The Intersection

Community Empowering in Rural America

February 1, 2017


Lifelong community activist, Vivian Saunders, explains in the Forbes article, The Truth About Opportunity In Rural America, that as a nation we must recognize our youth in rural communities and their value to contribute to our country. Saunders is the executive director of Hive House, a nonprofit community center and afterschool program in rural Bertie County, North Carolina. In the article, she emphasizes that “every child deserves the opportunity to succeed, regardless of race, gender, income, language, disability, or zip code. Unfortunately, for far too many of this nation’s young people living in rural communities, circumstances of birth remain a barrier to learning and opportunity.” She is emphatic that if you provide children the opportunity to learn, that they will  succeed.

Saunders goes on to discuss how graduation rates are rising nationally but in many rural communities like Bertie County, children are still left behind. Places like Hive House, try to create opportunities to help children in their learning, such as providing computers, books, mentoring, food, etc.

“Without a doubt, our children need the tools to be successful. They need high quality education, starting with access to high-quality preschool. They need effective teachers who understand that every child learns differently and that teaching is a passion and not just a job; children come to school with a set of circumstances unique to the child – whether they live in poverty or come from a family with money, have a learning disability, or speak a language at home other than English. They need access to technology and work-based learning opportunities, such as internships and apprenticeships, in order to be prepared for jobs in this 21st century economy. But education and job training alone are not enough. A child can’t learn if he is hungry, or cold, or sick.  In order to give a child a meaningful opportunity to learn, we must address the needs of the whole child. And that’s what we try to provide at the Hive.”

Hive House is depicted in the 2016 film, Raising Bertie, a documentary that profiles the lives of three young men in Bertie County and an in-depth look at the issues in rural America, including generational poverty, educational equity and race.

Read the full Forbes article, The Truth About Opportunity in Rural America.

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