sense of communities within. One of these trips included a visit to the annual Brightleaf Ho-down where we enjoyed live music and local fare while talking to individuals at various booths, including beekeepers, health care workers, booster club members, and enjoyed a meal hosted by the Fire Department. We were excited by the turnout despite a constant light drizzle that likely deterred people from coming. On a recent trip we visited the Caswell County Health Department in an attempt to better understand the services provided in the area, as well as the difficulties faced to provide a wide range of services to its citizens. Each time we visit we are greeted warmly by residents of the area, and each time we leave we excitedly anticipate the next visit. Yanceyville, the county seat, has many assets to draw people including, but not limited to, a pleasant, scenic atmosphere rich in history, numerous quality restaurants, and a civic center with live performances. Despite these draws, some Yanceyville citizens are concerned with outmigration and the lack of recreation for visitors to supplement the existing strong restaurant scene. In future visits we aim to learn more about the active senior community as well as visit other health care providers in the area.