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The WVU Center for Resilient Communities announces the launch of the Resilient Communities Institute, starting in August 2024. The Resilient Communities Institute participants will join a growing circle of change makers who are forging deep connections in our region and learning to plan, consult and mobilize knowledge resources for the growth and sustainability of long-term community change. 

“The Resilient Communities Institute is a virtual make-shop for long-term initiatives and partnerships to address our region’s most pressing concerns,” explains Bradley Wilson, Executive Director of the WVU Center for Resilient Communities. 

The Resilient Communities Institute (RCI) prepares adults and youth to lead innovative community-based projects and sustain long-term partnerships that build more vibrant communities in their region, neighborhoods, small towns and homeplaces. 

The RCI is organized around an innovative curriculum and mentorship approach developed by the CRC that builds from the knowledge and experiences of the participants and connects community leaders, faculty, graduate students, undergraduate students and high school students in intergenerational conversation.

In 2024, the RCI is launching a series of workshops, short courses, field experiences, seminars, and certificate programs that meet the needs of the present generation and respond to the challenges in our region. 

We are currently inviting applications for two programs beginning in August 2024.

“Groundwork for Vibrant Communities” August 8-10, 2024 at West Virginia University, Morgantown. (Adult Learners) 

The Groundwork for Vibrant Communities Workshop will enroll 30 project leaders and partners in a 3-day intensive program to elevate project design, team-building, data literacy, needs assessment, and resource development at WVU. Drawing upon a unique curriculum focused on mutual accompaniment, team building, participatory research, and cycles of action and reflection, we will support new and experienced project coordinators to design more enduring initiatives and build more meaningful partnerships that contribute to vibrant communities. Participants will learn from global experts and grassroots leaders, while refining their own project plans, gaining new skills and insights, and joining a network of leaders from across the region. 

“Preparing for Tomorrow: Resilience Ambassadors Program” August 1-3 at West Virginia University, Morgantown (Pre-College Learners) 

The Preparing for Tomorrow: Resilience Ambassadors Program will enroll 25 high school age youth from Monongalia County, WV. The program prepares youth age 15-19 to make a contribution to building more vibrant communities in Monongalia County. Youth will learn key leadership qualities, mapping skills and use team-based scientific inquiry to identify important community, cultural, environmental and economic assets and create an assessment of community vulnerability to future flood hazards in the county. In addition to building friendships and having fun, students will learn the concepts, skills, information, and attitudes that enable them to prepare for tomorrow and lead community building efforts in their neighborhoods, towns, and rural homeplaces. 

“We are living through one of the most challenging periods in human history,” explains Dr. Bradley Wilson, Director of the Center for Resilient Communities. “It is easy to lose hope. The divisiveness, austerity measures, social isolation, political unrest, educational and economic struggles in their families and communities are generating tremendous uncertainty. Yet people in our communities - young and old - are also leading and readying themselves. They are embodying hope and seeking ways to be of service and to create change. We are inspired by their resilience, perseverance, and spirit and want to roll up our sleeves and get to work alongside them.” 

Through RCI-sponsored learning activities, our participants will dig into their sense of place and purpose, their story and calling, and what moves them. We will have seasoned and experienced leaders share their wisdom and encouragement. We will facilitate meaningful conversations about moral leadership and cooperation, while supporting project development and partnerships in communities and across the region to promote changes in our food systems, environments, and community economies. We will learn to work with others to map and analyze the problems our communities face and consider how to foster unity of action and initiative. We will support project design and help search for resources to fund promising projects. We will help forge new and strengthen existing partnerships for the long haul. 

“In the decades ahead we will face some of the most daunting trials ever to confront humanity. Those challenges will be particularly acute in Appalachia,” explains Wilson. “As a society we will need to collectively address growing inequality and poverty, health crises, flooding catastrophes, political division, social conflict, environmental degradation, and improving the quality of education for sustainable development. These are not only global issues, but local to our communities here in West Virginia and elsewhere.” 

Founded in 2019, the WVU Center for Resilient Communities advances participatory research and education programs to map our greatest regional challenges and to raise up a new generation of human resources to build more just, equitable and vibrant futures in West Virginia, the greater Appalachian region and across the world. We achieve our goals through collaborative, long-term participatory research and education partnerships that result in applied innovations in policy, plans, and enterprises. In the past four years alone we have partnered with 25 community organizations in WV, supported 38 projects, raised $7,630,500 in direct support to project partners while training and placing 93 undergraduate interns and 17 graduate students in the field of action. If you are interested in participating in the Resilient Communities Institute, you can find more information on the Groundwork for Vibrant Communities Workshop page and the Preparing for Tomorrow: Resilience Ambassador Program page.

The Resilient Communities Institute (RCI) prepares participants and collaborators to lead innovative projects, facilitate participatory research and sustain long-term partnerships that build more vibrant communities in their region, neighborhoods, and small towns and home places. The RCI is organized around an innovative curriculum and mentorship approach that builds from the knowledge and experiences of participants and connects community leaders, faculty, graduate students, undergraduate students and high school students in intergenerational conversations.

The Resilient Communities Institute welcomes participation from all and particularly encourages the participation of people of color, women and girls, LGBTQIA+, and folks from low-income and working class backgrounds.

Applications and Interest Forms:

Click here to complete an interest form for our Resilience Ambassador Workshop.

Click here to apply for our Groundwork for Vibrant Communities Workshop.