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Beaufort County 360 tackles tough social issues

Unhealthy lifestyles, behavioral health problems, homelessness, illiteracy — these are common problems for communities nationwide, and Beaufort County is no exception.

Despite the best efforts of community nonprofits and other organizations, these problems often prove too big for any one group to tackle. That’s part of the reason for the existence of Beaufort County 360, a coalition of local agencies working to help improve the lives of local people. Last week, the group gathered at Cornerstone Family Worship Center to share some recent success stories.

“We cannot do this by ourselves,” said Bishop James McIntyre, who served as the keynote speaker during the group’s meeting. “We need one another. It’s harmony; it’s being in agreement with one another about our purpose. Unity is acceptance and acknowledging the many negative challenges that face the citizens of our community. BC360 is a collaboration of agencies who recognize these challenges and are united to meet some of them to create a better quality and quantity of life for the citizens of our county.”

Most recently, the group was instrumental in the establishment of the Open Door Community Center, a homeless shelter for women and their children in Washington. With task groups focused on each of the issues the group hopes to address, other projects are in the works, including the establishment of lending libraries throughout the community and developing resources for behavioral health and substance abuse.

Currently, strategic planning is underway to guide the efforts of BC360 for the next five years. By banding together, Beaufort County Health Department Director James Madson says the group has been able to make strides that might not have happened otherwise.

“It falls into the collaboration effort,” Madson said. “I think it strengthens everybody’s goals. By lining everybody up, it reduces duplication of services, provides for a better referral network and helps align the different agencies in tackling problems. I think with the multiplication of these efforts, it’s easier to tackle these big problems.”