Georgia Highlands College, Georgia Northwestern Technical College and Berry College have enthusiastically joined forces to provide a meaningful way to engage students through community-based learning and volunteer initiatives.  In a collaborative effort to promote student learning and success through service, Georgia Highlands College, Georgia Northwestern Technical College, and Berry College students are currently working on a large-scale oral history project that will bring 25 local non-profits together to raise awareness of the men, women and children living in poverty in and around Floyd County.

The “Facing HOPE” project is supported by “The FACING PROJECT,” a nation-wide initiative to connect people through stories to strengthen communities.   Developed and co-founded by visiting author Kelsey Timmerman and his colleague J.R. Jamison, The Facing Project provides an opportunity for communities to tell their stories and find solutions to some of the most devastating challenges a community may face.  Other participants in the project include the cities of Atlanta, Georgia; Fort Wayne, Indiana; Muncie, Indiana; and South Bend, Indiana.

As part of The Facing Project, the three institutions in Rome, Georgia, were selected with the abovementioned communities as one of five pilots to complete the project.  Each institution in Rome has eight students and faculty mentors who will be assigned to a local non-profit.  These students and mentors will volunteer with their assigned organization and will interview a client who found hope and overcame the odds in working with their particular non-profit.  Each student will write their client’s story through a first-person narrative that will be published in a book that will be distributed to 3,000 local businesses, churches, homes and non-profits.

As part of this unique project, local students and artists will develop and implement a community-wide celebration that will celebrate our students’ writing, raise awareness and collectively benefit our non-profit partnerships.