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 members, from across the US. These AmeriCorps members live in and serve the communities for 11 months. RARE members 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 26th year and over the years it placed more than 550 volunteers and served every Oregon County.

As each community has individual needs, each member 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 Travel Southern Oregon is assisting with recruitment and coordination of the Culinary and Agritourism Studio hosted by Travel Oregon. He is also overseeing implementation of a food trail within the Rogue Valley.
  • The member placed with the City of Cornelius has a main role of helping implement the foundations of the city’s Urban Renewal Plan adopted earlier this year. She acts a liaison for small businesses and community members, coordinating a ‘Pop-Up Plaza’ and resource fair.
  • The member placed with Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation is working on a Food Systems Assessment focused on First Foods in collaboration with Yellowhawk Tribal Health Center and People of the Sacred Foods Group. She is also developing a feasibility report for a community kitchen on the reservation.

As you can see, our RARE members 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 page.