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Rural Project Examples: Community engagement and volunteerism

Promising Examples

Communities that Care Coalition
Updated/reviewed May 2019
  • Need: A way to improve the health and well-being of young people by addressing substance abuse in rural areas of Massachusetts's Franklin County and the North Quabbin.
  • Intervention: A community-based prevention initiative was formed to reduce youth violence, delinquency, alcohol and tobacco use, and to promote proper nutrition and physical activity.
  • Results: CTC has seen significant reductions in substance abuse among local youth in the 30 rural towns they serve.
Maryland Faith Health Network
Updated/reviewed May 2018
  • Need: To coordinate formal and informal community-based caregivers for optimal patient experience.
  • Intervention: The Maryland Faith Health Network unites places of worship and healthcare systems in Maryland. This program aims to decrease the amount of potentially avoidable hospitalizations, improve a patient's overall wellness, and cut down on the cost of medical services.
  • Results: This model is currently running in 3 hospitals that serve both rural and urban residents in central Maryland. So far, 1,300 congregants from 70 congregations representing Christian, Jewish, and Muslim faiths have enrolled in the Network.

Other Project Examples

Great Plains Senior Services Collaborative
Updated/reviewed November 2020
  • Need: To help rural, low-income older adults in rural Minnesota, Montana, and North Dakota maintain their independence and improve their health and well-being.
  • Intervention: The Great Plains Senior Services Collaborative improves service coordination, promotes social engagement, and provides programs like healthy cooking classes and caregiver support.
  • Results: Phase I served more than 1,550 vulnerable older adults in 80 communities, who reported lower stress and better quality of life.
Smiles for Life
Updated/reviewed November 2020
  • Need: Oral healthcare for low-income adults and children unable to obtain dental care in the Mid-Ohio Valley of West Virginia.
  • Intervention: Public health dental hygienists act as gatekeepers, screening low-income clients and placing them with area dental providers who volunteer from their private practices to provide needed dental treatment.
  • Results: Reduces the number of emergency department visits for dental pain and infections and provides a safety net for those unable to afford dental treatment.
Energy Capital Cooperative Child Care (ECCCC)
Updated/reviewed June 2020
  • Need: To bring needed child care to rural Mercer County, North Dakota.
  • Intervention: A nonprofit cooperative provides part-time and full-time child care.
  • Results: ECCCC had 86 children at the height of its enrollment history.
Health Advocacy Summit
Updated/reviewed June 2020
  • Need: To help young adults with chronic or rare conditions access health and educational resources and build a community of peers and advocates.
  • Intervention: Health Advocacy Summits bring together young adults, medical professionals, patient advocates, and others for a free one-day conference. HAS also facilitates programming such as the Crohn's and Colitis Young Adults Network.
  • Results: HAS currently has summits in six states. HAS reported that it was one of the first advocacy interventions for young adults with chronic conditions in south Texas.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Win With Wellness
Updated/reviewed June 2020
  • Need: To reduce risk of obesity and chronic disease in rural northwest Illinois.
  • Intervention: Win With Wellness (WWW) collaborates with community organizations and worksites to improve physical activity and eating behaviors and reduce weight among adults using a multi-component approach.
  • Results: From 2015 to 2018, the two participating counties initiated 28 Take Off Pounds Sensibly (TOPS) groups with 367 participants. In the second round of funding, WWW recruited 183 participants for 9 TOPS groups and 8 community Heart-to-Heart sites.
The Sapling Center
Updated/reviewed March 2020
  • Need: To create a safe space for youth and young adults, ages 14 to 25, in rural eastern Kentucky.
  • Intervention: The Sapling Center provides independent living skills education and offers a wide array of services as well as fun activities in a supportive environment.
  • Results: The Sapling Center serves 50-75 teens and young adults every day. Increasing demand for services led to the opening of more centers in the region.
Together With Veterans Rural Suicide Prevention Program
Added December 2019
  • Need: Suicide among veterans has been steadily increasing, and rural veterans have a 20% increased risk of death by suicide compared to urban veterans.
  • Intervention: A program called Together With Veterans was formed to help rural communities address and prevent suicides among veterans. The initiative is veteran-led, collaborative, evidence-based, and community-centered.
  • Results: The program is currently in 6 states and reaches over 1,500 veterans every quarter while nurturing connections between agencies and community members.
Tea Time with Teens
Updated/reviewed November 2019
  • Need: To lower teen pregnancy rates in Marlboro County, South Carolina, and develop teen leaders.
  • Intervention: Tea Time with Teens brings together community leaders, mothers, and daughters to build life skills and make healthy decisions.
  • Results: Since 2009, the program has been educating teens on making healthy choices and adults on having meaningful conversations with teens.