Loleta Community-Building Initiative

Funding Organizations: 
St. Joseph Health Community Partnership Fund
Cooperating Agencies: 
Humboldt Area Foundation in collaboration with the Building Healthy Communities Initiative – a program of The California Endowment.
PICO (People Improving Communities through Organizing)

The Loleta Community-Building Initiative project has focused on implementing community-generated solutions to unique issues, building leadership skills and enhancing relationships between community members in the small, rural town of Loleta. With support from NRS staff and partners, the Loleta community has formed a Local Organizing Committee (LOC), which meets regularly and is active in all aspects of resolving the issues they select to work on. The LOC formed after a “listening campaign”, which involved over 150 one-on-one conversations with residents and community members about their dreams and needs for Loleta. Issues that could be addressed by the group rose to the surface, and the LOC now works regularly towards making changes to improve their community. The approach is constructive, disciplined and focused, and the results have been amazing – big changes included the adoption of a new positive behavior-driven school discipline policy, improved participation in public meetings through interpretation and translation services, new methods of communication and connection amongst community members, and exploration of new recreation opportunities to enhance community health and social connections. Throughout the project, staff have built strong relationships with community members, supported their individual growth, and helped the LOC become a powerful force for community change.