GSBC – Solution-Oriented Community Engagement

Earlier this week I was invited to a “Meet & Greet” held by the Great South Bay Coalition Against Substance Abuse (GSBC) at the Bayport-Blue Point Library. I understood this to be a meeting where the community leaders and “social workers” networked with one another under the umbrella of what the Great South Bay Coalition is all about “….empowering, promoting, and improving the physical, mental, and spiritual health of our community to reduce the impact of substance abuse”. One thing I have come to appreciate about the GSBC is that the motto of the coalition is not to necessarily have the answers, but the empower the community, promote the community endeavors, and to highlight the the improvement that is happening through community endeavors.

Unfortunately, drugs, especially heroin, have wreaked havoc all across Long Island. The towns surrounding the Great South Bay have all been affected, and we continue to see the effects day in and day out – everything from crime to overdoses and deaths. So many community leaders, so many community organizations, and even so many individuals have worked tirelessly to figure out what we can do to ward off what seems to be an epidemic. It’s fair to say that many are tired, frustrated, and worried.

However, there is a growing tide of people who have grown restless with being tired, frustrated and worried, and are using that frustration to be motivated to instigate authentic, creative solutions. I saw this type of thinking in the “community boards” that were set up at the GSCB event. They had one sign for “Community Concerns”, another for “Things You Can Do (or are doing) to Help”, “Things You Love About Your Community” and others. Wow! Great idea.

As a local pastor who is always keeping in mind my call to “bear the burdens of others”, you surely know I made my way over to the board at the end of the night. The list of “stick notes” that offered concerns of our community were as follows:

“Easy access to drugs”

“Drugs/ Alcohol – parents allowing; underage drinking”

“Drugs!”

“We should focus on all teens interests to prevent…substance abuse”

“The youth seem bored”

“We should get young adult activities at the new park @ the Firehouse Deli”

“Need more things for teenagers to do,

“Mental health awareness”

“Self-esteem and purpose development”

I organized the like-minded ideas together to demonstrate some clarity on what I am putting forth in this blog- they all up to drugs, teens and young adults need things to happen in the community that interest them, and the need for mental health awareness and growth. All things that will require a community as was mentioned at the “Meet & Greet” the other night. Not the community all necessarily doing one thing, but each different organization and/or person doing something.

“Never doubt that a group of thoughtful, concerned, and committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has”. – Margaret Mead, Sociologist

I write all of this as I look through social media and am inspired by an authentic community action happening in the Bayport-Blue Point Area. Earlier this week there was a fire in Bayport, and Bayport United Methodist Church along with the Johnny Mac Foundation have teamed up to get donations and support for this family.

To combat the drug problem, especially heroin, in our area, The Blue Point Bible Church, opened our doors to Heroin Anonymous (HA) about 2 ½ years ago. This “program” has proven to be fruitful in changing lives because of the committed team of men and women that believe they can use their experiences with addiction to help those still suffering. They meet at the Church – Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday nights. Here is the website,

I (Pastor Michael Miano) having had a rather “troubled youth”, have a care and concern to see our youth being given authentic opportunities to find positive role models who are interested in investing in their lives. After attending various different community and youth oriented meetings, I began to be burdened that something different needs to be done to reach the youth. I have listened to and shared my ideas with out County Police Commissioner in regards to reaching the youth (more discussion in the future, God willing).

At The Blue Point Bible Church we have been having “strategic planning meetings” for months now concerning the youth, and surely we hope the community will get involved – empowering, promoting, and improving the lives of our youth. Two developments have come out of these meetings which I believe further work toward alleviating some of the concerns that were listed at the “Meet & Greet” – a cohort of Christians adults from Sayville, Bayport, and Blue Point teaming up through and with a program called “Young Life” to reach the young lives by helping them developing meaningful and healthy relationships with their peers – on their turf according to their sub-culture. We would love for others to get involved, all you simple have to do is contact Pastor Miano (contact information will be provided below).

Also, we are putting together a “extremely different youth group” (XD Youth) at The Blue Point Bible Church that will focus on a fun-engaging environment, authentic mentors, and enabling youth to develop a worldview that is wholesome, worthwhile, and beautiful. We would love for others to be involved with this effort as well. Simply contact Pastor Miano.

To help with the mental health, self-esteem, and purpose development we would simply invite people to get involved with the ministry at Blue Point Bible Church, where we seek to enhance our lives by “making known the manifold wisdom of God” through study and fellowship. Also, I will soon be hosting a weekly class at the Bayport-Blue Point Library which will be dedicated to helping people find “life to the full” through a course I call L.I.F.E. Seminars. Keep your eyes on the “bulletin boards” at the Library.

Prayerfully, you are convinced that it takes a community to heal a community, and all things are possible, if we keep the faith.

Blessings in Christ,

Pastor Michael Miano

Blue Point Bible Church

(631) 363-6111/ Email – ChristianityGoneWild@Yahoo.com

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