GAVA supports the creation and strengthening of resident teams in micro-neighborhoods or specific geographic areas. These teams are called geographic or “geo teams” and represent groups of people living together who want to make their area a healthier, safer place to live.
GAVA's two geo team organizers one for each zip code, help teams focused on the sectors most relevant to their neighborhood, which might include physical activity and nutrition strategies. But they are also the primary teams who address community safety: traffic calming, pedestrian and bike infrastructure, connectivity, and crime prevention.
GAVA's organizers conduct block walks around neighborhoods to identify people who might be interested in taking leadership to address health concerns on their block, at their local corner store, or at their local park. Interested residents form or join a team with whom they collectively identify the issues they're facing in living healthy lives, and create action plans to address these issues. GAVA helps connect them to partners, resources, and channels for advocacy to advance their strategies.
GAVA resident leaders have also provided testimony at public budget hearings, boards & commissions meetings, and committee meetings to educate our civic leaders on the issues their constituents face on a daily basis. They have worked with the Austin Code Department to coordinated more frequent bulk trash removal to solve bedbug and rodent issues and petitioned for street lighting improvements to allow residents to feel safe while walking after dark. They have also partnered with Austin's Police Department to build trust among residents, reduce neighborhood crime, and increase physical activity programming through the Police Activities League. Many teams have also worked with the Neighborhood Partnering Program to successfully advocate for and fund crosswalks, stop signs, and traffic calming elements to increase pedestrian safety in the neighborhoods.
The geo-teams are GAVA's generalist organizers, working to unite their neighbors to advocate for their health needs in their neighborhoods. They provide the backbone neighborhood support to many of our more specialized sector teams!