Resilient & Thriving Communities Week
June 6-12, 2022
Boone, NC: June 8, 2022: A voluntary statewide coalition of people from local community collaboratives, interested staff from North Carolina non-profit organizations, and governmental agencies has organized and are facilitating the first ever “Resilient & Thriving Communities Week” in North Carolina, June 6-12, 2022!
This special week is the result of discussions that began two years ago. A volunteer leader of a local North Carolina community collaborative in Watauga County asked if other community collaborative volunteers across North Carolina, interested staff from corollary state North Carolina non-profit agencies, and other interested North Carolina community members would join her to meet and discuss how to increase awareness of adverse childhood experiences and other forms of ACEs, resiliency, and protective factors, and to talk about collaborative policy action and advocacy that they could undertake at the local and state levels. “When I invited people to that first Zoom meeting in September, 2020, I was hoping that maybe 10 people would join me who heard my request—instead, about 65 people requested to attend our first Zoom meeting!” stated Kellie Reed Ashcraft, Organizer & Facilitator. The result was the organization of a grassroots, voluntary group known as the Resilient North Carolina Collaborative Coalition (RNCCC).
The group not only determined its name, but they established a geographically diverse Coordinating Team that meets monthly to prepare their agenda for the larger RNCCC group. Further, a week following each Coordinating Team meeting, the larger RNCCC meets to discuss and act on collaborative topics of interest.
During the first year of the Coalition, the RNCCC met to brainstorm and discuss their areas of focus, and then the Coordinating Team met monthly with corollary state non-profit agencies to learn of their purposes and foci, to avoid duplication, and to develop their complimentary purpose as a voluntary group.
During the second year, Coalition members expressed their interest in identifying a week in North Carolina designated across the state to highlight the positive attributes and experiences of their individual community members, families, local organizations, and local communities that are positive and that build resilience, and to promote factors that make for thriving communities. They also recognized the need to increase awareness and understanding of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) & other forms of ACEs, trauma, resiliency skills, and protective factors, and to lay the groundwork for further advocacy.
The result of the RNCCC’s work was developing and proclaiming June 6-12th “Resilient & Thriving Communities Week,” across a number of participating counties and municipalities in North Carolina: List of Local "Resilient & Thriving Communities" Week Proclamations in North Carolina. “Next year, we hope to have the Governor support a statewide proclamation and to gather further local communities’ participation. We also hope to develop additional statewide events, activities, and actions related to our group’s purposes,” replied Kellie Reed Ashcraft, RNCCC Organizer and Facilitator.
“It’s just been energizing to hear what is happening in our local communities to proclaim and honor this week!” said Reed Ashcraft. Robyn Seamon, the co-lead for the Awareness Committee with the Watauga Compassionate Community Initiative (WCCI), a local county collaborative in North Carolina, submitted local “Resilient & Thriving Communities Week (RTCW)” proposed proclamations to the Boone Town Council & Watauga County’s Board of Commissioners. When presenting before both groups, Seamon reflected, “ The Mayor of Boone and several members of the town council were very supportive of this initiative! [Also] the Watauga County Commissioners were very warm and supportive!” Both groups issued the proclamations for this week. Seamon also is providing radio spots to local radio stations about the Proclamation Week and other local community initiatives during the week. In one case after her radio spot, the radio show host said that he would like to have members of the local community collaborative come onto his program to be interviewed monthly about their work.
Many local NC communities also initiated their own community events prior to, and during this week. The Guilford County Resilience Network hosted a Facebook “Community Conversation” with a key local and state-focused organization, the Kellin Foundation, about the Proclamation week and about how community members can get involved to help “ensure a rich community for our children’s future in Guilford County.” The New Hanover Resiliency Task Force is hosting a “Healthy Communities Dashboard Workshop,” “Community Yoga for Everybody” event, and the kick-off for the “Read Across the County” initiative as a part of their RTCW activities.
The Resilient North Carolina Collaborative Coalition also has developed, and is facilitating a number of efforts across the state during this Proclamation Week. The Coalition provided a sample local proclamation that could be used by local community collaboratives to approach their respective municipalities, sent a few months in advance. The voluntary Coalition also developed and is “blasting” social media posts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter that local communities and others can follow and share prior to, and multiple times daily during the Proclamation Week. Further, the Coalition is offering free zoom training opportunities from different key North Carolina organizations and groups throughout the Proclamation Week available to local community collaborative members and other interested individuals.
To support local community collaboratives’ own local advocacy and events for the Proclamation Week, the RNCCC developed a free “Resilient & Thriving Communities Week June 6-12, 2022” Resource Guide that includes advocacy guidance and suggestions for meetings with local and statewide legislators on topics of interest, and community activities to increase awareness and knowledge. “We recognized that we created this Guide only recently, and many local collaboratives may not be able to take advantage of these during the Proclamation Week. Nonetheless, we want to emphasize that these can be used at any time! Further, we hope to mount an even more comprehensive Proclamation Week with the state of North Carolina and local community collaboratives next year–we’re only getting started!” said Reed Ashcraft, RNCCC Organizer & Facilitator. Although formal Proclamation activities conclude at the end of this week, the RNCCC is excited to discuss and plan their future activities and advocacy.
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