University of Oregon

Resource Assistance for Rural Environments

Impact

The mission of the RARE Program is to increase the capacity of rural communities to improve their economic, social, and environmental conditions, through the assistance of trained graduate-level participants, from across the US. These AmeriCorps members live in and serve the communities for 11 months. RARE participants assist communities in the development and implementation of projects for achieving a sustainable natural resource base and improving rural economic conditions. The RARE program is now in its 23rd year and over the years it placed more than 450 volunteers and served every Oregon County.

As each community has individual needs, each participant focuses on community specific projects typically in the following areas: downtown development, public health, transportation planning, community education, economic development, food systems improvement, and natural resources planning.  A few current projects include: 

  • The member placed with Lake County Resource Initiatives is coordinating the development of a regional Innovation and Learning Center, leading renewable energy workshops and presentations across the state, and working with partners to educate, organize, and promote efforts to reduce Lake County's impacts on climate change. 
  • The member placed with City of Coquille is organizing public meetings, focus groups, and surveys and compiling synthesized data and public input to complete an update of the City's Parks Master Plan.  The member is also evaluating the scope of use and service of the local community center via a SWOT analysis. 
  • The member placed with Greater Bandon Association is taking the lead as Manager of Bandon's Main Street Program, assisting with business recruitment and retention, managing an array of volunteers and volunteer committees, and coordinating a series of community events. The member is also conducting data research, market and workforce assessments, and convening community workshops to help move forward local economic development initiatives. 

As you can see, our RARE participants make a difference in the communities they serve. More information about the impact our program has in rural Oregon can be accessed in the following Annual Impact and Overall Impact pages.