Rural Futures Fellows
College students in Nebraska are working across the state this summer, learning skills as they help communities meet their goals. The Rural Futures Fellows program is funded by the University of Nebraska Rural Futures Institute.
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[00:00:00.220](gentle acoustic music)
[00:00:03.460]Hope is alive and well in Wahoo, Nebraska.
[00:00:06.590]And today you can find it
[00:00:08.230]in a shop belonging to Kathryn Nigren.
[00:00:11.090]Students from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln
[00:00:13.450]are here to tell Kathryn's story.
[00:00:15.860]Ask her a few questions about her business
[00:00:17.700]and also how she's kept prospering throughout COVID
[00:00:20.660]and what hope means to her.
[00:00:22.300]The letters that spell out hope
[00:00:24.310]were displayed by another business owner
[00:00:26.340]during the pandemic quarantine.
[00:00:28.240]Now, hope is spreading across Wahoo's social media channels.
[00:00:32.630]They've gotten so much traction on social media.
[00:00:34.419]All the stories of the people in Wahoo
[00:00:36.410]that you don't think about every day.
[00:00:37.940]The students are Rural Futures Fellows.
[00:00:40.700]They are working in 17 Nebraska towns
[00:00:43.350]with an estimated economic benefit
[00:00:45.233]of $28,000 dollars per community.
[00:00:48.277]For the past eight years, 90 students
[00:00:50.980]have served 53 communities across the state.
[00:00:54.420]Students are paired with community leaders
[00:00:56.371]to work on projects such as economic development,
[00:00:59.800]entrepreneurship, and the real benefit to the communities
[00:01:03.110]is that not only are they getting
[00:01:04.752]the students' perspective, but their tremendous effort
[00:01:07.920]in accomplishing their projects.
[00:01:09.680]In addition to the hope campaign,
[00:01:11.460]student fellows in Wahoo are helping
[00:01:13.440]with recruitment and retention of hospital employees
[00:01:16.134]and the production of resource guides.
[00:01:19.530]And the content that I have been gathering
[00:01:21.420]over the past few weeks
[00:01:22.827]are going to be used not only in the community guide
[00:01:25.990]but also on the website that we are updating
[00:01:28.620]and on the brochures that I'm working on.
[00:01:31.830]Communities involved in the Fellows program
[00:01:34.400]benefit from hard work and a new perspective.
[00:01:37.470]So to get a fresh set of eyes on things
[00:01:39.268]adds a lot of value to be able to see
[00:01:41.199]what can we do differently, what can we do better?
[00:01:43.900]They have some great ideas
[00:01:45.870]about how to share positivity
[00:01:48.040]and the great things that we have here in Wahoo.
[00:01:52.080]from the real world experience.
[00:01:54.350]I've gained a lot of leadership skills this summer
[00:01:56.530]and continue to develop as a leader,
[00:01:58.100]which is something that I will carry with me
[00:01:59.870]in the future, as well as just gaining
[00:02:02.010]a new perspective on what it takes
[00:02:03.449]to operate a rural community,
[00:02:05.518]as well as all of the opportunities
[00:02:07.410]that rural communities have to offer.
[00:02:09.120]Students get entry admission into law school,
[00:02:12.570]into medical school, be able to accomplish dreams
[00:02:16.850]that they never thought possible.
[00:02:18.450]We have a student that's working in Washington, D.C.,
[00:02:21.380]and she would tell you, and her parents would tell you
[00:02:23.650]it's all because of her experience
[00:02:25.510]with the Fellows program.
[00:02:26.998]Perhaps most important,
[00:02:28.690]Rural Futures Fellows have a chance
[00:02:30.660]to support an important Nebraska resource.
[00:02:33.660]We have a voice and we have a valuable perspective
[00:02:35.740]to offer to this small community,
[00:02:37.870]and it also just reminds me
[00:02:39.640]that rural communities are the lifeblood of Nebraska
[00:02:41.627]and are really the backbone of everything
[00:02:43.560]that Nebraska is to become.
[00:02:45.160]In tough times, it's a chance
[00:02:47.040]to help a Nebraska community spread hope.
[00:02:50.500](gentle acoustic music)
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