Volunteers from Whitley County are fighting negative stereotypes about their area and focusing on the positive aspects of their county.
With this initiative, the volunteer group started a fund through the Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky’s affiliate Upper Cumberland Community Foundation for donations to benefit worthy causes that impact the lives of area residents.
Their social media platform called #WhyWhitley encourages people to post positive stories about Whitley County. This movement has ignited passionate locals to change the narrative of negative connotations associated with their county.
“A lot of times we hear negative narratives from the outside that affect our self-esteem and the way we look at ourselves. And, we view this as a way to celebrate our good things and our strengths, while also making plans for our future and moving forward,” says Melissa Bond, Community Volunteer with #WhyWhitley.
Some of the positive movements are being ignited with collaboration among local government, #WhyWhitley, and the University of Kentucky Art Extension office in Williamsburg. Recently, Williamsburg’s Mayor invited #WhyWhitley to meet with City Council and the Historical Committee to discuss future projects intended to help Williamsburg move forward.
The group will commission several public art displays to reflect the County’s rich tradition and showcase the beauty of the community.
The #WhyWhitley volunteers also organized the first festival that highlighted local art, artists, food, and music. The festival, donned the River Fog Festival, was held the first weekend in October at the downtown park in Williamsburg, with over 1,000 people attending the event.
The group continues to work on a Whitley County Trailblazers campaign which highlights people who are making or have made positive changes in Whitley County.
To keep up with the #WhyWhitley movement, visit their social media platforms. Donations can be made through the Upper Cumberland Community Foundation, PO Box 181, London KY 40743. Please specify donations are designated to the Why Whitley fund.