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Sometimes, tunnel vision is needed when seeking success. Each fellow within the LFNC program enters with the impression that their work will truly impact the community they serve–and they do. Each fellow becomes successful when they can highlight not only the need but also the assets of their community and then find various ways to address them.  

When I came to Roseboro, my biggest adjustment was the lack of activities for my age group. In August, there were three restaurants, a barbershop, a furniture store, and a boutique. All of the other buildings were vacant. My dream was to make downtown vibrant again. This project would not be completed within a day or a week time frame, but the movement has begun to happen. Currently, vacant buildings are being sold to individuals that have big plans and the Town was also awarded funding through the Rural Transformation grant which will help to renovate a building. Additionally, conversations have taken place to create a plan of action for out-of-town building owners. Even the Town Park, which has always utilized donated equipment from the local schools, has received brand new equipment through the PART-F grant. Change is truly happening and the Town is making necessary provisions to keep the younger generation.   

New building owners may not change the issue of downtown and so the next step for me was attending the annual main street conference. During the conference, I was allowed to connect with like-minded individuals that loved their downtowns and were willing to work long hours to make sure they continued to thrive. After the conference, I walked away with new ideas for the Roseboro community, but I had one problem: a lack of volunteers.   

That idea created the next project on my list: creating a citizen’s academy. I began doing research to present this idea, making connections, and simply dreaming. Harnett County, which offers Leadership Harnett, one of the best academies in the state, invited me for a visit and poured a ton of knowledge into me. I walked away thinking, this has to happen and it has to touch more than just the Town but also the County.  

This is why tunnel vision is needed. If we as fellows worry about the other things fellows can do or the projects they are taking on, we would miss the opportunities presented to us within our communities. In this program, you will be impactful but also impacted. There will also be a million and one connections made, but none of the journeys will be the same. During this time, you will find your passion within local government and also bloom within your community.