Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve continued to hold Coalfield Council Days! Our favorite day of the month was another virtual gathering via Zoom.
We started our meeting this month by talking about the word resilience and how Coalfield’s work contributes to resilience in our local communities and Appalachia as a whole. Our team members brought some great ideas to the table. We discussed that because of Coalfield’s work, the economy is more localized and diversified, creating more resilience. But that’s not all. Because Coalfield invests in people and helps train and educate our crew members, we also help people become more resilient. One of our crew members said that our values reflect the resiliency of Appalachians who came before us, and we couldn’t agree with that statement more.
Brandon Dennison, our CEO, led us through a great interactive workshop explaining how our Vision Statement is the perfect way to demonstrate how Coalfield brings resiliency to our region. Our Vision Statement is “Appalachian people and places unlocking their full potential, power, and purpose.” Brandon explained that our potential is in our brain. Our thoughts and education make us unique, and we all have potential ideas to bring to the table. Our power lies in our heart, with all our hopes, dreams, and strength. And our purpose lives in our hands. Coalfield gives experiences and opportunities to help individuals figure out their purpose, and we put our hands to work to make our communities better. By focusing on the potential, power, and purpose of each individual, we can make the Appalachian region more resilient.
After this inspiring discussion and some personal reflection on how the past 30 days have gone, we had two great presentations. First up was Dylan Smith with SustainU, who gave a fascinating presentation on the fashion industry. Did you know that the fashion industry produces 20% of the world’s water waste? Or that fashion is the third most polluting industry in the world? Dylan highlighted how employing more sustainable fashion practices can help reduce waste and how SustainU is specifically working to create products that are high quality yet sustainable.
Then, we heard from Amelia Bandy, the executive director of EDGE (Economic Development Greater East) in McDowell County, WV. EDGE focuses on food deserts and socioeconomic issues surrounding food in our region and helps contribute to a greater conversation about where our food comes from. We’ve recently started partnering with EDGE through Refresh Appalachia, and Amelia’s presentation gave us a deeper look at why the work EDGE is doing is important. We’re thankful to be a part of two great organizations doing amazing work for Appalachia!
Even though we haven’t been able to meet in person these past two months, Coalfield Council Day has remained an inspiring time of togetherness for us all. We’re hopeful that we’ll be able to gather in person very soon, but until then, we’ll keep up the great work while protecting each other and our communities!