ASHEVILLE – The WNC Honors Awards is built on a 69-year-old tradition of recognizing rural community development clubs for their innovative ideas and grassroots solutions. The culmination of this year’s program occurred at a luncheon held in Asheville on Saturday, Nov. 3 with 240 community leaders from 13 counties and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.
The Big Y Community received the designation of Communities of Promise and received a cash award of $1,000. Awardees in this category are chosen because of the initiatives implemented by the community that show promise and can be replicated around the region.
Big Y was honored for their efforts in outreach to their community. Their Facebook page has over 700 followers, is updated twice weekly, and provides information on events and happenings at Big Y. The resource corner in the community center provides a forum to leave flyers and contact information for events that are easily accessible by walking in the community area. To stress the importance of cultural revitalization, classes are held on traditional foods such as gritted bread. In partnership with the New Kituwah Academy, Big Y hosted an 8-week Cherokee language class for adults. New high-speed internet in their building provides reliable internet access for the community, particularly students.
Engaged Communities receive a cash award of $500 and are involved in numerous programs impacting their residents. The Cherokee County Indian Club and the Wolftown Community Club both received this honor.
Participating Communities receive a cash award of $250 each for their successful projects implemented during the past year. Big Cove, Snowbird, Towstring, and Yellowhill communities received this designation for the year.
“We should all be grateful for the dedication rural communities put into making the mountains a place we can all be proud to call home.” shared Linda Lamp, WNC Communities executive director. “For over 68 years, the WNC Honors program has served as an inspiration for continuing and replicating community success.”
Sponsorships from Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort, Harrah’s Valley River Casino & Hotel, Biltmore Farms, Inc., Duke Energy, Mission Health, The McClure Fund, First Citizens Bank, Buncombe County Farm Bureau, Carolina Farm Credit and Wells Fargo brought in a record amount of $40,500 to award to the 65 community centers and clubs in the region.
– WNC Communities