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Martinsville & Henry County (MHC)

Vibrant Virginia Community Exploratory

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The Martinsville-Henry Community Exploratory: Thriving Youth

This project explores the ways that youth in the Martinsville-Henry Community (MHC) can flourish in the region, and beyond. The ultimate aim is to gain knowledge and identify possibilities and pathways to advance youth success and well-being.  The Exploratory will lead to new and enhanced projects, programs, and resources to encourage thriving young people.

Project Context

The SEED and PASSGO loan forgiveness initiatives offer assistance and hope for area youth. Yet, young people still face barriers and the presence of disparities. MHC can do more to support overall youth well-being.  This includes helping young people achieve academic and career success by better equipping them with the necessary skills, knowledge, and supports to pursue their desired career paths. Every student deserves equal access to a diverse range of opportunities and experiences that foster academic curiosity and promote a sense of belonging.

Project Description

The project will begin with community-wide listening sessions and a situation analysis to discover the current conditions for thriving youth (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats).  This begins with learning what the people, families, and youth of MHC feel is necessary and valuable for them to thrive.

A Project Advisory Team of regional leaders and youth-serving organizations, led by the Harvest Foundation, will work with a Virginia Tech team led by the Virginia Tech Center for Economic and Community Engagement (VT CECE).  This includes faculty members from the Virginia Tech Center for Rural Education, as well as the University’s College Access Collaborative. 

Project Outcomes

The project will result in a comprehensive situation analysis, as well as a strategic road map for pursuing new programs and opportunities and enhancing existing supports and programs. In addition, VT CECE will serve as a liaison to help connect Virginia Tech resources with needs and partners in MHC.