The Shaping Dover project has faced challenges which have been dealt with as they appear. However, there have been important key factors which have helped the Shaping Dover team get closer to its goals. Moreover, the help of facilitators and resources have been an important element in order to further the success of our initiative.
Our project has been well received by community leaders and the public in general. This factor has helped in the development of our mission. However, we have also come across some challenges particularly in the engagement of restaurant owners. Approximately 25 owners have been contacted and invited to attend our meetings. Some business owners have attended but some do complain of the lack of time they have in order to assist to the nutritional courses. Moreover, some business owners have been afraid of making a physical change in their menus.
The challenges mentioned above have been addressed and discussed with the Shaping Dover team. First, in regards to the lack of time the business owners shared, the team scheduled more trainings on many different dates and at various times during the course of the day. Moreover, the team rapidly engaged Susan Downer, Health Inspector for the Town of Dover, who shared her experience about working with restaurant owners in the Dover community. She is also working together with the Shaping Dover team in order to implement nutritional courses for restaurant owners and their employees. Business owners will be invited to participate in the Shaping Dover nutritional courses and simultaneously gain a certificate from the Health Department of Dover which attracts them to our initiative. Additionally, business owners have been reassured that the Shaping Dover’s purpose is not to change but to add a healthy option (s) to their menus which will not in any shape of form affect their current businesses. The town newsletter is an additional resource that has been put in motion. An article letting the public and business owners of our town be aware of our initiative is in the process of being published within its next edition.
Directors from various Child Care Centers in Dover such as, Head Start Community Program, NORWESCAP Early Head Start and Little Peoples Academy have volunteered to help conduct the questionnaires needed to assess the physical and nutritional habits of Dover residents. Zufall Health Center will also help conduct these surveys. Volunteers from Morris County Family Success Center are also in the process of conducting surveys to the public. We are extremely content with the progress the Shaping Dover team has done. Regardless of the challenges we have faced the Shaping Dover team has managed to make great use of resources and has gotten the support of great community leaders and volunteers.