First Impressions: An Effective Approach for Community Improvement
A long-term impact study was conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of the Community First Impressions Program. Thirty-two (32) targeted communities located in West Virginia and Pennsylvania were surveyed; 18 (56%) responses were obtained. The majority of communities reported the program led to positive changes in community and economic development. Impacts were realized beyond program recommendations as communities self-evaluated, built new networks, and sought additional resources for community-driven development. Government leader turnover and lack of funding and citizen initiative were cited as challenges. The findings have implications for community capacity building, specifically leadership development, resource development, and engaged citizen's strategies.