wnc honors program

Community Best practices

Part of our work to build community capacity across rural WNC is highlighting best practices from our members and facilitating peer learning about those practices. We want to inspire our community leaders with great ideas for how to expand their positive impact, and connect them to each other to bring those ideas to fruition in their own communities. 
Throughout the year, we gather these stories of collaboration and examples of successful programs, then celebrate them at the WNC Honors Awards. We began our new Best Practice Gallery at the 73rd Annual WNC Honors Awards in 2022.  Ambassadors from ten communities across all Honors Levels shared what they were doing that was wildly successful, delightfully creative, or powerfully impactful. Click below to see the posters from those sessions. If you'd like to contact someone from one of these communities to learn more about how they funded, organized, recruited volunteers, etc. for their program or event, please reach out to susangarrett@wnccommunities.org.  We will put you in touch!
Janie Sutton of Holly Springs in Best Practices Gallery at WNC Honors Awards 2022
Janie Sutton of Holly Springs community shares about their Medical Lending Closet at the 73rd Annual WNC Honors Awards' Best Practices Gallery

Collaboration Spotlight

Tim Radford, Mayor of Murphy, with Nancy Helms of Grape Creek community at the community convening

Nancy Helms of Grape Creek attended a WNCC Coffee Hour where she heard a neighboring community talking about needing more volunteers. She asked herself, “What could I do to help?” She invited Terri Wells of WNC Communities (WNCC) to speak at the Murphy Rotary Club.  Then she invited all 10 community clubs in the area to attend a meeting immediately afterward to learn about local resources and what WNC Communities does to assist our members.  Her incredible effort pulled together club officers from Unaka, Grape Creek, Hiwassee Dam, Bellview, Martins Creek, Peachtree, Texana, and Brasstown. (Cherokee County Indian Community Club and Marble Community were unable to attend.)

At the event, everyone heard what each club was doing and Nancy handed out a packet introducing each attendee’s role.  They got to learn about resources such as help for domestic violence victims, human trafficking prevention, free Wi-Fi available for their clubs through Broadband for Cherokee County, what the Chamber of Commerce was doing, and the offerings of WNCC.  They also got to meet their county commissioners and county extension agent. There was a handout introducing each attendee and their offerings, and what role they play in the area.  Nancy even arranged for a free lunch for attendees, and got a grant to give each community $100, and Linda May of Bellview made a swag bag for each attendee from Modern Woodmen.

It is the work of community leaders like Nancy Helms and community centers like Grape Creek that really embody the spirit of “We are in this together” that we seek to promote among WNC Communities’ members.  Thank you to Grape Creek for this inspiring example of being “the tide that lifts all boats!”