People remain greatest Archway asset

June 13, 2016

The Northeast Georgian, June 3, 2016

During last Thursday’s Archway retreat, I had the privilege of leading a discussion which reminded participants of the many accomplishments Archway has achieved since its inception.

I enjoyed being part of those light-hearted and celebratory moments that highlighted a variety of local initiatives and county-wide projects with vast community interest and long-term benefit. And, as my audience smiled back, I was also reminded that I was looking at the very ones who have become my greatest assets.

I remembered that Archway’s “story” in Habersham County certainly didn’t begin with Rick Story. Long before I began my work with Archway, others throughout the community were hard at work identifying mutual goals and projects, paving the way for the arrival of the Archway program. I certainly credit the work of chamber officials, business leaders, our elected officials and so many others in the community for their foresight, vision and planning, as every such eff‹ort meshed together to pave the way for Archway’s arrival.

So many in our community have been vital to this e‹ffort, and without their hard work and dedication, Archway’s presence in Habersham would not have been possible. These same people welcomed me graciously, giving me an immediate connection to the community, and in true Archway spirit, they also made me an equal partner with the community I strive to serve.

And, as I drove across the gorge last Thursday night, I realized that the greatest asset of any community is its people, and Habersham exemplifies the model. I also realize I am blessed by the privilege of being a part of a
program that has given me both long-lasting friendships and partnerships that will most certainly last well beyond the scope of present goals.

Recent Archway program work includes:
• Community Health Needs Assessment – Dr. Marsha Davis, associate dean at UGA’s College of Public Health, presented Habersham Medical Center staff‹ with cumulative findings last week from a community health needs
assessment conducted earlier this year. The study was conducted for the medical center in an effort to assist in completing an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) mandate, and will be used to develop an action plan for the medical center. The report contains five components for federal compliance.

• Habersham Archway Planning Retreat – Habersham Archway’s Executive Committee hosted a planning retreat Thursday, May 26. The retreat included participants from Archway’s work groups, the executive committee and other various community organizations. During the retreat, participants focused on discussing Archway’s current work plan and accomplishments, the identification of ongoing priority issues and goals, and the eventual execution of a community graduation. A summary of the retreat’s discussion was presented to Archway’s Executive Committee during its monthly meeting on June 1.

As a locally-driven initiative, Habersham Archway continues to encourage the participation of the community it serves. Postings of recent project work, as well as additional details regarding the Archway program, are available on Habersham’s section of the Archway website, at:
archwaypartnership.uga.edu/communities/habersham-county/.

Rick Story is UGA’s Archway professional in Habersham County. Archway Partnership is a Public Service and Outreach unit of the University of Georgia. Interested residents should contact jrstory@uga.edu or call 706-
754-2318.

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