Reconnect to Community: Communities


As part of the ReCONNECT to Community forum, the Institute for Emerging Issues chose five communities to tell their story of civic engagement: What they’re doing and what’s working to improve community connections in their part of North Carolina. We chose five diverse initiatives each working to rebuild important community ties in different ways. Learn a bit about them and then hear them tell their stories in person at the fall 2018 ReCONNECT to Community Forum in Asheville!

Choosing Equity Series (Asheville)

(Partners include: Asheville City Schools Foundation, Asheville City Schools, University of North Carolina Asheville)

The Choosing Equity Series is a large-scale, community-wide collaboration to engage the community in addressing the pervasive opportunity gap that exists for Asheville’s children. These community conversations tackle the issue of students being increasingly segregated by race and income. The Choosing Equity Series seeks to elevate the voices of those most impacted by structural racism in order to adopt new strategies for closing the opportunity gap.” Read more

Rural Opportunity Institute (Edgecombe County) 

(Partners include: Rural Opportunity Institute, Edgecombe County School District, Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Department, Mental Health America, Community Enrichment Organization, Eastern Star Baptist Church, Vidant Hospital & Rural Health Network, Boys & Girls Club of Tar River Region,  Michael’s Angels Girls Club)

One of the most pressing issues in Edgecombe County is high levels of unaddressed trauma and the interrelated health and social challenges that lead to this. Those involved seek to create a community that enables healing from adversity to achieve health, safety, connection and self-determination for current and future generations. Read more

One Team. One Goal. One Community. (Elizabeth City)

(Partners include: Elizabeth City State University, City of Elizabeth City, Pasquotank County, Albemarle Family YMCA, Elizabeth City Police Department, Small Business Technology Development Center at ECSU, College of the Albemarle Small Business Center, Albemarle Commission, Sentara Albemarle Medical Center, River City Community Development Corporation)

This group’s mantra is think big, think bold. Their intent is to design, develop and implement a slice of the One Community and University Social Engagement Plan for community relations that provides greater inclusion and diversity of thought to the area. The current challenge facing the community at-large is a persistent lack of trust within the community, predominantly along racial lines. The synergy of the participants will aid in focused and forward-thinking discussions, thereby enhancing the area’s well-being. Read more

Explore Elkin (Elkin)

(Partners include: Town of Elkin, Explore Elkin, CAVU Marketing, and G&B Energy)
The Explore Elkin movement has dramatically increased civic engagement, enthusiasm, and momentum for positive change. This initiative is committed to making Elkin THE small town destination for visitors and new residents alike. To accomplish its mission, Explore Elkin is focused on celebrating the successes of key community stakeholders, providing networking opportunities that lead to community engagement and training a community of Elkin Ambassadors. Read more

Thomas S. Kenan Institute for the Arts (Winston-Salem)

Partners include: the Kenan Institute for the Arts, EmcArts, Mixxer, Hustle Winston-Salem

The Kenan Institute for the Arts at UNC School of the Arts is a catalyst that encourages and supports the exploration and development of new knowledge to transform the way artists, organizations and communities approach their creative challenges. Initiatives led by the  Kenan Institute have helped leverage momentum among local creative entrepreneurs and social innovators, a population that is proving crucial to Winston-Salem’s transition from  a former tobacco and textile capital to the “City of Arts and Innovation.” The Institute serves as an intermediary organization that partners with other groups to improve dialogue, civic engagement, and economic prosperity in the creative sector, which in turn has the power to enrich the broader community and improve the lives of all citizens. Read more

All five community teams received storytelling training from Jeff Polish of The Monti! We can’t wait to hear their stories at the forum!