Hope. Energy. Creativity.
If you asked people around West Virginia to choose three words to describe McDowell County in 2016, these probably aren’t the three words most people would pick.
You’d hear words like “decline,” “unemployment” or “loss.” It’s certainly a part of West Virginia doing it tougher than most at the moment.
But after meeting with a group of citizens in the proud city of Welch earlier this month, I saw first hand that hope, energy and creativity are in abundance down there. The people of McDowell County are ready for action, and are busy imagining what a new future for them and their families could look like.
Over the past couple of years folks down there have been paying attention to the Turn This Town Around program that has reinvigorated the communities of Whitesville, Ripley, Matewan and Grafton. And rather than bemoaning the fact they hadn’t yet been selected as a Turn This Town Around community, the people of McDowell County figured, “well let’s just get started ourselves.”
So they reached out to The Hub to see if we could help them. We love seeing communities being proactive, and so we jumped at the chance.
Using a similar process to the one we’ve brought to communities across the state, The Hub has been helping McDowell County locals identify their goals, form working groups to tackle small projects, and build a culture of cooperation and positivity that we know is an essential ingredient for making good things happen!
It is not The Hub’s approach to tell the people of McDowell what they need and that we’re going to fix everything – the ideas that will change the future for McDowell must come from the people who live there. But we are super excited to bring those ideas to the surface, and then help with strategies to bring those ideas to reality.
The first thing we need to do is get as many people involved as possible! If you care about McDowell County, come along to the next community meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 21. We’ll be at the Welch First United Methodist Church at 25 Virginia Avenue. (Most likely there’ll be something cooking in the kitchen, too…)
Hope to see you there!