At Rural Opportunity Institute, we support people's healing process by educating, reshaping systemic practices, and fostering deep-rooted connections. We know people are not to blame for the trauma and stress that impacts them. Resilience is an inner strength in all humans, regardless of background, and we as people are wired for connection and healing.
We strive to end generational cycles of trauma and poverty by preventing adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and toxic stress for the community in Edgecombe County, North Carolina.
What We Do
We disrupt the distinct separation between urban versus rural, especially in technology and innovation. Often, the innovation and design thinking processes leave our rural communities of color. We are here to smash together disparate worlds and change the narrative commonly held about rural communities. Rural Opportunity Institute believes in and knows the deep assets that exits in rural communities like ours, and seeks to unlock those assets to support collective healing from generational trauma.
We invest in local leaders and public agencies and envision reimagined worlds of healing and justice: healthier, safer, and self-determined futures for current and future generations in rural communities like Edgecombe County, North Carolina.
In 2017, we used workshops and systems-mapping process that
engaged over 300 parents and community members in Edgecombe County, NC to understand the biggest barriers to children's success. From that, we created a Systems Map. They named these challenges, which we now prioritize:
* Unaddressed trauma prevents parents from supporting the health of their children. Vulnerable families are often the most isolated.
* The health, education, and legal systems have severe racial and punitive biases that isolate people experiencing trauma rather than providing healing.
* Institutions don't understand the needs of families or children. We need real conversations about the current influence of racism and historical trauma on institutional practices.
Since then we have supported many organizations, including schools and law enforcement, to pilot new practices that shift from punishment and isolation and towards healing.