Tuesday, January 08, 2008


Welcoming Reception for New Executive Director Michelle Decker

Don’t forget! This Thursday, January 10 is our Welcoming Reception for new Executive Director Michelle Decker. Please help us celebrate the future of Rural Action and welcome Michelle back to southeastern Ohio. We’re looking forward to a casual evening with light refreshments and music. Stop by the Trimble Office any time between 4 and 6 pm. Hope to see you there!

Directions from Athens: Take 33 W toward Columbus and get off on the Rt 13 exit (Chauncey). Follow 13 through Chauncey (you will have to turn right by the Marathon gas station) and Jacksonville. You will see a sign welcoming you to Trimble Township. Turn right onto 329, and begin looking for Walnut Street. Take a left on Walnut, and you will see Rural Action, a large white church building at the end of the street.

For more information, call Cat, 740-767-4938.

Rural Action Welcomes New Volunteers

By Kelsey McCoy, AmeriCorps VISTA for Media

As 2008 dawns, Rural Action is hard at work with projects around every corner in the coming months. Luckily, we have six new AmeriCorps*Volunteer in Service to America (VISTA) members who are eager get cracking as full time members of the Rural Action team. The profiles below will introduce you to this energetic group of volunteers.

After graduating from Ohio University in 2007, Jordan Vincent put her bachelor’s degree in political science, women’s studies and geography to work in Latin America. Jordan traveled to Cusco, Peru to work for a domestic violence shelter for women and children. Here, she gained experience in fundraising and development, which she will continue to build upon at Rural Action as the Development Liaison. “One of my goals is to increase and diversify the membership base and get more volunteers, especially young people,” Jordan said.

Cat Fincun, who earned a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies and Event Management from Miami University, will be coordinating volunteers and throwing the Rural Action parties. Cat hit the ground running on her first day, organizing the Welcoming Reception for our new Executive Director and planning our Adventure Auction (coming up in April). Fortunately, Cat has plenty of experience, having recently completed an internship with one of the biggest events in Cleveland, The Five Star Sensation, a bi-annual fundraiser for The Irish Cancer Foundation. “I’m hoping my contribution to these events will provide inspiration for people to get involved with Rural Action,” Cat said.

Sarah Warda is a recent graduate of the Ohio University School of Visual Communication, where she pursued her passion of photography and printmaking. Sarah is our in-house graphic designer and is sure to bring creativity to all of Rural Action’s programs. She hopes to build a strong photo database with high quality images for Rural Action to use in the future. “I will use the skills I’ve learned in the past to make Rural Action stand out,” Sarah said. She also hopes to teach design skills to young people in Appalachia in order to increase awareness about artistic opportunities in the region.

Amber Leasure Earnhardt attended school at Geneva College in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania. She graduated with a degree in political science and environmental science, which she is looking forward to utilizing as a VISTA with the Huff Run Watershed Partnership. She hopes to bring her expertise in agriculture to the northern part of the watershed where she will conduct outreach to farm owners. She will also coordinate the Environmental Explorers Club, a group of 6-12 year old youths who are interested in learning about the earth. “I’ll bring my enthusiasm to all of the work I do,” Amber said.

Christine Far has been Artistic Director of Village Productions Dance Company and School in Amesville, OH for the past 12 years. This year, she decided to take on a new experience as a VISTA with Rural Action, where she will coordinate the Youth Act program. She will work with students at three regional middle schools to implement service-learning projects focusing on leadership building and reflection upon community needs. Christine will focus on further developing goals for youth in our Strategy for Rural Renewal. Christine’s desire to work with youth comes naturally: she has a 13-year-old daughter and says she “loves to inspire creativity and leadership in young adults.”

Heather Sheets
will be a VISTA of all trades (of sorts) as Rural Action develops a new direction for the Sustainable Forestry program. An Athens native, Heather graduated from Ohio University last spring with a degree in anthropology, environmental studies, and sociology. Heather seeks experience in sustainable forestry, but also hopes to help the community where she grew up. She especially wants to work with young people to educate them about plants and the environment, and for adults, she will conduct trainings on topics such as Invasive Plant Management. She’ll also be creating income opportunities for the organization (a benefit concert is in the works) and the region (she’ll be your go-to-ginseng gal).

Linking Learning Circles: A Gathering for Rural Renewal

A potluck gathering for all Learning Circles will take place on Tuesday, January 15 at Mary Anne Flournoy's home in Athens (6675 Baker Road). Arrival is from 5:30-6:00 pm, we will begin eating at 6:00, and discussion will take place from 6:30-8:30.

Each Learning Circle will briefly present what they've discussed during the fall, and all attendees will provide feedback, brainstorm, distinguish criteria, and prioritize. This gathering's findings will be considered very seriously when writing our ten-year strategy, so all are most definitely encouraged to attend and participate.

Please call Katie, 740-767-4938 to RSVP, or with any questions.

Membership Update
By Jordan Vincent, AmeriCorps VISTA, Development Liaison

Rural Action would not be able to function without the kind and generous support of community members. We would like to recognize those who recently joined as members as well as those who renewed their membership:

Neal Bennett
Dan Black
Tom and Ann Brenner
Jean and Mark Bullock
Delysa Burnier
Jenny Byers
David Cobb
Ronald and Rose Eaton
Rose Ann Edwards
Richa Eland
Sandra Foster
Susan Garguillo
John Gilliom
Caryl Gustavson
Ken Hicks
Thomas Kolf
Glenn Kotnik
Candy McBride
James McGathey
Jim and Marilyn Meek
J.D. Newbold
Marcia Oyler
Alan and Ruth Palo
Phillip Perry
Terry Priest
Kenny Rauch
Susan Roth
Roy Schminky
Robert Spero
Diane Stafford
Ed Taggert
Robin Webb
Paul and Patricia Woirol
Susan Loughridge
Phillip and Linda March

Your support makes the difference!

To become a member of Rural Action and contribute to sustainable development in Appalachian Ohio, contact Jordan.


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