FROM THE HUB
The Alliance for the Economic Development for Southern West Virginia (Alliance), the WV Community Development Hub and Coalfield Development recognized six community programs at the Small Communities, Big Solutions Conference in South Charleston last week.
The Power of Performance Awards recognize individuals, organizations, or employers who have put people to work, revitalized communities, or changed lives. The recipients were the nominees that received the top scores in each of these three categories. The nominations were scored by an independent panel of judges.
The Revitalizing Communities Award was presented to Vicki Webb with the Community Transformation Project in Raleigh County, which works with children of all ages helping them grow their STEM skills. The second recipient was Ashland Scenic Campground in McDowell County, the largest ATV lodging facility in the Hatfield-McCoy Trail System, which contributes to the local economy and introduced more than 10,000 out-of-state guests to West Virginia last year.
“Some of the dominant themes that emerged from our conference were the need to prepare people, especially young people, for the workforce, and the need to encourage the entrepreneurial spirit in order to grow our economy,” said Brandon Dennison, Chief Executive Officer for Coalfield Development. “These recipients are shining examples of how both can revitalize communities.”
The Putting People to Work Award was presented to Tammy Jordan with Fruits of Labor in Greenbrier and Fayette Counties, which has developed a comprehensive training-to-employment program with the goal of improving the lives of at-risk youth and adults in recovery. Also honored was Judy Moore, with the West Virginia Hive Network in Raleigh County, who connects small businesses and entrepreneurs with resources and expertise to help them grow and prosper.
“Connecting people who want to work with training and opportunities is often the first step to changing a life,” said Sara Payne Scarbro, chair of the Alliance’s Operations Council. “Programs like Fruits of Labor and the West Virginia Hive Network are valuable resources for those who are just starting out or who need a fresh start.”
The Changing Lives Award was presented to Sarah Riley with High Rocks Educational Corporation in Pocahontas County, who has created valuable partnerships with AmeriCorps, the WV School of Osteopathic Medicine and the National Science Foundation to help make higher education more accessible for hundreds of underserved students in Southern West Virginia. Also honored in this category was the Healthy Grandfamilies Project in Kanawha County, which provides support to grandparent-headed households that has resulted in improved health and the ability to cope with the demands of parenting later in life.
“There are so many deserving organizations doing so many innovative things to change lives around the state,” Stephanie Tyree, West Virginia Community Development Hub’s executive director said. “By honoring programs like the High Rocks Educational Corporation and the Healthy Grandfamilies Project, we can encourage others who feel compelled to do something similar in their communities to make a difference.”
The Small Communities, Big Solutions Conference took place October 22-23 at BridgeValley’s Advanced Technology Center in South Charleston.