Your Voice Ohio: Involved citizens are key to solving the region’s problems

Community problems can be tackled by citizens working together to overcome problems, but success requires leadership and follow-up, a group of community members said during a Your Voice Ohio forum in Kettering on Tuesday.

Problems identified by the group include hunger, addiction, racism, lack of economic opportunity, lack of transportation and the need for affordable housing.

The meeting, held at the Kettering-Moraine branch of the Dayton Metro Library, is part of an ongoing effort by Ohio news organizations to spark conversations on solutions to the state’s problems.

Your Voice Ohio forums in the region are sponsored by the Dayton Daily NewsWHIO-TV, WYSO public radio and Soapbox Cincinnati.

Arlene Jones of Dayton suggested the “collective impact” model of problem solving, where two strong individuals in a community each find two more people to help and those people each find two more people. The effort then grows and no one person or group has to take on the whole job, she said.

RELATED: Residents share ideas for a happier, more fulfilled Dayton

It is always a challenge to get people to show up for meetings and commit to tasks, said Patricia Cavanaugh, a Kettering resident who is running for city council against incumbent Councilman Bruce Duke. She said people need to get organized, present ideas to leaders and ask them to act.

People will organize around something they care about, said Duke, using as an example the successful effort by citizens in Kettering to keep open the Ridgeway Avenue bridge, which the city considered closing due to the cost of repairs. Funding was obtained and the bridge will now be repaired.

RELATED: Kettering approves additional funding for Ridgeway bridge project

He also cited the drive to put a community-owned grocery store on Salem Avenue in an area of Dayton that had none.

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“That’s a perfect example of that one: how do you get rid of a food desert?” said Duke. “You could do that with education. You could do that with housing. You could do that with crime.”

Previous Your Voice Ohio forums have tackled the problems of addiction and economic disparities.

RELATED: Economic forum: Water, universities among Dayton’s key strengths

The Your Voice Ohio forums continue through Monday. They are free and open to the public. Those scheduled are as follows:

Trotwood: today, October 2, Trotwood Community and Cultural Arts Center, 6-8 p.m.

Dayton: Thursday, October 3, White House Event Center (ground floor of the Jefferson Place Apartment building, 101 E. 2nd St.), 6-8 p.m.

Lebanon: Sunday, October 6, Countryside YMCA, 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.

Springboro: Monday, October 7, YMCA of Greater Dayton – Coffman Family Branch, 6-8 p.m.

Visit for more information.

See Sunday’s Dayton Daily News for more on this story.

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