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One America - CommUNITY Pride

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One America

Program: CommUNITY Pride, E. Jackson, OH
Contact(s): Clarice Shreck, President, CommUNITY Pride: (614) 947-5304; Marilyn Knisley, Community Organizer, Rural Action, Waverly, Ohio: (614) 947-1577
Purpose: To recognize and strengthen the talents and abilities of the citizens of Appalachian Ohio communities, enabling them to participate to their fullest potential in the revitalization of their communities

Background Program Operations Outcomes


Rural Action is a membership-based nonprofit organization working for the development of sustainable communities in Appalachian Ohio. Its Sustainable Communities Initiative assists local community members, particularly the low-income and minority residents, in community development efforts. In 1994, Rural Action began placing community organizers throughout the region to assist residents in identifying local assets, community strengths and a vision for the future. Marilyn Knisley, the Rural Action field organizer who was invited to survey East Jackson, a low-income multiracial community, worked closely with key local citizens to begin the work of making their community a healthier, safer and happier place to live. The local citizens formed CommUNITY Pride to define their own vision of the future of their community and begin working to make it happen.

Program Operations

Members of CommUNITY Pride have established a community library and clothing distribution drives. They have sponsored training sessions on CPR, first aid and conflict resolution, and they have also sponsored celebrations for all holidays. They work with county officials, the sheriff's department, the county health department and others to provide people with information and resources that will improve their lives. CommUNITY Pride is now raising the funds to build a community activity center that will be a space for meetings and events and their many other projects.

Outcomes and Significant Accomplishments

Since its inception three years ago, CommUNITY Pride has grown from two people to a core membership of over 50 people with regular participation by nonmembers. Although they began with little to no interaction between local citizens and public officials, they now enjoy constant interactions with county officials. Attendance at community parties and dances has increased remarkably from a handful of small parties to dances 10-12 times each year with attendance of more than 125 people.

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